The holidays make for one of the busiest travel seasons in the U.S. as Americans trek to destinations all over the country to be home for the holidays. But traveling during the holidays doesn’t have to turn you into a Grinch. With a little planning and the right attitude, you can survive any crowded airport or travel delay the season brings your way. And we have you covered with our holiday season travel survival guide to do just that. Follow these 5 tips and we guarantee you’ll survive the madness.
1.) Research, Research, Research
Just like you would for holiday gifts, shop around! There are plenty of tools available on the web to compare airline prices. However, before you take the deep dive into these convenient databases, be sure to clear your cookies. Many travel experts have reported that airlines and booking engines are using cookies to show potentially higher airfares on routes that you have searched often.
2.) Timing Is Everything!
Contrary to popular belief, buying at the last minute does not save you the most money. CheapAir.com combed through data on over 11,000 domestic flights to discover the optimum number of days in advance you should book airfare. According to the numbers, the sweet spot is around 49 days, or seven weeks, in advance. But the seven-week rule isn’t necessarily a surefire strategy for snagging the cheapest fare.
The concept of supply and demand applies to many things, including airfare. That’s why flying on popular flying days, such as Friday or Sunday, will set you back more. If you want to save, avoid these days and opt for the less popular travel days instead. The best days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
3.) Arrive Early
As conventional wisdom goes, it’s better to leave home and arrive at the airport early. This provides a cushion for unexpected situations that can range from being stuck in one of the long airport security lanes to waiting in the middle of heavy traffic on the freeway.
Try booking a flight early in the morning. It may feel dreadful forcing yourself out of bed, but wouldn’t you rather want to deal with significantly fewer people throughout your travel day? Plus, booking earlier flights sometimes lead to cheaper ticket costs. Now that’s a win-win!
4.) Purchase Access to an Airport Lounge
The airport terminal can be a crowded, noisy, and hectic place, making it less-than-ideal for relaxation. On average, 45.2 million travelers will traverse through the airport between Dec. 16 and Jan. 5. During these hectic times, the best thing you can do is purchase access to an airport lounge to get away from it all.
Instead of paying separately for snacks, drinks, food, fast wi-fi, or reading material, access your very own airport oasis instead for a reasonable one-time fee. Inside the lounge, you can enjoy all the previously named amenities and more: comfortable seating areas, plenty of power outlets to charge your phone, and unlimited food and beverages – all of this in a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere far removed from the hustle and bustle outside.
Trying one of these tips could lead to hundreds of dollars in savings, but applying them all can lead to a priceless benefit: peace of mind.