Top-10 Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Travel

 By Diane Tait

The Christmas holiday season is the busiest travel time of the year.  That means no matter how you get there, you can expect travel delays.  It also adds up to a lot of cranky people.  Everyone from the relatives and the kids to travel agents and hotel clerks will be more than usually stressed out.  To keep you from being one of those whose enjoyment of the holiday decreases with every digression, detour, and delay, I’ve come up with a handy checklist that should help reduce your blood pressure considerably.

1.      Don’t wait until the last minute to book your airline tickets and hotel room.  While many online shoppers believe that they’ll get the best deal on flights and accommodations by waiting until the last moment, industry statistics don’t bear this out.  Waiting until the last week before Christmas to book airline tickets costs about 10% more on average.  The same goes for hotel rooms.  That is if you can find a hotel room at the last minute during the holiday. 

2.      Do give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.  Expect long lines of traffic and a longer than usual wait at airport security.  Make sure you know what you can and can’t carry onto the plane.  Don’t fly with a ton of gifts, since you’ll not only have a hassle with security but with other passengers as you try to find space in the overhead compartment.  Better to travel light and ship all your gifts ahead of time.  If you can’t do that, buy them at your destination. 

.        Don’t travel on peak days traffic days. If you left even one day early and returned one day later than usual, you’d be surprised at how much less crowded the highways and flyways will be.  Even if it means burning a vacation or sick day, getting ahead of the crowd means much less travel stress for you.

 4.      Do plan for unexpected delays. If you plan on driving, expect traffic jams and disgruntled drivers.  To keep away from the worst of the gridlock, download a traffic app like WAZE that will automatically direct you away from the worst of the traffic snarls.

5.      Don’t leave home without making sure your vehicle is up to the task. That means filling your gas tank and tires the day before, even if you’re only motoring across town.  If you’re planning on driving more than a couple hundred miles, make sure you have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic before the road trip begins.  The last thing you need is to wind up stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow on the busiest travel time of the year. 

 6.      Do keep an eye on the weather if you live in Florida and your relatives live up north, since your car doesn’t come equipped with snow tires.  Trying to drive in blizzard conditions could leave your vehicle stuck in a snowbank or spun around on ice.  It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in an ice scraper and jumper cables if you plan on driving to places that are considerably colder than the Sunshine State.

7.      Do plan some diversions. Whether you fly or drive, make sure you bring along something that can help you kill time without running out of batteries.  This way if you find yourself stuck for a few hours, you won’t find yourself standing there biting your nails to the quick.  Paperback novels are a great way to pass the time without stressing out.  And they take up precious little space. If you have children, bring along a card game that you can squirrel away in your pocket.  This way when the battery on their smartphone or game console dies, you won’t have cranky kids to deal with.

8.      Don’t make the mistake of posting your holiday travel plans online.  While you might be excited about your holiday vacation, posting them online is like asking for trouble.  That’s because savvy burglars no longer need to case your home.  All they have to do is friend you online and wait for you to tell them when you’re leaving and when you plan on returning.  The same goes for holiday parties you plan to attend. 

9.      Do be sure to have all your deliveries stopped.  This should include mail, newspapers, and packages.  Failing to do so invites porch pirates and burglars to help themselves while you’re away.

10.  Don’t make it a merry Christmas for thieves. While using timers to turn on and off your lights is a good security tip, a better way to protect your home while away is to install a wireless video security system that allows you to monitor your home from your smartphone. 

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on renter’s insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.

Comments

  1. Also make sure you pack some snacks and a beverage for the road.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If your gonna travel during the holidays, make sure you don't end up having to stay in quarantee becasue of it.

    ReplyDelete

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