To maximize holiday happiness and minimize the grief, follow these helpful tips.
> Contact us in advance to secure the best-priced airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars that usually sell out quickly for holiday travel. Be aware that prices generally escalate during the holiday season, as demand is higher.
> Avoid peak travel days. The busiest days to fly are those immediately before and after the actual holidays.
> Take the worry of getting to the airport completely out of the equation by staying at an airport hotel the night before an early flight. The additional sleep is well worth it. In some cases, hotels will allow guests to leave their car in the hotel lot for the duration of their trip.
> If you drive and park at the airport lot, do not leave any valuables in plain view. Remember to put jumper cables in the trunk in case the battery dies during your trip.
> Check in early. Domestic travelers should arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure, while international travelers should arrive three hours in advance.
> To get through the security checkpoints smoothly and quickly, remember the 3-1-1 program: Liquids, aerosols and gels must be in containers three ounces or less. Items must be put in a one quart, clear plastic zip-top bag. Only one zip-top bag per passenger. For more information, visit the TSA website.
> If you do not send your gifts ahead, then do not wrap them before the flight. With safety a priority for all airlines, security personnel will need access to all items. Pack collapsible gift bags to be used as wrapping upon arrival.
Keep a positive attitude, but also be mentally ready for setbacks. Delays happen, and airlines do the best they can to keep their schedules on time.