During this holiday season, many businesses will shut down while their employees travel to see friends and family. As a frequent holiday traveler myself, allow me to share some of my travel knowledge and experience with you that I have gained over the years. Here are 14 tips that will help you be a savvy traveler this holiday season.
- Schedule Early Flights: Scheduling your flights early in the day allows time to reschedule in the same day if your original flight is delayed or canceled. Otherwise, you may find yourself arriving at your destination a day or days later.
- Carry-on Only: With luggage fees becoming the norm, carry-on is the best way to travel. It is also the best way to guarantee that your luggage arrives at your destination along with you. Also consider the fact that in adverse weather conditions, your checked bag may sit out in that weather as it’s waiting to board the plane.
- Ship Gifts Ahead Of Time: By shipping your gifts to your destination ahead of time you eliminate the need to travel with them. You can always insure your shipment and give TSA one less reason to rifle through your luggage. If you buy gifts online, plan ahead and ship from the merchant straight to your destination.
- Do Not Go To The Airport Hungry: Given the stress of holiday travel and the prices of airport food, arrive at the airport with full stomachs and some snacks to spare. This is one less thing you will need to take care of as you wait for your flights and will serve to keep the spirits of even the youngest travelers high.
- Do Splurge On Airline Lounge: While $50 for an airline lounge may seem extravagant, it might just pay off. These lounges feature food, drink, WiFi and may even include showers. If you are traveling with young children, the lounge may be free for them. Consider what you might have spent on airport food and it may just prove to be worth it.
- Dress Up. Not Down: I believe that I am actually treated better at the airport when I dress nicely. By wearing my suit coat and button down shirt I am also keeping them from getting wrinkled in my bag.
- Optimize Sleep: When I am not traveling with children who need to be monitored, I pack a sleeping mask. Couple that with noise-canceling headphones and an ambient noise app on my phone and I sleep like a baby.
- When Traveling Abroad, Use The ATM At Your Destination: If you need cash at your international destination, it is best to withdraw it from an ATM when you arrive. Yes there will be fees for this, but the exchange rate and fees should be more favorable through your bank than they will be at the airport currency exchange counter.
- Use Credit Cards As Much As Possible: Use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which can be as much as 3%. Also consider the fact that most credit cards offer some level of protection if your purchase is damaged or stolen.
- Get A Local SIM Card When You Arrive: Avoid steep roaming charges with a local SIM card and forward your Phone.com calls to that number for a fraction of the cost. Take a look at our Low International Rates before you travel.
- Reserve The Lowest Acceptable Rental Car: When you arrive at your destination, ask what upgrades are available and you may very likely get one for free. This also works at hotels when asking for a room upgrade but keep in mind that availability might be scarce given the peak travel time.
- Utilize The Hotel Concierge: If you are planning a fancy dinner or want tickets to a show, the concierge at your hotel can be a terrific resource to help you find the best deal.
- Join Loyalty Programs: Join your preferred airline frequent flyer club as well as rental car and hotel loyalty programs. If the option is available, funnel all of those points and miles toward your airline miles.
- Be Kind: Above all else, remember to be kind while you travel. As you speak with anyone behind a desk or counter, remember that delays and crowds are not their fault. By being kind, you ensure that you will receive the best possible service in even the most difficult of times. In such circumstances, it never hurts to politely ask for a free travel voucher or hotel room.
On that note, we wish you safe, on-time and worry-free travels this holiday season. Remember that Phone.com is here to serve you 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Happy Holidays!