It’s that time of year. Yes, some love it. Some Hate it. We all must face it. We’re talking, of course, about HOLIDAY TRAVEL SEASON 2K12. The same tried and true tactics still apply to strategically situating yourself for success when it comes time for holiday travel. We’ve discussed it before, but rather than sending you searching for our age-old wisdom, we thought we’d just summarize the key points here for your viewing pleasure.
Research Cheap Airfare and the Best Days to Fly
According to a study done by FareCompare, the best time to purchase airline tickets is Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Airlines are prone to dropping ticket prices during the early parts of the week before jacking them back up again after Thursday’s when they know most people will spend more time researching flights.
They also found that Wednesday was the cheapest day of the week to fly on. Sandwiched in between the higher volume days of Tuesday and Thursday, Wednesday is traditionally a slower travel day, but planes still need to move around to be ready for the rest of the week and thus ticket prices tend to be a bit lower for these mid-week flights.
This seems like a bit of a no-brainer for business travelers, but when it comes time to actually have the bags packed, the gifts ready, and possibly the kid(s) in the car, that hour and a half you promised yourself would get you through in time somehow has turned into 35 minutes and you’re speeding down the highway praying for a delayed flight.
The volumes of vacationers and inexperienced travelers tend to back the lines in security and check-in to at least twice their normal volume. While common knowledge recommends getting to the airport an hour before your flight, we say go for broke and double that, because waiting for a flight is boring but missing it and waiting 2-3 times as long is a killer.
Bringing Gifts? Save the Wrapping for Later
Ideally, you’ll want to ship your gifts ahead of time to ensure that they’ll arrive on time and in good condition. But if you must bring them along, save the wrapping for after you arrive. Oftentimes security officers must unwrap packages in order to move through checkpoints and will likely have no patience for your plea that “it’s only a Batmobile, I swear!”
Pack Light and Bring Extra Bags
Luggage fee’s have been on the rise of over the last few years, so unless you absolutely have to, save some time and cash by getting it all in your carry-on. Similar to our advice on gifts, it might be easier and cheaper to simply FedEx that extra bag ahead of time to ensure arrival as well as comfort.
In addition, though you’ll be bringing gifts/etc. along with you, what about those that you will be receiving? Packing an extra, empty duffel bag somewhere gives you a place to store any expected items, because you never really know how much or how big those gifts may be.
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