The holidays always come quicker that we realize, and before you know it, Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you haven’t made your travel plans, it’s time to get started. Here are ten things you should know before you begin.
Often times travel booked for the holidays months in advanced can lead to the best deals, but another good window is three to four weeks ahead of your travel dates. That means now. Airfares are said to be about 6% higher around Thanksgiving this year compared to last, but with some flexibility, you can still find a bargain.
If at all possible, consider flying on the holiday. If you can time it to where you arrive Thanksgiving morning or early afternoon, you won’t miss out on most festivities, and you’ll get a much cheaper airfare than if you’d flown the day before.
If you can’t fly on the holiday, consider taking some extra time off work and fly out on the Monday before, instead of Tuesday or Wednesday. On your return, it’s usually cheaper to come back that Friday, or to wait until the following Monday. The more flexible you are, the better deal you will find.
Purchasing your flight on a Wednesday or Thursday will usually lead to better prices. Check multiple travel sites. Travelocity is my favorite, and remember to compare with the airline directly as well.
If you haven’t already made plans with family or friends in the U.S., now might be the time to consider spending the holiday overseas. Though it still surprises me when people ask, there is no Thanksgiving in Europe. The only other country to celebrate the day, is Canada, with a few minor exceptions. And the Canadian holiday falls on America’s Columbus Day in October.
What this means to you, is that there are no extreme price increases in other countries around Thanksgiving, and it can be one of the most inexpensive times to travel in the entire year. I’ve taken advantage of this more than a few times.
Just remember, if you have the opportunity to cook, typical Thanksgiving meals may not be as easy to prepare in other countries. My best advice is to create your dinner using what is readily available where you are, instead of trying to prepare a turkey, pumpkin pie, etc. Or skip it all together. There’s always next year.
Packing light has become more important than ever, especially with additional baggage fees. First, be sure to check with your airline to find out their particular baggage regulations so that you’re prepared before arriving to the airport.
Remember that you will not be able to carry on any liquids that are more than three ounces in size, this means most cosmetic items will have to be in your checked baggage. Anything under three ounces you must carry on should be clearly marked and in a clear plastic bag or it will have to be left behind.
Now is the time to live simply. You’re going on vacation, do you really need almost every item of clothing and accessory you own? Lighter is always better when it comes to travel. If you have to bring a lot of things with you, consider shipping them beforehand. It could be cheaper than paying extra baggage fees.
When it’s finally time to leave on your trip, there are several ways to make your airport experience more enjoyable. Start your holiday off right, by leaving early and allowing plenty of time to catch your flight. Near Thanksgiving that’s even more important. It’s better to have a longer wait at the airport, then to arrive stressed and frantic in a heart pounding race to make it on time.
Plan ahead for the screening process by wearing shoes that are easy to remove, and have all of your documents out and ready.
Getting to the Airport
Another way to make things easier, and less expensive, is to leave your car at home. If you can’t get a ride to the airport, most cities have shuttles that will take you there for a fairly low price. It’s nice not to have to worry about traffic or parking.