The holiday season in December is when many people travel with families to visit friends and family. However, when traveling during this time, it can be very crowded at your destination, especially if you are traveling internationally.
If you are planning to fly during this time, there are several things for which you should prepare, including:
Traveling with Presents
If you are traveling to somewhere where you plan to give presents, make sure you can carry them on the plane. Airlines have regulations regarding what size and weight of luggage is permitted to go in the cabin or checked baggage while flying internationally, including gifts if not correctly packaged.
It’s also essential to ensure that the presents do not contain anything prohibited by security regulations. Doing so will help tremendously with getting through the airport quicker. Otherwise, you could have to wait in line for a more thorough inspection of your gifts.
If you are planning on leaving your car at the airport parking lot, be sure to check the website for the parking company in question to find out their holiday hours. Most likely, they will follow similar holiday hours as many businesses and banks, which are typically either closed for several days or open late and close early.
Unless you plan to fly out very early in the morning, you should expect to pay extra for parking at RDU parking during this time. You should also confirm the availability of parking spots, so you aren’t stuck without a place to park.
Baggage Claim Issues
Baggage claims can also be an issue during this time as many people are arriving and leaving, which could clog up the baggage belts. The best thing you can do is to check your baggage as close as possible to your flight’s departure time because the earlier it leaves the carousel, the greater the chance that your bags will not get lost.
Of course, the only issue is that checking your baggage early means you have to wait around for a while before heading out to process through security and customs, assuming arriving from an international flight.
Transport to the Airport
If you plan on getting a shuttle, car rental, or taxi at the airport, it’s best to book them in advance because waiting in long lines can waste time.
If you decide to wait until after security to make your transportation arrangements, make sure that there is availability and pickups for your return trip home. Getting to the airport on time will definitely improve your travel experience and reduce stress, so it is vital to plan if possible.
If you or anyone in your group has special needs, make sure to plan out the departure and arrival times accordingly. Many shuttles and cabs might not be equipped with wheelchair accessibility, so it would be best to book them early if possible.
If you need medications that must remain cold during travel, then bringing an insulated bag is necessary, along with a cooler to keep them out. For those without special needs, try to pack lightly as you will have a lot of other things going on during the holiday season that could make your travel experience more stressful.
Delays and Cancellations
Flights can also be delayed or canceled during this peak season, so it’s definitely important to ensure that you have a backup flight in case your primary flight gets canceled.
The earlier you can book your ticket for the period, the better your chance of getting on another flight. Some airlines might not allow you to change your itinerary anymore once it gets closer to the departure date.
There are many things that you might not have considered when preparing for holiday travel with your loved ones. You should think about the transportation options, baggage handling, and special needs that you or others might have, as each of these can significantly affect your experience as well as those around you.
However, with proper planning, it is possible to avoid most of the pitfalls and enjoy a wonderful holiday experience.