If your Thanksgiving plans include traveling, whether by plane or car, you need to know how to cope with the imminent nightmare and chaos.
About 47 million Americans journeyed 50 miles or more from home last year, the highest number of travelers since 2007. This is a 0.6 percent increase over the previous year, and marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel, according to AAA Travel. Airlines carried more than 27 million passengers over the 4-day holiday, a 2.5 percent increase.
Travelers biggest concerns are finding a cheaper flight, getting to their destination in time, not waiting for hours to pass security checkpoints, and canceled or delayed flights.
Passengers can take several steps to prevent as many bad situations as possible. You can never book a flight too early, avoid checking your bags and flying into alternative airports are a few of them.
If your travel plans in the past have gone terribly wrong — or worse, if you have a history of not planning at all, then it’s time to make a major change. Instead of rushing only to sit in traffic or miss your flight, a bit of planning in advance (and leaving a few minutes ahead of schedule) could save you a lot of frustration.
Charge all of you electronic devices and download all of the movies, shows, videos, music and games you know you’ll be watching, listening to or playing. You can’t count on the airport or airline’s Wi-Fi, which is often not free and slow. Don’t waste a minute being annoyed; it’s not good for your health.
“You can’t count on the airport or airline’s Wi-Fi, which is often not free and slow.”
Many factors don’t depend on you when it comes to air travel. The only aspect of which you have full control is your carry-on luggage. Don’t check bags because then you’ll have to spend more time at the airport and away from friends and family waiting for it at the carousel. Besides, checked bags often get lost. Also, save money on baggage fees.
Thanksgiving travel is famous for long delays, bad weather and canceled flights. Travel insurance will reimburse you if you need to change your flight or cancel your trip altogether. It also covers any items that may have been lost during delays. It usually costs around $20 per trip.
The earlier you book your flight, the higher the chances you’ll save more money. The best time to book a flight is on Tuesday night or Wednesday early morning, travel agents say. The heaviest travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday and Monday after. High demand means high prices.
Being in a different city with no money is a frustrating experience. Prevent this from happening by simply calling your credit card company to notify them of any travel plans you have. This is especially true if you’re visiting a different country. If they see a charge from a place you have no history being, they are likely to block the card. Always bring cash with you, just in case.