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Flying Tips and Tricks for Holiday Travel

5 min read

Holiday travel has always been a synonym for “stress.” In 2022, with the effects of a lingering global pandemic, it can feel like tensions have been cranked up to 11. Everyone wants to fly to family and loved ones this year. But a creative approach to holiday traveling can get you to Grandma’s in time for dinner without losing your cool. So, make a plan, be mindful of the rules, and follow these flying tips and tricks to get the most out of your holiday getaway.

Time and again, we see that managing expectations is the key to getting the most enjoyment out of an occasion and minimizing the angst. So… expect delays at the airport. Prepare for crowds, staffing and supply shortages, and inconvenience. Practice self-care so you are well-fed and well-rested before heading to the airport. Stay safe while traveling, and choose the path that lowers stress at every step of your holiday travel.

Book Early

The airlines and hospitality industries are bracing for a record-busting season. So, it’s a good idea to book your travel plans well in advance. Flight and hotel costs are soaring so lock in yours before they’re gone. Even better, see if you can reschedule your holiday traveling a bit earlier or a bit later than the crowds. An insider holiday tip highlights the two slowest travel weeks of the year. Known as “dead weeks,” they are the week immediately after Thanksgiving and the one directly after New Year’s. If you can schedule your flying during these dead weeks, you’ll save time, money, and stress.

Take the First Flight of the Day

One of the greatest headaches of holiday travel is flight cancellations. Winter storms, record crowds, and overbooked flights can lead to a cascade of canceled flights that can tie up several airlines. Get ahead of the problem and book your seat on the day’s first flight. Get a great breakfast, plenty of coffee, and catch a sunrise flight.

Send Gifts Ahead

Bringing gifts to your loved ones may seem an essential part of your holiday travel plans, but it is best to reconsider. Although TSA rules do allow wrapped gifts in carry-ons, your festive handiwork will be destroyed if a security agent needs to inspect your items. So, save yourself the stress and skip the wrapping. Better yet, send your wrapped gifts on ahead to your destination. That frees up space in your luggage and avoids unwanted attention from airport personnel.

Consider the Airport a Destination

When you’re flying home for the holidays, there’s a big chance you’ll spend considerable time waiting to board your flight. For many people, time stuck waiting at the airport is the worst part of holiday travel. But this is due to a failure to plan appropriately. Rather than hating the wait — embrace it. Do you enjoy people-watching? Reading? Streaming your favorite guilty pleasure?

Plan to enjoy the down time. It can be a relief after all the rushing around to relax with nowhere to go. Download your favorite movies and music and check out your favorite podcasts or audiobooks. Be sure to bring tasty snacks, a neck pillow, and anything else you need to make the time pass enjoyably. Expect delays and glitches. It’s a built-in part of traveling for the holidays, so find a way to make it work for you.

Pack Strategically

Review baggage weight and size limits and pack your bags accordingly. Leave some extra room to bring gifts back with you, but don’t hesitate to ship those home if it makes sense. And pack light where you can. If you have access to laundry facilities on your trip, you don’t need a different outfit for every day of your holiday traveling. If you can skip checking bags, you can streamline your passage through the airport.

Pack PPE

Be sure to pack several comfortable face masks, hand sanitizer, and any other forms of PPE you might need. Consider bringing a home test or two with you for convenience and peace of mind as we move into the cold and flu season. Some airports and airlines still require face masks, and these standards are in flux. As new variants emerge, protocols may have changed by your return flight. The CDC recommends wearing face masks during holiday travel and staying healthy will make your time with family more enjoyable.

Protect Your Vaccination Card

Before boarding an airplane, you must show your physical vaccination card proving you have a COVID vaccine. But most restaurants and hotels will accept a photocopy. Protect your vaccine card, snap a photo of it to keep in your phone, or carry a copy. Consider downloading a CDC-approved COVID vaccine app to your phone that tracks your status.

Research COVID Restrictions Before Your Leave Home

The pandemic continues to evolve, so policies and restrictions are constantly changing. Research the protocols and regulations for your airport, airline, and destination. No one enjoys masking and social distancing. But these procedures are a small price to pay if it means you get to spend time with loved ones. So, follow the rules and cheerfully follow instructions from the airport staff. They’re working hard to help you enjoy a safe holiday travel season.

TSA PreCheck

Planning ahead allows you to skip the long security lines and headaches. The PreCheck program is particularly valuable for frequent flyers and those with complex, multi-stop holiday travel plans. It provides expedited screening, allowing you to keep on your belt, shoes, and jacket. Most people with PreCheck breeze through security in minutes rather than hours.

Buy Travel Insurance

COVID-19 scrambled air travel like it did to the rest of life in 2020, and the repercussions are still ongoing. Securing travel insurance to protect you against financial loss in the case of flight cancellations, re-routing, sickness, lockdowns, quarantine, and more is an essential step for holiday travel this year. Study your policy carefully to understand what circumstances are covered by a cancellation policy and what aren’t.

We hope these holiday travel tips help you make the most of your celebrations with family and friends. The same attention to planning can protect your home while you’re away. Take a moment to connect with one of our associates to review your homeowners or renters insurance so you’re prepared, come what may.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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