Tis the Season to be Savvy
It’s that time of the year again and in just a few days you’ll most likely be on your way to visit family, friends or taking that much deserved vacation that you’ve been waiting for all year. The holiday season can be a nightmare for travelers though so we’ve decided to lend a helping hand to help you roll through the holiday with ease.
1. You’re on holiday – Take your time
Depart from home far earlier in the day than you would at any other time of year, whether you’re starting a road trip or heading to an airport or bus or railway station. Wouldn’t you rather not be panicked if you run into traffic congestion, crowded public transit or long security lines? Relax and read or listen to music while you wait for your plane or train; take a restful pit stop if you’re driving.
2. Avoid Peak Days
There’s no getting around it. Peak travel days are the worst! You’ve heard it before, but it remains true that traveling the day before Christmas and the Sunday after — whether by air, road or rail — greatly increases your chance of travel woes. Consider adjusting your dates by even a day.
3. Be Prepared
You can’t predict travel snafus, but you can make like a Boy Scout and be prepared for anything. If you’re driving, know alternative routes so you can adjust if traffic is bad. If you’re flying, know the alternative flights and connecting cities to your destination in case of delays or cancellations.
4. Don’t think of an Airport as a port for Planes to Dock
An airport is no longer just a transit hub to be rushed through. Many terminals are amenity-filled malls, some with terrific art exhibitions, shops, restaurants and live music. Arriving three hours before a flight is a lot more pleasant when you know you can browse, savor a glass of wine or a cold beer, take in a healthy amount of snacks and relax while watching those who didn’t read this run around frantically trying to find their check-in counter.
5. While we’re planning your time at the airport
Airport parking often fills up during the holidays. But at many lots — especially private ones a short shuttle ride from the terminal — you can pre-book, sparing yourself a mad scramble to stash the car before your flight takes off.
6. Take advatage of that work printer before you leave for the year
There is no need to wait in line if you print out boarding passes at home, pull them up on your smartphone or get them at an airport kiosk. If you have an e-ticket, carry a printout of your itinerary.
7. Pack Light for Air Travel
Take only a carry-on bag, even if it means leaving an outfit or two at home. That sacrifice will save you time on both ends of the trip, and if your flight is canceled it simplifies scoring a seat on another flight.
8. Send now – Gift Later
If you’ll be traveling by air, ship presents in advance or shop online and have them delivered to your destination. If you do take gifts along, make them small and pack-able, and don’t wrap them beforehand: Even if they’re in checked luggage, security personnel may need to open them for inspection.
9. Provisions, Provisions, Provisions!
Take snacks, games, books, magazines, portable music or DVD players and other diversions to pass the time if your flight is delayed or you’re stuck in traffic. (This is vital, of course, if you’re traveling with kids.) Having a Duffle bag or even a Backpack with you will make carrying provisions from point to point much easier in the long run.
10. Pack right – Wear Right
It’s important to pack right for the type of holiday that you have planned. You don’t want to be packing your winter clothes if you’re heading to the sunny beach of Durban or better yet the Caribbean. In the same breath you don’t want to be packing your warm beach clothes if you’re heading up the hill to vacation in Johannesburg or maybe somewhere like Ireland. More important than packing though, is what you’ll be wearing. Ensure that the clothes you’ll be wearing are comfortable and suitable for where you’ll be arriving. The last thing you want to do is start throwing clothes out of your carry on looking for something a little warmer than shorts and slops.