Flying during the holidays is always a little more chaotic than usual. Being prepared ahead of time and reviewing precautions will help travel be a little smoother.

Booking Flights

The days immediately before and after the holiday will be the busiest for travel so, if possible, book flights a few days before or after Christmas or New Year’s. Avoiding these peak times will help you avoid some headache. Also try to book flights for the morning hours when delayed flights are less likely.


Pack as lightly as possible, the heavier the bag the more you might end up paying to get it to your destination. Also make sure that your carryon will meet the airline size requirements. The overhead storage will be at a premium during the holidays so be prepared for your bag size to be questioned. Tag each bag with your name, address and contact information.

Arriving at the Airport

It’s best to have a friend drive you to the airport or to take a taxi or shuttle. If you have to drive yourself and park at the airport be sure to leave any valuables locked in the trunk of the car, or better yet, leave them at home. It is wise to have your car prepared for your return, this means, plenty of gas as well as an ice scrapper and jumper cables. You never know what the weather will be like when you return.

Arrive at the airport early; some suggest doubling your time to give yourself a good cushion for traffic, delays, crowds and security screening. Flights during the holidays are sometimes overbooked so you will want to check in early.

Security Screening

No doubt security will be heightened during holiday travel times. One of the best tips is to visit the TSA website ( or the mobile app (MyTSA) to look for answers to your specific questions and to review their requirements for security screenings. Don’t forget all the rules such as:

  • 3-1-1 rule for liquids, gels and pastes (3 ounces, 1-quart bag, 1 bag per person)
  • Most passengers must remove shoes at the security checkpoint so wear shoes that are easy to remove and don’t forget to wear socks
  • Electronics must go in the bin to be inspected separately

Come prepared for delays with snacks, books and perhaps even a pillow. Even the best planning can’t prevent delays and setbacks so plan to travel with a good attitude and choose to be mentally prepared for whatever may happen.

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