Holiday Travel Checklist

Before you leave

  • Leave one with anyone who may need to know your plans, especially for anyone who provides you transportation to and from the airport.
  • Add them to your cell phone directory or type out a list and carry it with you: airline, hotel, and car rental number, and second choice options.
  • By limiting your checked luggage, you can avoid wasted time at the baggage claim or even possible loss of your luggage.
  • Bring your own to help you relax during the trip and to cover engine noise or unpleasant cabin sounds.
  • If you are traveling with children be sure to have activity books, magazines, their favorite snacks and emergency child travel sickness medicine.
  • Also put a hold on your mail at the post office if you have a mailbox and not a slot in the door. Unless you have someone watching your home, you do not want deliveries piling up.
  • If you have pets, arrange for a neighbor's care or hire a pet sitter.
  • Have a service come and care for your growing things.

Important items

  • These should be taken care of early, not last minute, if needed.
  • These should be divided and stored in several safe places if needed.
  • Secure your flight and hotel months ahead of your holiday travel.
  • Some airlines offer $5 off baggage fees if you prepay on-line. Avoid too large or over-stuffed carry-on luggage.
  • Know what they are especially during busy travel times when overbooked flights are commonplace.
  • This procedure is quick and simple and can be done 24 hours ahead of our flight time.
  • If you plan to leave your car at the airport, reserve a spot ahead if you can.
  • For any delays, you may spend more time there than planned and knowledge of what services are offered could save you time.

Off to the airport

  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport especially if your drive is a long one. If the weather is bad, or you expect heavy traffic, allow sufficient time for any delays.
  • There is no way to rush through this stage so gauge your time accordingly.
  • Have your boarding pass and ID in hand, wear slip-on shoes, and wear no belts or heavy jewelry.

Upon arrival

  • Collect anything you checked and don't forget your carry-ons
  • If you don't have a relative to get you, you should pick up your rental.
  • Before you leave the airport, double check details of your return flight.
  • It is still customary to tip porters, so plan ahead and have some small currency.

Travel around national holidays can be tricky because everyone has the same idea to get-out-of-town.  In order to avoid disappointment because you were unable to secure an airline ticket for your preferred dates, pre-planning months in advance is advised. This becomes even more important if you expect to use any frequent flier miles allowed during the dates you wish to travel. Be prepared for sticker shock with jacked up holiday prices at the airlines and hotels. By using the checklist below, you can become a savvy traveler who understands that pre-planning may guarantee headache free holiday travel.  

Tips

Holiday travel is always busy, so know your second best flight option should yours be delayed or canceled at the last minute. Travel outside of the U.S. requires a current passport and knowledge of required immunizations in order to enter the foreign country. Check your passport renewal date to be sure that it does not expire while you are away. If you plan your holiday travel around the busiest holidays of the year like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, unless you are planning to stay with family or friends, you better have your hotel reservations well in advance. You can try to keep up with on-line holiday deals by subscribing to travel services websites. Be prepared to act quickly because bargains disappear in minutes. Figuring out how to get your Christmas gifts to your destination also requires pre-planning.  Many people ship their gifts ahead of time which works well, but this method requires early shopping and mailing. For smaller gifts, you can pack them in an extra piece of luggage. Just be aware that your airline may be charging extra for all checked luggage and they do have limits. This same bag can then be packed with the gifts you receive and plan to bring home.