By: Stefanie Michaels
We all dread it. Heading to the airport during the holidays. Whether traveling solo, with friends, or with family, it can be overwhelming and stressful just thinking about it.
Just getting to the airport, let alone standing in long TSA lines, being crammed onto sold-out planes, and getting to a destination without delays, can make some of us opt to stay home.
But there are ways to make the holiday travel jaunt a tad easier. I’ve compiled some helpful tips to make it run a bit smoother, even if sometimes what happens en route might be out of our control.
My home airport is Los Angeles International Airport, also known as LAX. Currently he whole place is under expansion construction, leading to significant traffic issues.
In fact, over Thanksgiving, I witnessed people getting out of rideshares and walking the sidewalks outside the airport, just to get the terminals so they could beat the hour-long vehicle line to get into the airport.
What does this all mean?
1. Add an extra hour onto your travel plans to ensure you get to the airport in enough time should there be any traffic delays, freeway shutdowns, or whatever incident might make you late and miss your flight.
2. If you can, check in online ahead of time. Pre-print your tickets before heading to the airport or save boarding passes to your phone. Both are major time savers.
Once inside the terminal, your only worry will be to get through the TSA lines.
3. Carry on. Utilizing space bags, which you can find at places like Bed Bath and Beyond helps pack bulky winter items like sweaters and skiwear more efficiently, and saves space for additional items being packed along.
4. Ship your luggage. With all the ridiculously high price baggage fees that airlines charge for checking bags, sometimes it’s less expensive to ship them using a luggage forwarder like Luggage Forward.
They often offer specials and using their online coupons can make it not only affordable but also easier.
They come to you where you request pickup and often times get it to your destination before you do. Way easier than lugging it to the airport on your day of travel.
5. Leave your kids car seats, joggers, and other child devices behind and rent them from Visiting Baby. Have them do the schlepping and keep your hands stroller free. It makes getting around the terminal and boarding the plane that much easier.
6. Back to those TSA lines. You’re standing in queue waiting anyway, so make use of that time by emptying pants pockets, unlacing sneakers, taking out clear plastic bags with lotions, etc. and be ready to place items in trays.
AND, we all know about dumping those pesky water bottles and laptops needing to be out, right?
DON’T be that annoying person that gets to the conveyor belt and takes 5 minutes to get everything out, off and making those behind wait.
7. Choose to leave behind lotions, fragrances, shampoos and more. You can always purchase what’s needed once at the destination or borrow from family members. It also lightens your suitcase load and saves unpacking it going through TSA.
8. DO NOT WRAP PRESENTS. Every single year without fail, there are those people who get so upset to learn that they have to unwrap their presents in security. TSA can and will take it upon themselves to have a look-see at what’s underneath your pretty wrapping job.
In lieu of using single-use wrapping, opt for gift bags, which can be packed flat in a suitcase and also be recycled for the next holiday season.