Stay stress free during holiday travel

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Keep travel stress down (Photo by Kossy@FINEDAYS)

Keep travel stress down (Photo by Kossy@FINEDAYS)

The holidays are a great time for families to come together and create great memories. Holiday travel is sometimes no so great.  Being prepared and planning ahead can help travelers avoid the holiday stress.

Many airlines offer great deals for purchasing tickets in advance. A typical advanced purchase is typically 90 days.

Many times during the holidays, trips must be planned last minute. Many online travel sites offer last minute deals as well. While there may be huge discounts with last minute deals, there are always restrictions that come with the savings; no refunds, cancellations, or transfers to a different person.

To counter balance these restrictions, it might be a good idea to purchase traveling insurance.  Most travel insurance covers illness or family emergency and can be bought for as little as $10 per person. Even if tickets are purchased four or five days in advance, it might be a safe bet to cover any unexpected delays.

It’s also important to look at check-in procedures for individual airlines. Since security measures have increased over the last few years, knowing about an early check-in or online check-in can save hours of waiting in line.  Even if tickets are purchase through a third party site like Travelocity or Expedia, once you know the name of the airline go directly to the airline’s sight to know about check-in procedures.

If travel plans only include a few days, try and keep baggage to carry-on only. Checking in bags can be a hassle and take a lot of extra time, not to include fees. Many airlines allow the first checked in bag free, but many are starting to charge for additional bags, even it’s just two bags.  Keeping it to one bag skips baggage check in, waiting with everyone else around the carousel, and the possibility of losing luggage.

Travel on the ground (Photo by wili_hybrid via Flickr)

Trains, planes and automobiles (Photo by wili_hybrid via Flickr).

Another great thing to look into is alternative forms of travel.  Instead of taking a plane look into train travel or rental cars for shorter distances. Even though the travel time is longer, they can be cheaper to purchase and provide some good Kodak moments.  Depending on the size of the rental car, they charge anywhere from $20 a day up to $100.

Word of advice: Buy the additional insurance when renting a car. Even if you think your insurance covers rental cars, it’s better just to pay for the additional coverage from the rental company.  Then there is no question about who pays what if an accident occurs.

The most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  Traveling during the holidays will always be crazy, nerve racking, and will likely cause you to lose your patience.  Everything may not always go as planned or on schedule, so make sure to be prepared for such delays. Bring your laptop, cell phone, and ipod along with all chargers.  The holidays are supposed to be about being together with loved one, not stressing over travel bumps.


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