5 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Mont Tremblant
The upcoming holiday travel season will be busier than ever, with AAA Travel estimating 46.9 million Americans will be traveling for Thanksgiving alone – the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. With this in mind, here are a few tips for stress-free holiday travel.

Never check your baggage

Checking your baggage can be risky at any time of the year, but during the holiday season it can be particularly uncertain. Taking a chance by checking your luggage increases the likelihood that something gets lost, broken, or stolen, and you also have to pay high baggage fees, as outlined here. Avoid this added risk and stress by shipping only packing a carry-on for your holiday travel.

Skip the security lines

With so many people traveling, the security lines can be insane. Why tack on hours to your travel time spent standing in lines when you can bypass them? Skip the security lines by applying for a Trusted Traveler program to take advantage of TSA Precheck lines domestically and Global Entry when returning from abroad. You can find a comparison of all the different Trusted Traveler programs here.

Upgrade your seats

Why not treat yourself to upgraded seats while you’re traveling this holiday season? If you’ve bought economy class tickets, there are many ways for you to secure an upgrade. One route is through your airline’s loyalty program. If you have elite status with an airline, be sure to add your name to the upgrade standby list. You can also use the points or miles you have saved up to upgrade your seat, with guidelines varying from airline to airline. If the previous options fail, you can always check at the gate if there are upgrades available to purchase.

Use lounge access

Crowded airports can be stressful. Generally, a great place to find some respite is inside an airport lounge. With food, drinks, seating, and wifi, airport lounges provide a calmer waiting environment to reduce holiday travel stress, especially if you are facing long waits, delayed flights, or lengthy layovers. If you’ve been holding onto those free lounge access passes that come with many airline-branded credit cards, this is a great time to use them! Otherwise, look to access airport lounges through your American Express Platinum perks, which include Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass access. Paying a one-time fee in cash or miles to enter these airport lounges is a good option too.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is crucial for avoiding holiday travel mishaps. Hotels book up, traffic can be a mess, and delays lurk around every corner. Be prepared by booking flights and accommodations well in advance, giving yourself extra time to get to the airport, carefully packing what you need and shipping all your extras. By planning ahead and following the tips above, you’ll be sure to reduce the stress associated with the hectic holiday travel season!

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