Four Keys to Holiday Travel

Grandmother’s pumpkin pie. Aunt Lou’s home-baked rolls. PeePaw’s snoring. There are just certain things that make the holidays complete. Without them, the celebrations aren’t the same. That’s why so many families travel during this time of year. Hoping that you and your family have the most enjoyable season possible, we’ve provided the four keys to holiday travel.

Planning.

•If you’re flying and still haven’t purchased your airline ticket, try to fly non-stop. It might cost you few bucks more, but it can save you hours (and if you miss the connection, perhaps a full day). If you can’t avoid the connection then try to allow ample time to get to your next flight. With tricky winter weather and large traveling crowds, you will be grateful to walk through the airport instead of having to run.
•Save important phone numbers in your phone. Include phone numbers for your hotel, car rental location and all family members you’re visiting in your phone for easy access.
•Know your route. If you’re driving, know your planned roads and highways ahead time. Check for any construction that might cause a detour. If you’re flying, check out the airports, especially if you do have a connection. While you may not read how to use the life vest, you can look at the material in most seat back pockets and see where your gate is located and trams you may need to use to get here in your connecting airport.

Timing.

•Like the song says, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Use whatever flexibility you may have and see what a difference in costs arriving/departing a day early/later makes. You could see the small change make a big difference in the costs. Most travel sites such as Orbitz and Expedia make checking for surrounding dates easy so you can easily see what the cost difference is.
•Remember, traveling is like Big Brother. “Expect the unexpected.” Traffic jams, long lines, oversleeping, rest stops… the reasons are bountiful. Schedule for delays to prevent frustrations when they arrive.

Packing.

•You know what’s not fun? Packing. You know what’s less fun than that? Re-packing at the airport when you try to get your bag under the weight limit to avoid a charge. Believe me, I know. Before you declare yourself done with the task of packing, weigh your back and compare it with the weight limit posted on the airline website. If you’re over, try redistributing some your items from one bag to another so that you aren’t charged a ‘heavy bag’ fee. Keep in mind, if you’re going to be receiving gifts at your destination, leave space for them in your trip there.
•Speaking of gifts, if you plan on giving gifts (after all, it’s better than receiving, they say), consider shipping your presents. This can help you lower the weight of the bag and avoid the fee. Plus, it leaves more room for your personal items. If you will be packing your gifts you’re bringing for others, wait to wrap them until you arrive at your destination. Otherwise, paper is torn, bows are crushed… it’s a whole thing. Easily packable gift bags are the way to go.

Relaxing.

•Getting from Point A to Point B during the holidays can be rough. The planning, the timing, the packing, the crowds, the weather… it’s a lot. Through it all, if you can remember why you’re making the trip, every potential obstacle will be worth it. The key is to be able to relax so that you can be your best self for those with whom you’re celebrating the holidays.

And, in those moments that are the most challenging, think about tasting that pumpkin pie!

Chad Peterson
chad.peterson@fcloans.com
Senior Vice President, Communications

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