Tips for Airport Travel During the Holidays

Photo by louis magnotti on Unsplash

The holidays may not be for a few more months, but for many of us, plans to visit friends and family or take a vacation are already well underway. It’s a notoriously busy time of year, and in few places is this truer than at the airport. As if getting through security and baggage claim weren’t stressful enough year-round, the added crowds can make navigating airports feel like nothing short of a travel nightmare. If you’re planning to fly this holiday season, read on for some tips to help make things easier.

Plan Ahead But Be Flexible

Booking your tickets well in advance can mean the difference between a comfortable seat for a reasonable price and maxing out your credit card to get stuck next to the bathroom. Airlines usually release their holiday schedules months ahead of time, so figure out which dates you’d like to travel and snag your tickets as soon as possible. If you have some room for flexibility with your dates, we recommend avoiding peak travel days, which tend to be more crowded and expensive.

Get There Early

Arriving at the airport with time to spare is a good idea any time of year, but it’s absolutely essential during the holiday rush. If you’re flying domestic, aim to arrive at least two hours in advance, and budget at least three hours for international flights. Keep an eye on the status of your flight before you leave so that you can prepare for any last-minute changes. To avoid getting held up in the security line, plan the contents of your carry-on bags strategically and opt for easily removable shoes.

Embrace Technology

Use technology to your advantage—download your airline’s app for real-time flight updates and convenient access to mobile boarding passes. If your flight includes a meal, consider pre-ordering your selection online at least 24 hours before, especially if you have any dietary restrictions. Finally, stick AirTags to your luggage to help you find it more quickly at baggage claim or in the event it gets lost.