If you are traveling over the holidays on the public airways, be warned:
Our friends at the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) forecast this to be the busiest Thanksgiving year for air travel ever.
The rush will start actually before Thanksgiving, but the busiest single day of all will be the Sunday following—that’s when everyone returns home. With expected numbers of about 2.6 million to screen—per day—the TSA is going to be busy with a lot of pat-downs.
So what are some tips for making the most of Thanksgiving travel?
Well, the single most important is to remember that Thanksgiving and the holidays are the busiest travel time of the year. That means you need to be forewarned and mentally prepared for big crowds and the stress that comes with it.
Some other great Thanksgiving time travel tips:
Leave More Time
Expecting big crowds means leaving more time for everything… more time to get to the airport, more time to park or be dropped, more time to check bags, and more time in the security line.
Book Tickets Early
No kidding, you can purchase tickets for next year’s travel a year in advance. Buy early and avoid the steep price ramp-up that typically happens after Halloween. You’ll also have a better choice of flights.
Travel in the Morning—as Early as Possible
It’s just a fact. Because most people don’t like to get up early, the airport will be less crowded the earlier you travel. Earlier flights are also statistically less likely to be delayed.
Nonstop Flights are Your Friend
Not only does a nonstop avoid navigating all those crowds a second time, and avoiding waiting in lines all over again—but it also reduces the number of flight segments that can be delayed.
Watch Your Hubs
If you must connect, try to do so through hubs less affected by potential winter storms. Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or San Francisco are some good choices.
Add a Day if Necessary
You might save big bucks if you are able to add another day either before or after your planned departure. Try to avoid Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterwards
Can You Travel Thanksgiving Day?
Even an evening flight, after all the turkey, can save you big-time on typical holiday fares
If You Haven’t Already, get CLEAR or TSA Pre-Check Program. Your time in security lines will be drastically cut. American Express even has a program to with a statement credit to offset the fees for TSA Pre.
Avoid Car Rental; Use a Taxi, Uber, or Lyft
Renting a car, parking, and returning the car are huge time wasters. And the prices during the holiday are going to be some of the highest ever. Avoid all that with public transportation or a ride service.
Avoiding security issues and baggage fees is just smart traveling. Pack as light as you can, and save time at bag check, too.
Don’t Bring Mom’s Gravy Along for the Flight
Airport security is almost certainly going to make you dump any kind of liquid over 3.4 ounces—no gravy, no jam, no cranberry sauce. At the least you’re getting additional screening, and that’s never fun.
Or, you could just simplify the entire process and simply board your own private jet. Of course, this is a select group of persons. Make that a very select group—even most multimillionaires can’t afford their own private jet.
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