Top 10 Tips for Holiday Travelers

Tip #10 - Scarlet and Natalie get a photo in the captain's seat on a recent American Airlines Flight!

Tip #10 – Scarlet and Natalie get a photo in the captain’s seat on a recent American Airlines Flight!

I am what many would refer to as a ROAD WARRIOR. I travel for a living and have seen most of the fine airports and stayed in some of the top and worst hotels in America. Wanted to share a few tips I have learned over the years that may help make your holiday traveling a little bit easier this year.

Hope my list of Top 10 Tips for Holiday Travelers helps make your journeys a little less painful.

1. Avoid early morning flights – Most business travelers load up the flights between 5am and 7am. If you can push back your departure until 9am, you can avoid the business traveler surge!

2. Avoid last flight out of the day – Delays start to build throughout the day. If you stick to mid-day flights, you have may more options for getting alternate flights in the event of a delay or cancellation.

3. Move small items to bag before hitting TSA security lines – So many delays at airport security are caused by travelers who aren’t “ready” for the TSA screening. Go ahead and empty those pockets. Put your small items in your bag or backpack before you hit the line. This can shave valuable minutes off of your time in security. It will also help keep things moving for the travelers around you.

4. Download a travel app – I use the app TripIt. Make sure it is linked with your travel itinerary and you will get real-time gate updates during your travels. With insane holiday travel, flights are often moved to alternate gates and you can easily see your arrival gate and next departure gate before you make the mad dash to your connecting flight.

5. Add your mobile number on your reservation – Similar to the previous tip, having your cell number on your reservation allows to the airline to give you realtime travel updates during your trip. It’s nice to know what baggage claim carousel your bags will be arriving at.

6. Book your flights directly with the airline – I have found the best prices to be directly from the airlines websites. I frequently use a service like Orbitz or Expedia to search for the flight I want. After finding the flight, I go directly to the airlines website to book. Often this will save you a few dollars on each flight.

7. Bring an empty water bottle – I see thousands of people throwing away water bottles at TSA checkpoints. You can simply empty the bottle and throw it in your bag to get through security. You can refill that water bottle inside the terminal. This will save you money which can be used on fun things during your adventures.

8. Bring a portable battery charger – It’s no fun to travel with a dead cell phone battery. I always have a few fully charged batteries in my backpack. Here is an example of a good battery charger for travelers

9. Be friendly – Holiday travel stresses everyone out. Mentally prepare yourself for delays, crowds and other frustrated travelers. If you start your trip with the proper mindset, you day will be much nicer. Smile and say good morning to the airline staff, security agents and flight attendants. It’s amazing how far this will get you. They spend their entire holiday season dealing with stressed out travelers. When you are nice, you never know what travel benefits you will get. Maybe they don’t charge you for that extra pound in your luggage. 🙂

10. When traveling with kids, ask if they can see the cockpit – Pilots and flight attendants are people, they have families and will always go the extra mile to help the little ones have a fun flight. American Airlines will give kids a “Passport” on each flight, the captain will autograph it and write cool info about the flight along with a little message to your child. I get a photo of my daughters in the cockpit with the flight crew every time we fly. Many times, they will even let them sit in the captain’s seat for the photo. This tip alone will help make even the most stressful travel day awesome for you and your family. One additional benefit of the kids meeting the captain is that they feel safer during the flight. Often the captains will even say things to the kids that help calm their travel nerves!

Hope these tips help you and your family have a memorable and relaxing experience as you fly this holiday season!

copyright 2015 – Philip Nelson Nelson Adventures, LLC. If you would like to use this list, please contact me for permission.

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