But some extra planning and preparation may help you cut back on the holiday travel hassles and increase the odds of reaching your destination on schedule.
Before you get to the airport
If possible, pack light and carry your luggage on board. That way you can print your boarding pass in advance, head straight to the security checkpoint, and avoid paying checked baggage fees. And you won’t have to wait at baggage claim.
It’s a good idea to mail your gifts in advance if it’s not too expensive. But if you want to carry them in your luggage, wait to wrap them until you reach your destination, as wrapped items may be opened for inspection.
And just in case you get stuck at an airport, make sure you put everything you’ll need for the next 24 hours in your carry-on — including clothing and medication — as you may not have access to your checked baggage.
The Transportation Security Administration recommends packing your carry-on as neatly as possible so it will be easier to screen, with separate layers for clothes, electronics and toiletries.
Although the TSA tries to add more screeners during peak holiday travel times, arrive early and prepare for longer lines.
Also, get yourself, and everybody else, through the security checkpoints a little quicker by remembering the following:
— Liquids, gels or aerosols must be in containers 3 ounces or less and should fit in a quart-size, zip-top bag. Remove the bag from your luggage at the checkpoint so it can be screened separately.
— Remove all metal from your pockets, including coins and cell phones, along with belt buckles.
Take off your shoes and coat.
— Remove large electronics, including laptops and portable DVD players, from your carry-on and place in a separate bin.
Monitor weather reports and check the OrbitzTLC Traveler Update site for real-time weather, traffic and tips from fellow travelers about airport conditions across the country. It also features the OrbitzTLC Flying Forecast, featuring the Orbitz air-traffic analysts’ provide round-the-clock updates on delayed flights across the country.
If it looks like wintry weather may be an issue, consider departing early or postponing your travel. Airlines often will allow travelers to reschedule their flights without paying a rebooking fee when major snowstorms disrupt travel.
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