If you're one of the 40 million or so Americans who travel at Thanksgiving, you know what a hassle it can be. But with a plan in hand you can ease some of the stress and strain by following these dos and don’ts.
Do Plan Your Flight Early. In late summer or early fall, sign up for airline price notifications. Be sure to include flights for surrounding airports, because even if it means a longer drive from your home or to your final destination, the savings could be well worth it. Keep in mind that early bird discounts are often first posted on Twitter or Facebook, so if you're not a social media fan, now might be a good time to start.
Don't Travel on the Busiest Days. The day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are the busiest travel days of the year. Avoid the chaos by flying out on Tuesday, or get a really good deal by leaving home on Thanksgiving morning. You can save 15-20 percent on airfare and still make it in time for dinner. If your schedule allows, return home on Friday when everyone else heads to the mall for Black Friday deals, or Monday when the airport crowds have tapered off.
Don't Over Pack. Since most airlines charge for checked bags, pack light and carry it on. Keep in mind that everyone else will have the same idea so take a bag that's small enough to shove under the seat if the overhead bins are full. Consider shipping bulky items or early holiday presents ahead of time versus lugging them onto the plane.
Do Put Your Smart Phone to Use. Everything you need is right at your fingertips! Keep track of your flight status, parking, weather alerts, airport volume, gate changes, restaurants, and last-minute shopping deals by loading up with all the relevant apps. Many airlines are using Twitter to keep passengers up-to-date about last minute changes, another good reason to be a follower.
Do Consider a Plan B - Driving. Driving to your destination can save you time, allow you to pack more, and eliminate airport headaches. It does, however, come with its own challenges. Highways, especially around major metropolitan areas, can become very congested, and the weather can turn dicey that time of year. Follow some of the same advice above: plan ahead, leave early and use technology like your smart phone or GPS system to stay informed.
Don't Forget to Secure Your Home Before Leaving. Do not post your travel plans on social media sites. Stop mail, newspapers, and deliveries and use timers to operate lights at various times throughout the house and day. You can ease your worries further by keeping an eye on your home using a web-based home security system that allows you to check your home via phone or laptop.
Happy safe travels and a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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