If you’re traveling over the holidays this year, we’ve got the sanity savers you need to get to your destination without flying off the deep end.

Christmas getaway Christmas town, or visiting family? You’re not alone. According to Chris Davidson of travel research company MMGY Global, 53 percent of adults in the United States are making plans to travel in the next three months. And, says online travel resource Hopper, the TSA is anticipating around two million travelers each day over the Christmas travel period, which is double 2020’s levels. Of course, when it comes to celebrating Christmas, it’s worth it—but you do need some holiday travel tips to make things as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Take the earliest flight of the day
The holidays are a notoriously difficult time to fly, says Molly Fergus, general manager of TripSavvy. Winter weather and peak crowds mean that one cancellation can cascade down to multiple other flights. Even worse, bad weather in a busy airport like JFK or O’Hare can ripple throughout the whole country and impact millions. The best holiday travel tip to hedge against canceled or delayed flights is to book the very first flight of the morning, Fergus says: “It’s unpleasant, sure, but you won’t have to worry about your plane getting stuck at another airport and delaying—or altogether canceling—your flight.”

Book early
This holiday and winter travel season is poised to set records. As such, experts are urging travelers to begin planning now, as hotel and flight costs are rapidly rising. Travel booking site Hopper recommends booking both Thanksgiving and Christmas travel no later than Halloween, after which airfare is expected to increase by 40 percent.

Choose the right travel date for the best deal
Choosing the right day for holiday travel is important, too. According to Hopper, the cheapest day to fly for Thanksgiving is Monday, November 22. For Christmas travel, the magic date for the best deals is Tuesday, December 21.
The worst time to set off on your holiday trip this year? Priceline reports that one of the busiest days to travel will be the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 24. Some other dates to add to that list: the Wednesday before Christmas, December 22, and the Tuesday between Christmas and New Year’s, December 28. Leaving a day or two early and staying a day later can save you a lot of money and time spent in transit. Or consider flying on the holiday itself, when air traffic is lighter and prices are lower. Celebrating with some extra special Christmas Eve traditions can make up for traveling on the big day.

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. In Southern Florida, for example, flights into Miami may be full, but less than an hour north are Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach airports, which both offer flights around the country and may have additional seating and lower prices than the larger hub.

*Article from Reader’s Digest
*Written by Melissa Klurman

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