20 Holiday Travel Tips

Whether you are driving or flying this holiday season, there are several things to you should remember to make your trip easier.
1) Keep Documentation – A week or at least a few days before traveling make sure that all travel arrangements have been secured and confirmed. The last thing you want is to fly into another city and discover that all rental car locations are out of available cars to rent. Carry a copy of all documents you may need such as emails of rental car confirmations, flight information and hotel reservation confirmations. If you pre-paid make sure you bring proof of that. Have a valid identification card – airlines will request this if you are traveling to another country. Also, make sure you have your passport. Keep all this information in a waterproof bag that will be kept with you at all times.
2) Vehicle Maintenance – If you have decided to take your own car then you need to make sure it is running properly and up for the trip. Personally, I would suggest renting a car if yours is more than 5 years old and you will be traveling for more than four hours. But if you think your car can make the trip then take it in for a routine maintenance check-up. Request that they change and fill your oil as well as check your spark plugs and all liquid levels. Check all the exterior lights and electrical components. Check air pressure in the tires and take a fully functional spare in the trunk.

3) Carry an Emergency Kit – Bring an emergency preparedness kit with you. Some may say it is bad luck but it is better to be safe than sorry. The kit should include items that would come in handy if you are stranded on the side of the road or involved in a vehicle accident. Such items include: a flashlight, flag to hang on your antenna, emergency food items, water, warm clothing, first aid supplies, screwdrivers, roadside assistance numbers, cellular phone, insurance cards and lawyer phone number. In case you get a flat tire, carry a tire iron and jack and learn how to change a tire. Trust me ladies, it’s easier than you think – just carry wet wipes to degrease your hands afterwards.

4) Tell people where you are going – If you are flying alone tell at least one other person where you are going and check in with them once you arrive at your destination and once you leave and arrive back home,ensures that at least one person can send for help for you in the event that you cannot. So many times you hear on the news of people not arriving home when they should have and therefore the authorities were alerted. These valuable minutes could mean the difference in life or death.
5) Take Medications – Don’t forget to get your medication refilled and take them with you. Check with airlines about restrictions on medications. Oxygen cannot be taken on planes. Women, don’t forget the emergency feminine hygiene products.
6) Beat the Rush – Try to travel a day before other people start traveling or try leaving on the holiday itself since most people won’t be traveling on that day. This way you can avoid crowded roads or airports.

7) Travel Light – Don’t pack every shoe in your closet. Not only will it be a hassle to carry but it would be devastating to you if the luggage got lost or stolen. If you can, try to fit everything in your two carry-on bags. Then you don’t have to worry about waiting for your luggage to be taken off the plane nor do you have to worry so much about it getting stolen or lost.

8) Pack Important Items in Carry-on Bags – Pack the most valuable items in bags you can stow under your seat. Have you seen the movie “Meet the Parents”? Ben Stiller’s character was forced to check his bag containing the engagement ring and the bag got lost. You can imagine how that would ruin your trip.

9) Secure Safe Lodging – If at all possible book your room in advance. Be sure to check its ratings and location. If you know someone who lives in the city you are staying in ask them which one they suggest.

10) Send Presents Back Home – Don’t try to cram the presents you receive into your luggage because we all know your clothes don’t fit back in the same suitcase they came in – even without all the presents. Send the presents for them there and send the ones you receive back home.

11) Eat Light and Healthy – Your stomach will surely suffer if you eat all the fast, greasy fried food when traveling. Try to keep it light and healthy like fruit and vegetables.

12) Take Bathroom Breaks – Take breaks every hour and a half if you are driving. It’s unhealthy for you to hold it when you need to use the restroom. You can develop urinary tract infections from not going and sitting for long periods of time.

13) Pull Off the Road if You Feel Tired – Please don’t try to drive when your eyes are shutting; you could kill yourself or others if you fall asleep. Check into a motel or if there are none around then pull off the road, lock the doors and take a ten minute cat nap.
14) Check Flying Restrictions if Flying – Check with the airport for restrictions they have on what items are allowed or not. If an item you are trying to take on a plane is not allowed they can confiscate it from you. Check the Transportation Security Administration Web site for more information.

15) Report to Airports Early – Most likely there will be many people traveling around the same time as you for the holidays so arrive at the airport early. If you haven’t flown in several years, understand that security has tightened drastically. It will take twice as long to get through check out than it did eight years ago. Try to get to the airport two hours to an hour and a half before departure time.

16) Entertainment – Stay occupied. You may be stuck on a plane or in the passenger seat for long periods of time. Bring some reading materials, chewing gum, puzzles, newspaper or your laptop. Entertainment is important for a peaceful state of mind.

17) Get the Best Deal – When planning your trip get the best deal on airfare, hotel rates and rental cars by visiting www.travelocity.comwww.expedia.com and www.hotwire.com.

18) Take a Map – You could stop and ask for directions but what if you are in the middle of nowhere? With a map you can take the nearest cross street to find your location. Try not to talk to too many strangers and definitely do not pick up a hitcher.

19) Travel Comfortably – Wear clothes that are comfortable and loose. Dress in layers because where you’re going could be hotter or colder than your home state.

20) Have an Escape Plan – When visiting the family over the holidays it is important to remember all the travel tips I just mentioned, but the most important one of all is the escape plan. If it is coming to the point when everyone has had enough of each other and your mother keeps ragging on you about the guy you date or why you never took that job in New York, you know it is time to go. Have a plan. Get your friend from home to call with a great excuse to get you out of there, like your dog got a turkey bone stuck in its throat.


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