During the holidays, many travelers set aside their own “must-see” lists to visit a place much more familiar: Home. Although the holidays are a favorite time of the year for many, they’re also a time of stress, from traffic jams to long lines at the airport security gate. But fear not, with our holiday travel guide, you can avoid the crowds – and the extra costs – typically associated with heading home for the holidays.
When you initially book your flight, you’ll likely enter in an email address that the airline will then use to notify you when you’re eligible to check-in. Most airlines allow you to check-in 24 hours in advance, and to print your boarding passes after you do. While most people remember to do this for their departure flight, they often forget to do so the second time around for their return flight. Some airlines allow you to use your boarding pass from your SmartPhone, but the process is still not completely seamless, as it’s sometimes hard to scan.
Many airlines charge for each bag you check in. Some airlines charge around $25 for your first checked bag, and around $35 for your second, even if you’re just traveling within the U.S. If you’re traveling with family, you could be spending hundreds of dollars just to get your luggage on the plane. Avoid the fees and the long lines by packing a carry-on instead, which is free on most airlines. Be aware of your airline’s carry-on size restrictions through, which typically say not to exceed 22 inches long by 14 inches wide by 9 inches tall. Check your airline’s website for all of the rules that may apply before packing your bags.
Sometimes, it may be cheaper to book your flight, car rental and hotel accommodations as a package, through discount travel websites. However, pay close attention to the cancellation policy, as a travel site’s refund policy will likely not be the same as an airline’s, hotel’s or car rental’s policy. Find out how far in advance you can cancel, without any financial penalties. (And
book your travel insurance to protect that investment!)
Who says the calendar gets to dictate when you celebrate holidays? When it comes down to it, it’s all about spending time with the ones you love, and there’s no expiration date for that. Avoid airport lines, crowded roads and expensive airfares by traveling a couple weeks prior to the actual holiday. But before you book anything, make sure that timeframe also works for the family or friends you’re visiting, and the other relatives that may be joining in on the festivities. Then use the money you saved to buy yourself something nice to match the socks and sweater vests you just got from grandma.
Do you have any holiday travel tips? Share them in the comments below.
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Sharon Mostyn has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and communications. Between leading the RoamRight marketing team and speaking on ecommerce, social media and digital communications, Sharon enjoys traveling with her family. Avid SCUBA divers, the Mostyn clan frequents the Caribbean. Follow Sharon on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, and put her in your Google Plus circle.
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