With the hot sun beating down and the kids home from school, the winter holidays are probably the last thing on your mind. Although they may seem far off in the distant future, holidays often sneak up on you before you know it. If you remember the hectic last-minute shopping trips and early-morning-only flight selections from last year, you’ll see why it’s so important to begin planning early for your holiday travel. Although early preparation will already put you ahead, the following tips ensure even greater security and reduced hassle for your trip.
1. Purchase Travel Insurance
Skipping out on the expense of travel insurance to save a few bucks is a prime example of the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish.” Although you may think you’re saving some money by foregoing insurance, you run the risk of racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills and damages in the event that an emergency occurs on your trip. With proper travel insurance coverage, you can be protected in case your flight is canceled due to a natural disaster or you experience a medical emergency away from home.
2. Prepare for Winter Weather
Whether you’re driving all the way to your destination or just want to make it to the airport in one piece, it’s important to prepare for the snowy winter weather you’ll encounter on your trip. If you intend on flying, snow storms can make your take off time pretty inconsistent. Instead of calling the airport every few minutes to ensure your flight’s still on time, use social media to stay updated with the latest info about your flight. Simply follow the airport you’ll be flying out of on Twitter and you’ll continually receive updates for current and future flights. If you’re planning a road trip, you can prepare your vehicle for snow by having it properly inspected before you go.
3. Avoid Peak Travel Dates
For Thanksgiving travel, it’s a well-known rule that Wednesday is the worst day to travel. This is because most travelers choose this day so they can make it to their destination just in time for the holiday. Although you may show up a bit later than the rest of the crew, traveling on Thanksgiving day is ideal because tickets are more affordable and airports are virtually deserted. As far as returns go, Friday morning typically offers good deals because most people prefer to prolong their trip. Each day afterward is gradually more expensive through Sunday evening. Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on a Tuesday this year, which means you should avoid flights out on Sunday and Monday and flights in on Thursday and Friday.
Traveling during the holidays has a reputation for being hectic and chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be when you prepare properly and take the right approach. These three tips will ensure a smooth trip–made even smoother if they’re applied as early as possible. So although the sun is shining and there’s not a holiday sale in sight, it’s never too soon to start booking your flights, purchasing essential equipment and even getting a head start on shopping for the holidays ahead.