What to know about traveling during the holidays in 2021
Expert Tips for Traveling During the Holiday
From wrapping up projects at work, to buying gifts for everyone on your list, to booking travel to visit friends and family, the most wonderful time of the year can also become the most stressful. Since this will be the first holiday season since the COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots have become available, travel is anticipated to be almost as busy this year as before the start of the pandemic.
If you’ve placed your travels on hold these past couple years and are considering booking a flight during the upcoming months, Travelpro® has some tips for traveling during the holidays.
Holiday Travel Guide
From flight delays to lost luggage, travelers have always needed to be prepared for things to go wrong. But during the COVID-19 era, there are even more complications airlines are dealing with that ultimately trickle down to the passengers. Add in the holiday travel spike, and you have a perfect storm.
It’s important when you’re booking a trip to be prepared for every possible scenario. Here are some holiday travel tips that will make your plans go off without a hitch (or as close as possible).
Book With Flexibility
The cheapest flights can be found between 95 to 121 days in advance of your trip. Avoid busy travel days that come directly before and after major holidays, and try to leave on a weekday rather than on a weekend in order to find more affordable rates.
Research COVID-19 Restrictions Before & After Booking
COVID-19 compliances around the world are still changing daily, meaning the rules are subject to change where you’re visiting as well as for when you return home. Make sure you are aware of the requirements upon reaching your destination, such as proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or a vaccination card. Additionally, most airlines and airports have implemented mask mandates, so make sure to bring one and prepare to wear it during your flight and while walking between terminals.
Plan Ahead & Pack Early
Those festive sweaters and holiday gifts can take up a lot of space, so pack early enough to make sure everything will fit into your carry-on and checked bag. You’ll also need to double check the sizes of your suitcases and weigh them before arriving at the airport. Don’t be the passenger who pays extra fees for an overweight suitcase or holds up the TSA line because you exceeded the liquids limit in your carry-on.
Prepare For Potential Delays & Long Lines
While the weather during November and December is hard to predict, it’s best to prepare for those worst-case scenarios: delays or cancelations. You’ll also want to anticipate longer lines than usual during check-in and while going through security. Arrive at the airport earlier than you normally would; typically two hours before takeoff for domestic flights and three hours before takeoff for international flights is recommended.
If you want to skip the general boarding line and keep your shoes on while passing through the metal detector, consider getting TSA precheck, which is a known traveler program that will help cut down your wait time. Note that there is a fee to apply and the process for getting approved could take about three months, so make sure to plan ahead.