Christmas is one of the travel industry’s busiest times – almost everyone wants to go somewhere over the festive period. Here’s our guide to getting to your destination with your festive spirit intact.
That means now for Christmas and New Year.
It’s standard travel advice:
The lowest prices will be on flights very early or late in the day, morning routes are best for avoiding delays. Flying on Christmas or New Year’s Day usually costs far less than on busy days before or after the holidays themselves.
Thinking about a relaxing
The year’s highest rates kick in over the Christmas/New Year holiday periods at ski and beach resorts. Shifting your trip to before or after these times, even by a day or two, can reduce costs significantly.
Look into business hotels
You’ll find low rates at classy city and suburban hotels that normally depend on business travellers. Families should consider all-suite hotels or long-stay hotels, which have more room and good holiday prices.
Airport parking lots get filled
up around the holidays:
Use public transport
If you must drive, consider a private parking lot near the airport. They will shuttle you to and from the terminal and let you book in advance so you won’t have to worry about finding a space.
Start the day early
People who live far from an airport and have an early flight might want to stay at an airport hotel the night before. A bonus is that some allow you to park your car at the hotel until you return.
Check out new time-saving check-in procedures
Many airlines’ websites now make it possible for passengers to print out bar-coded boarding passes at home. There are also options at the airport. Look for a self-service, check-in kiosk inside the terminal, where you can quickly get your boarding pass and sometimes check your luggage.
Bringing presents on
Don’t wrap them. All luggage – gifts included – must be examined by security. Keep expensive or fragile items in your carry-on bag to cut down on the chances that they will be damaged or stolen.
If you are bringing along any electronic items (MP3 players, DVD players, CD players) for in-flight entertainment, be sure they are fully charged or pack spare batteries.
Worried about waiting in
long security lines?
Arrive for your flight in plenty of time and assume there will be long security queues. Airports have reported that the majority of delays experienced to date were caused by passengers not following the new security guidelines and trying to carry on liquids such as perfume bottles.
Passengers can do a lot to alleviate the delays by following the security guidelines and packing sensibly before you set off. Spend a little bit more time on packing and checking your bags before you start off and the security checks will be a lot faster!
Wear loafers or slip-on shoes to make your trip through security checkpoints easier. With your arms full of carry-on bags, snacks, jackets and such, it is much easier to slip off a loafer than to attempt to untie and retie your shoes when you pass them through the security scanner. Watch your items once they pass through the scanner. Whether accidental or intentional, it is easy for someone to snap up your purse or briefcase and dash off to their flight, while you are still standing on the other side of the security checkpoint. If you can, have one member of your party pass through security before sending the bags and coats through the x-ray scanner. This person can then collect your carry-on items as other members of your party feed them through the scanner.
Give them a break
If your holiday hosts have been making the airport run picking up other out of towners, consider giving them a break by taking a taxi or shuttle upon arrival.
Confirm your car reservation
If you do decide to hire a car, remember that rental outfits work on a no-show rate of 20 per cent, allowing them to overbook. The result is that sometimes there are too many people and too few cars. To avoid being the one without wheels, try to arrive at the rental counter in late morning or early afternoon, when the parking lot is most likely to be full. Calling to confirm your reservation before you arrive lets them know that you won’t be a no-show.