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1. Book early
Last-minute bookers pay 15 percent more than travelers who reserve in advance.
2. Work with a travel agent
Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits and help you avoid travel mistakes. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
3. Be flexible
If your schedule permits, avoid peak travel days. Leaving a day or two early and staying a day later can save you a lot of money and time spent in transit.
4. Watch the weather
Even if the weather is fine in your part of the country, keep an eye on your destination, and remember that when there’s a weather event that impacts some of the country’s busiest airports, the effects ripple out all over the country.
5. Consider alternate airports
One way to beat the crowds and cut down stress during the holidays is to fly in and out of airports that are traditionally less crowded.
6. Download travel apps
Before you head to the airport, load up your mobile phone with helpful travel apps, including the one for your airline. Other apps to download: a hotel booking option, a car rental company option, and airport maps.
7. Ace security
You never know when you’re going to get flagged by the TSA. You can save yourself a lot of time and security line headaches by applying for TSA Precheck.
8. Pack smart
Never pack anything you can’t live without in your checked baggage; medicine, mobile phone, and glasses are all items that should always be in your carry-on bag.
9. Have a plan for delays and cancellations
There are a few things you want to do simultaneously if your flight is extremely delayed or canceled. Get in line to talk to a gate agent, but also try using the airline app you downloaded to make changes on your own. Social media accounts are often staffed with troubleshooters who can put you in touch with the correct department for help.
10. Pack some patience
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for travel, so expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.