Travel Tips for Your Holiday Travel Plans

Depending on your mode of transportation consider these travel tips.

TRAVELING BY PLANE

​​​​​​About 28.5 million passengers are expected to fly during the Thanksgiving travel period. You don’t want to be rushed, since that’s when stress levels rise, tempers flare and patience wanes. And that’s when things start to go wrong.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) top travel tips can be found here

The TSA travel checklist can be found here:

Go through security even faster. Consider enrolling in a TSA Trusted Travel Program. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a comparison chart that includes current pricing information for US Government Trusted Traveler programs and it can be found here:  

TSA carry-on rules can be found here.

If you’re the least bit congested or sometimes get congested during flight, take decongestants with you and also for the children.

Landing is the most painful time for the ears if you’re congested. Take the decongestant an hour to 90 minutes before landing for best results. Check with your doctor for specifics on decongestants.

Take a number … with you. Add the customer-service telephone number of the airline you are flying to your phone’s contacts. Download the airline’s app. And request text message updates on changes in flight times, arrivals or departures and the luggage carousel.

Consider a different way to fly. Book a seat on a private charter plane and you can show up 15 minutes before your flight takes off — without having to face security checkpoint lines.

Where can I park at the airport? If you’re parking in a private lot at LAX, make a reservation. This might entail joining a loyalty program, and you may not want to do it. Do it anyway. Because there’s nothing to be done about a car you can’t park and can’t abandon.

Consider taking a FlyAway bus. In the Greater Los Angeles area of California, the LAX FlyAway bus is one of the best deals around for transportation to and from the airport. Nonstop buses serve Hollywood, Long Beach, and the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley, Union Station in downtown L.A., Van Nuys and Westwood.

Check here for schedules, pickup and drop-off locations and hours of operations.

If you’re taking a car transportation service (you know the ones)to the airport or train station, schedule early. Car transportation providers both have scheduling functions. And just in case, have a backup plan, maybe a friend who owes you a big, big favor.

To summon ride share faster at LAX. Getting through the traffic circle at LAX can take your driver awhile, especially during peak holiday times. To avoid some of this traffic, head to the Terminal 7 location and request your ride share from there.

Your driver will be able to bypass the airport traffic by taking the East Way shortcut straight to Terminal 7. You might have to walk a little, but it’ll save you wait time, allowing you to get home faster.

 

TRAVELING BY CAR

Leave early or late. But don’t leave at the same time as everyone else, which is right after work on Wednesday.

Check those tires. Before a road trip, check the tires. The proper air pressure varies by vehicle, and usually can be found on a decal inside the driver’s door, or in the owner’s manual. The payoff, besides better handling and tire wear, is that if you have a nail or a leak in your tire, you’ll discover it before you’re in the middle of nowhere. Be sure your spare is properly inflated too.

If your vehicle is not roadworthy, consider renting a vehicle. But remember that rental rates can fluctuate widely. One or two days of flexibility could save you plenty.

It will cost more, but not much. Gasoline is more expensive this year, AAA gas rates show. The national average last week was $2.76 a gallon, but California is paying $3.24 a gallon, thanks in part to a new 12-cent-a-gallon tax.

Take tire chains. I know, I’m preaching to the choir in snow country because tire chains are required by law in bad weather. Cables are usually easier to install and very effective.

Do those chains go on the front or back? Take advantage of the local crews lining the roads to put them on for you. Tip: If the fan belts face the front, it’s usually a rear-wheel drive car. Fan belts located on the side indicate front-wheel drive.

Make it fun. A holiday road trip can be fun when it’s well planned. 

 

TRAVELING BY TRAIN

Traveling by train is my new favorite way to travel. Remember, having a train reservation means you can get on; it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a seat during busy holiday travel.

To ensure a seat consider upgrading to business class. You’ll also have a little more space on what likely will be crowded trains. Go online and reserve tickets early to make sure you get a spot at the time and station you want.

Take a turkey and check your bags. Feel free to bring the turkey on the train. You are allowed two checked bags and two carry-ons (up to a combined total of 150 pounds) for free. You can check bags at most stations by going inside and dropping them with an agent, just as you do on an airline. Don’t forget to take a valid photo ID.

Is the train on time? Freight takes precedence, so passenger trains often are unavoidably delayed. To see if your train is on time, go to Amtrak.com and click on “Train Status” at the top of the page.

 

TRAVELING BY BUS

Bus travel is one of the cheapest ways to get where you’re going. With most bus lines you get free Wi-Fi and power outlets on board and comparable fares and amenities.

 

STAYING IN A HOTEL 

Once you check in at your hotel remember the concierge is your new BFF. Introduce yourself to the manager-concierge-doorman of your hotel. They can provide helpful insider tips, including ideas on local holiday shopping. Ask too about areas to avoid. When you go shopping, remember to ask yourself where you’re going to wear it or put it. Sometimes we get caught up in the moment.

So is the hotel fridge. Stay at hotels that offer a mini fridge and microwave as part of the amenities. This will allow you to take restaurant leftovers to the room and enjoy them the next day.

Germs be gone. Winter is cold and flu season, so I take a small can of disinfectant and spray phones, door knobs — really, anything I touch. I use disinfecting wipes on the airplane and wipe everything I touch or put my head on — this includes the remotes and tray tables.

 

PACK IT OR SHIP IT

Consider shipping your bulky winter coat, heavy boots and other cold-weather gear to your destination instead of wearing them on the cramped plane or cramming them into your suitcase. This is a must — especially if you have young kids — because who wants to keep track of all their mittens and scarves?

Ship your presents too, so you won’t incur excess baggage charges for all those hefty gift books or worry about that expensive bottle of olive oil leaking all over the contents of your suitcase.

Take one suitcase each that we can manage ourselves. Checking a bag is especially inconvenient at the holidays when airports are really busy. If you are driving, how many bags do you want to load and unload from a car?

 

WHAT TO WEAR

Always wear your heaviest items for travel to cut down on baggage weight, and make sure you waterproof all shoes and boots. To further cut weight on baggage, cashmere and wool weigh less than fleece or polar tech and look nicer.

 

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – BE ENTERTAINED 

Delays are common. Expect one and be prepared with snacks, food and a good book. Also download movies or TV shows in advance of your trip.

MAKING YOUR LIFE EASIER 

Whenever I travel, I carry a gallon-size plastic storage “goodie bag” that contains a few essential items I know I will need on my first night. Here’s what it contains:

  • Charging cords for electronics.
  • Sleep mask: A mask blocks out everything so I can sleep.
  • I know I will need a snack eventually. I pack something that doesn’t need refrigeration. Good choices for me include protein bars and nuts.
  • Puzzle book and pencil. Paper books of puzzles often calm me down at the end of a long day. Retractable pencils are best for travel because they are always sharp.
  • Medication for that night and the next morning. Even if I am exhausted, I will have the correct dosage. (The rest of my medication is packed elsewhere.)
  • Slipper socks. Sometimes I have qualms about the cleanliness of the floor.
  • Ear plugs. Strange rooms often have strange noises. Ear plugs take care of this, making sleep easier.

And finally…Find the silver lining.

Be patient and kind to other travelers. We’re all in this together.

I encourage your comments and feedback.


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