To all you road warriors dreading your holiday travel this month: fear not. Although traveling a great distance the day before Thanksgiving ranks just above “insert bamboo shoots in fingernails” and just behind “sitting through an entire off-Broadway rendition of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ starring Steve Urkel” on anyone’s list of desires, here are some surefire ways to reduce the airport stress.
DO NOT – and I can’t stress this enough – DO NOT be so foolish as to attempt to fly on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. You will not get a seat, and if you do get a seat it will cost a month’s worth of paychecks to obtain it.
Fly out on Thanksgiving morning instead, as early as possible. The flight will not be uber-expensive and you will arrive at your in-laws in time to receive your usual barrage of insults and dry turkey. On the journey home, fly back on Friday afternoon on an empty plane and arrive home with plenty of time to enjoy your weekend.
Preparing for the flight is just as important as navigating the airport on the day-of. First, check-in for your flight and print your boarding pass the night before, no sense wasting time at the kiosks or customer services desks when those headaches can easily be avoided.
Second, do NOT wrap any presents you may be bringing as airport security will need to rip apart and analyze if any foil or metal trips their machines. Obviously, due to new rules and regulations you must have your three ounce liquids neatly placed in a clear plastic bag when going through security. Try not to bury this bag in your luggage so it’s a chore to find!
Lastly, be sure to properly add ID tags to your luggage to ensure swift movement through security and baggage claim.
Experienced travelers know all the moves that make moving through the airport efficient and stress-free. Although these ancient secrets may seem shrouded in mystery, they actually just utilize common sense. If you have no baggage to check, avoid busy hallways and entrances by going IN to the airport through the Arrivals level and go upstairs to find your gate by Departures. When you arrive at your destination, do the opposite by leaving the airport through the Departures area.
Try to avoid busy airports by utilizing less-heralded, nearby ones instead. Providence instead of Boston Logan, Milwaukee instead of Chicago O’Hare, Oakland instead of San Francisco, or even Flint instead of Detroit. Also, choosing connecting flights will bring costs down significantly, so give up the dream of the non-stop flight to save some cash.
So if you plan to travel via plane this Thanksgiving, utilize these tips and do some more extensive research to keep stress levels down, and tryptophan levels up.
Matt Moretti is a Project Manager at Mom Central Consulting and on Thanksgiving can be found snoozing on the couch, listening to the sweet sounds of American tackle football.