In a very short time Americans will be off in masses for family gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday. While staying home is the best advice the reality is that this holiday is the most heavily traveled in the country. Regardless of the delays, exhaustion and memories of arguemetns from last year, we’re all heading out to do it again.
You can get ready and be less stressed than last year with a few easy Thanksgiving travel tips.
Pack light. Carry one soft side bag. The one thing to count on at this time of year is long lines. Set your mind that delays will happen. If you pack light you can move around more easily while waiting for that late bus, train or plane.
Take a special book, magazine or DVD movie for those delay times. If you have something special to do while waiting the time goes much smoother. Pack low-sugar snacks and drinks. Travelers don’t need a sugar rush while waiting or in cramped quarters.
Arrive at the airport two hours prior to scheduled flight departure time, both on the outbound and inbound trips. This is once you get into the terminal. Build in extra time to park your car. Remember, lots and parking resources will be filled so making a reservation at an off site parking facility will help. Most of them take holiday reservations with a deposit.
Stay Informed. Stay in touch with real-time flight status on the airline’s web before heading to the airport. If you have an e-ticket use the kiosks and skip ticket counter lines. Most airlines have these now so use them. Consider full-service curbside check-in if you have ski, snowboard, golf or sporting equipment.
Expect to stand in long lines. Expect planes to be jammed. On board stowage space will be critically limited so again, take only one small soft side bag to slip under the seat. If you are taking a gift leave it unwrapped. Most security checkpoints will now require you to unwrap wrapped gifts. Better yet, mail it on ahead a few days before your plane flight.
If you are hitting the road in your car and driving, make sure its in good working order. Check you oil, water, washer fluid and tire pressure. Make sure you pack emergency supplies in case you get stranded. Take fresh containers of drinking water. If you are in colder areas take blankets and warm jackets, tire chains and de-icer.
Plan your trip so you do not return on Sunday. It’s not recommended to drive on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It is the worst, most traffic-heavy day of the year. Try leaving Saturday or staying through Monday.
Take games. Better yet, if your vehicle or laptop has a DVD player, take movies. There’s no shame in a quiet, fight-free ride on the way home.
See you on the road!
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.