Many of us live in different areas than the rest of our family. Many of us live several states away from Mom and Dad and there are some of us that require flight time as part of our holiday ritual. For those of us that have to travel to other countries during the holiday season, flying could be tougher than at other times of the year. Here are a few tips for world travel during the holidays.
First of all, keep your smiling face on during your airport experience. In the airport, the employees have all of the answers and they have all of the power. When you are already running late or sense the upcoming delay in your flight, it is easy to lose patience with these scrooges, but keeping your temper in check could be very beneficial. After all, everything that goes wrong in your life is not their fault, it just seems that way at the moment. Keep in mind that being super nice during a not-so-great situation could mean “free upgrade” and being not so nice could result in lost luggage, or even worse, a full body search as you are “randomly” picked out of the line.
If you have the opportunity, fly during off peak hours. It may be a little inconvenient to have to leave out in the middle of the night, but it could mean beating a huge crowd of people in the airport. Plus if you leave your home airport in the middle of the night, after the time differences (or the international date line) you may be arriving at your destination at a great time of day. Better yet, it could be discounted tickets for those “Red-Eye” flights.
Have something to do while you wait. Inevitably, on an international flight, you are going to have some delays here and there. It could be a four hour layover in Denver or a 30 minute wait at the gate for the boarding to begin, but waits are highly likely. If you have something to read or something interesting to keep your mind busy and occupied, those wait times will seemingly be cut in half. Plus, keeping your mind busy helps you to keep you patience, which takes us back to the number one tip of being nice to airport employees.
Keep security in mind. Post 9/11 security has been greatly increased on all flights, both foreign and domestic. In order to keep things moving smoothly, it is best for you to check as much of your baggage as possible and don’t pack things that you know will trigger an alarm of any kind. Wear shoes that are both comfortable and easily removed and replaced. Have all liquids pre-bagged and remove your coats or jackets before prompted. These little things will help speed the security process and keep your patience in check.
Traveling with children could make everything difficult. Keeping them happy is not always the easiest task on your list of things to do on your world travel. Think about how bored and agitated you get while having to wait in lines and in terminals, then how bored you get on the plane, then multiply that by at least 20 ﾐ that is how your kids feel. Keep them occupied with small, quiet toys, coloring books, handheld video games or DVD players, etc. What ever will keep their attention and save your sanity.
Last but definitely not least is to ship your presents. I know it may seem like you could save money by just packing an extra suitcase and putting it on the plane with you, but in the long run, it really will be easier to just ship the gifts to grandma. Ship them several weeks in advance so that you know they get there before you ever leave the states. It is much less likely for the gifts to be lost by the postal services than for them to be lost in the “realm of lost luggage” that we all have heard of.
I hope these tips for world travel during the holidays have helped you to keep in check that temper that you know all too well. Keep in mind that everyone in the airport has a family and friends that they would like to spend the holiday with as well. Keep your attitude merry and bright, and remember, Santa Claus is watching you!