Between larger-than-average crowds and the increased possibility for weather-related delays, business travel during the holiday season can be anything but delightful.
If duty calls and you find yourself airport-bound during the most wonderful time of the year, don’t worry. With a little extra planning (and a heaping dose of patience), you’ll be off to your intended destination in no time. Just keep these tips in mind before you fly:
Check in early. Check in for your flight as early as possible. If the airline gives you the option, secure your seat, too — this helps minimize your risk of being bumped from the flight. Most airlines give you the option to check in 24 hours before your flight, and you can print your boarding pass at home, too. You might also want to see if your airport allows for a mobile boarding pass that you can present on your smartphone when you arrive at the airport.
Early arrival. In the event of large crowds or other unforeseen delays, arrive at the airport two hours before your departure time — and if you’re traveling internationally, three hours. Sure, you might end up with extra time to kill before your flight, but isn’t it better to enjoy that time catching up on email or reading instead of sprinting through the terminal in a desperate attempt to catch your flight?
Pack wisely. If you can, pack everything in a carryon bag. And if you opt to bring two carryons (that’s the maximum allowed), place any valuables or electronics in the smaller of the two. That way, if you encounter a full plane and one of your carryon bags is gate-checked, those items stay close by.
Hit the road. Is your destination within driving distance? It may make more sense to hit the road. And if you do, try to plan your trip around peak driving times. You probably won’t be doing any work travel on the holidays themselves, but the days just before and after can be popular choices, too. Depending on meetings and other commitments, you might not have much flexibility when it comes to your schedule. If you do find yourself traveling in the days leading up to (or just following) a holiday, allow for extra time in case you encounter traffic-related delays. And be sure to check the weather, too. Most state departments of transportation offer digital maps that show real-time road conditions so you can plan for inclement weather.
With a little extra planning, you’ll be prepared to handle even the most hectic of holiday travel. And keeping your stress levels low is the best gift you can give yourself!
If you travel for work during the holidays and have additional tips to share, we’d love to hear them!
Image by Vox Efx via Creative Commons