According to AAA, about 54 million Americans will be traveling by air and road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005!
If you’re flying for the holiday, woe is you. But alas, sometimes the family just can’t live without you and you’ve got no choice. So what to do if you’re traveling this weekend? Here are some tips to make Thanksgiving travel easier…
1) Travel light. It’s likely you’re only traveling for the long weekend and don’t need a wide range of clothes. Travel with a carry-on bag with just a few changes of clothes so that you don’t have to check your bag. This will save you time at the airport.
2) Check in online up to 24 hours in advance. This will cut down on the amount of time you spend in line at the airport. And if you’re not checking a bag, you’ll be way ahead of most people. Also, choose your seats ahead of time to ensure you don’t get stuck in a middle seat! If you’re traveling with one other person and the seating is three across, choose an aisle and window. You may luck out and not have anyone in the middle. And if you do, you can always swap so you’re sitting with your travel companion.
3) Pack your own snacks. Few airlines offer free meals these days and even if they do, they are usually high carb/high sugar meals that are just going to make you feel worse before and/or after Thanksgiving. Carry your own healthy snacks such as fruit or trail mix and stay away from the airline meals. I always carry a bag of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and cinnamon and ask for a cup of hot water once I’m in-flight. I then have instant oatmeal which is a perfect snack or meal for me and ensures I skip the sugary biscotti and Kind bars.
4) Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. Arriving well in advance of your flight will ensure that you’ll get through check-in and security in time for boarding. I recently arrived an hour and 45 minutes early for a flight on a non-holiday and missed my flight out of Sea-Tac because lines at the security were SO long.
5) Consider getting lounge privileges. If you don’t already have access to an airport lounge, consider joining a program that allows you access. If you have a long delay, it might even be worth buying your way in as there’s free food and, often free drinks.
6) Don’t wrap gifts for family and friends. While you’re probably not bringing wrapped gifts for home for Thanksgiving, it’s a good reminder that the TSA can ask you to unwrap these if you’ve got them in your carry-on bag. It’s best to ship them ahead of time or wrap them once you get to your destination.
7) Bring a good book or games. In case there are delays (count on it so you’re not disappointed or frustrated), have something to keep you occupied. That’s fairly easy these days with smart phones, iPads and in-flight WiFi. But consider taking a break from that and bringing an ACTUAL book or magazine to give yourself a break from screentime 🙂
Have fun with the family and friends this holiday season. And be safe!
By the way, yes, that IS Tofurky in the photo. I make an excellent one. While you’re traveling, I’ll be cooking up one of these slathered in my secret marinade. I know you’re jealous 🙂