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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Holiday Travel Tips

By Catherine Powell

      Now that Halloween has come and gone, it’s that time of year when the holidays kick into overdrive as we prepare to travel to be with our loved ones.  If you’re preparing to take an airline flight between now and the New Year, there are some things you need to know if you want to reduce the stresses of traveling to and from your destination.  Below are ten tips to help you get where you’re going without gritting your teeth. 

      1.      Do you know which travel days to avoid? – Even though the industry is still lagging behind the pace of travel set in 2019, there’s expected to be an increase of 70-80% over travel last year.  That being said, there are certain travel days that can be expected to be busier than all the others.  If you can avoid traveling on November 24, 27 & 28, as well as December 23 & 26 you can avoid the worst of the holiday travel crunch.

      2.      If you have yet to book your holiday flight, now is the time. – Holiday flights should be booked 1-2 months in advance if you want to get the best deals.  If you want to save even more in terms of money and stress, consider booking flights on less popular days, like November 22 and December 21.   Booking a flight on Sunday can also save you up to 30% over busier travel days.  It also helps to download third-party travel apps that compare airline fares, like Kayak or Hopper.

      3.      Consider taking the earliest flight of the day. While you may have to get up with the chickens to catch the first flight of the day, this tactic guarantees shorter TSA lines, not to mention it will hedge your bet against your flight being cancelled or delayed.

      4.      Avoid notoriously crowded airports. One of the best ways to reduce the hassle of departing from a crowded airport is to consider booking your trip from an alternate airport.  While flights or connections in Miami are sure to be jam packed, those at Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach offer far smaller crowds and possibly lower cost in the bargain.

      5.      Do you hate standing in long security lines? – If you hate to wait for TSA screening, not to mention the indignity of having to remove your shoes, you can pay to play.  That’s because TSA offers three services designed to expedite the security screening nightmare.  Called PreCheck, Clear and Global Entry, these paid services rely on biometric technology to verify your identity.  For $85-$179 per person, depending on the product chosen, you’ll be assigned a Known Traveler Number (KTN). Once you enter your KTN, the TSA PreCheck logo will appear on your boarding pass.  This makes you eligible for expedited security screening at airports in the US.  If you’re traveling abroad, Global Entry provides expedited entry into the US at more than 50 airports.  There’s also a Mobile Passport app that can help you speed through customs at more than 30 US airports.  To learn more, click on this link

      6.      Keep your eyes on the forecast. – If you plan on flying to northern destinations, you need to know in advance if snow or ice is in the forecast.  If not, you may find yourself waiting at the airport for a flight that could be substantially delayed or even cancelled.  If you know bad weather is on the way, many airlines will allow you to postpone your scheduled flight to a later date for no additional charge.

      7.       Need to rent a car at your destination? – Consider booking a refundable rate now.  This way you’ll have a guaranteed ride while being able to keep checking for better rates between now and your departure date.  The closer it gets to the holidays the more likely rental car rates will rise.

      8.      Double check airline travel requirements? – Due to COVID-19, airlines may require you to prove that you’ve been inoculated or have recently been tested for the Coronavirus.  They may also require you to wear a mask while on board a flight.  Check with your airline of choice as well as with the US Dept. of State’s website for air travel requirements.

      9.      Know and understand cancellation policies before you book a flight, rent a car, or make a hotel reservation. – If your travel plans should suddenly get derailed by a last-minute illness, you’ll need to know what you can do to avoid getting billed for a trip you no longer plan to take.  If possible, always choose an option that allows you to cancel a reservation without penalty, even if it costs you a few dollars more to do so.

      10.  Consider purchasing travel insurance. – One way to avoid taking a financial bath should a family member contract COVID is to purchase trip cancellation insurance that covers prepaid travel expenses if your family can no longer take the trip due to exposure to the Coronavirus.  Some of these policies also provide coverage for medical bills and medical evacuation should a member of your family be diagnosed with COVID-19 while on vacation.

Catherine Powell is owner of A Plus All Florida Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more ways to protect you and yours on the water, check out her website at


  1. Nothing dampens your holiday spirit faster than spending part of it stuck at the airport.

  2. I just love the thoughtful travel tips. They can may my life easy when traveling during the holidays.


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