Holiday Air Travel Tips For Christmas and The 2016 New Year

Nowadays, families tend to be scattered all over the country, so to go “home” for the holidays, it involves getting on a plane, which is no simple task anymore. Planes are getting larger, but the seating areas are getting smaller, so unless you can afford to fly first class, even a short flight can seem long when you are cramped into an economy or business class seat.

Then there is the matter of luggage
. Gone are the days when a person’s ticket included checking two bags and bringing a carry-on. Now, most airlines charge to check your bags and they are very strict about the size of the carry on you bring. A carry-on can be no more than 22” x 14” x 9”. I have something called a “Business Traveler Case” which is made to be a combination overnight bag as well as laptop carrier. Technically, the case meets those measurements, but when the wheels are added in, it goes over, and on most flights I’ve taken it, I’ve been forced to check it. This is a Samsonite bag designed to be a carry-on. Planes are making the overhead space smaller and smaller, and airlines are becoming very strict about carry-on bags being meeting the dimensions above.

One special exception women have is their purse. That doesn’t count as a carry-on, and many women carry large purses these days. So women have a slight edge, because we can pack our purses full of all kinds of things. Keep in mind though that anything in bottles must be a certain size. If you put travel size products in your purse or carry-on, you should be ok. Just remember, if you use a carry-on, keep it within those measurements.

What should you pack in your carry-on? A change of clothes, and anything that you couldn’t easily replace should the airline lose your checked luggage. This would include all medications, although if you are a woman, I would recommend putting those medications in your purse. Also remember, medication must be in the original bottle with your name on it from the pharmacy or you won’t be able to bring it on the plane. Normal size bottles can be packed in checked luggage, however, I recommend putting them in zip lock bags, just in case they should leak or break.

The biggest issue when traveling by air during the holidays is packing your gifts.
That’s why you will likely need to check at least one bag, mostly for the gifts you will be bringing. If the item is expensive or electronic, try to fit it into your carry-on, otherwise fit them into your checked luggage. It’s not recommended that you wrap your gifts prior to you arriving at your destination. If the TSA for some reason decides to inspect your luggage, they might unwrap the gift, and you would just have to re-wrap. The good news is that checked luggage has a weight limit of up to fifty pounds. Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched and if you can just one extra pair of shoes. This will leave the rest of the room in your checked luggage for your gifts.

Also remember, when traveling during the holidays, there are bigger chances for delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Since it is very common to have one or more connections to get the best price on airfare, give yourself extra time just in case there is some delay. We all like to have the quickest connection, but the last thing you need during the holidays is to miss your connecting flight and end up on stand-by or worse, have your checked luggage with all your gifts miss the connecting flight and you and your luggage don’t both make it to your final destination.

Basically, when flying during the holidays, always prepare for delays and pack in a way that makes it easiest for you to get through security. If you expect delays and don’t have any, then it’s a happy surprise instead of a disappointment.