Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
Give a family member or friend your travel itinerary and the contact information for your hotel. Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals. Get adequate medical insurance, particularly if you are planning to do any high-risk adventure travel. Check your policy to make sure your medical expenses abroad will be covered as well as emergency evacuations.
Avoid peak travel dates.
At Thanksgiving, Wednesday is the critical outbound “avoid” day as a rule. Traveling on Thanksgiving day proper is often a breeze and more affordable; there are often cut-rate airfare deals on Thanksgiving day. If you can fly home any day other than Sunday, you’ll likely pay less.
At Christmas and New Year’s, the peak travel dates change each year depending on which days the holidays fall. You can generally guess which dates will be the most expensive for travel (consider which travel days would allow you to maximize long weekends without taking too many days off work — and that’s probably when everyone will want to go). If you’re not sure, use a search engine that lets you put in flexible travel dates; these will show you which date combinations will give you the best deal.
During peak travel times, much of the trouble you’ll face lies on this side of the security check-in, from traffic jams and full parking lots to absent shuttles and long lines. Rather than striving to “arrive at the airport early,” you may want to try to “leave for the airport early” to anticipate all the peripheral delays you may encounter.
Consider package deals.
Peak travel periods can be the best time to buy package deals (such as air/hotel or air/hotel/air), even for folks who would never buy one, as the bundled pricing offered by packages can be very competitive. I’m traveling on a package over Thanksgiving, and am almost stunned at the offer; you can barely afford to stay home at these prices.
Put It All Together
Travel during the holidays is the time to lay all your travel savvy on the line. For example, if you:
– purchase a package deal in one click of the mouse
– have your boarding pass sent to your phone
– leave early enough not to sweat the small stuff
– travel light enough not to have to check any bags
– proceed directly to and through security
– arrive at the gate on time and at ease
– and nail your connections …
… you might actually enjoy traveling this season