The holidays can be stressful, and if travel is involved, it can add a new layer of angst to an already hectic time of the year.
If air travel is inevitable, there are ways to remove some of the chaos – during the holidays or any time a trip is on the schedule:
- Book early. With fuel prices in flux, chances are airfares will only be going up. Lock in the best fares and the best seats as soon as possible.
- Send your luggage and gifts ahead of time with shipping companies. While it might add some additional cost, it reduces the amount of stuff you have to carry as well as the chance for it to get damaged, lost or stolen.
- Check on airport status before leaving home. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) can advise you of arrival, departure, weather and air traffic control delays. There are also plenty of apps you can download which show flight information.
- Leave your laptop at home. This is another way to reduce your burden. You can always install a free remote-access program on your home and work computers and then log in securely from a computer at your destination – whether it’s a hotel or Grandma’s house.
- Rent a car with GPS. Or buy an inexpensive, compact unit and take it with you. The peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you will not get lost is almost priceless.
- Print out everything, and carry it with you in a manila folder, in the order you’ll need for your trip. This includes itineraries, boarding passes and hotel and car rental reservation confirmations. Make sure that customer service numbers are written on them in case you are delayed or have to re-book on the fly. Once you are done with that segment of the trip, toss out that paper, and the next segment will be in front.
- Haven’t flown in a while? Traveling with kids? The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has helpful advice on how to pack, up-to-the minute security procedures and how to make sure you and your family can glide smoothly through airport checkpoints. http://www.atsb.gov.au/
- When it comes to travel these days, an ounce of planning is worth a suitcase full of relief.