By: Stefanie Michaels
We all dread it. Heading to the airport during the holidays. Whether you are traveling solo, with friends or family, it all 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 all 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, the whole place is under construction, lending to major traffic issues. In fact, over Thanksgiving, I witnessed people getting out of rideshares and walking the sidewalks to the terminals to beat the hour-long vehicle line just to get into the airport for drop-offs.
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, print out your tickets should you be carrying on. A major time saver. This way, once inside the terminal, your only worry is to make it through those long TSA lines.
3. Carry on. Utilizing space bags, which you can find at places like Bed Bath and Beyond (https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/3/space-bags), 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 tag airlines charge for checking bags, sometimes it’s less expensive to ship them using a luggage forwarder like Luggage Forward (https://www.luggageforward.com/?adw=GPRNTCMWQ77P). They often offer specials, and utilizing 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 (https://visitingbaby.com). Leave the schlepping to them and your arms bassinette free, making 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 lightens the suitcase load and saves unpacking it going through TSA.
8. DO NOT WRAP PRESENTS. Every year. 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 looksee at what’s underneath that pretty wrapping job you did. 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.
Stefanie Michaels, aka ‘Adventure Girl’, spends more than 180 days a year on the road seeking out great spots for adventures, dining, shopping, hotels and more. Dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” by Vanity Fair Magazine for being one of Twitter’s first icon’s to reach over 1 million followers, her fans continue to grow across all of her digital media platforms. Follow her @adventuregirl as she shares photos, updates and more.