The holidays make for the busiest travel season as everyone makes their way to see friends and family. Wherever you go, you can expect long commutes, long lines, and large crowds. As one of the most stressful times of the year, a little planning and a positive attitude can help you survive holiday travel at the airport. We’ve provided a few tips on how to conquer holiday travel to save you time and help reduce stress.


Instead of waiting to pick up your boarding pass at the airport, try checking in ahead of time, online, or on your mobile. Most airlines open flight check-in 24 hours before departure, and you still get to pick the seat you want. Take advantage of this and skip the lines at the airport and the potential of getting stuck in a less desirable seat or being bumped if you show up late. (Download your airline's app on your mobile for check-in, flight updates, and inflight entertainment)


Leave earlier than you think you should even if you’ve checked-in online. Don’t worry about being too early. It’s better to be waiting a long time before your departure, at least you will be through security and can take your time getting to your gate, grab a bite to eat and unwind. The goal should be getting to your destination with as little stress as possible. It’s recommended that domestic fliers arrive at least two hours ahead of time and three hours for international flights.


Given the time of year, with overcrowded airports and lousy weather, you can expect long security lines, unexpected delays, and even canceled flights. Don't worry, deep breaths; it will all work out.

  • Plan accordingly! Have only 45 mins between connecting flights? Leave extra time between flights, an hour plus to deal with security, delayed flights, or gate changes. No one wants to pull off an episode of the fantastic race running from one end of the airport to the other trying to make their flight. Been there, done that, and it's far from fun!
  • Come prepared with your airline's phone number readily accessible to avoid standing in line with hundreds of other stranded travelers. Call them the second you encounter a delay or cancellation.


Unless your TSA approved, you would have to remove your shoes, belt, and jacket, among other items.

  • Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on.
  • Avoid wearing big metal items such as jewelry or belt, but if you must, be sure to remove them before you get in line and go through the scanner.


All electronics must be removed from your bags. Avoid holding up the line and frustration, trying to find electronics in your bags.

  • Take your electronics out ahead of time.
  • Remember, your laptop must be placed in a separate bin.


Avoid the unnecessary stress of trying to park in an overcrowded lot. With a plethora of transportation options

  • have someone drive you;
  • call an Uber or;
  • take a taxi or car service.

You will thank yourself for this – especially for those that live in a cold city, and you do away with having to scrape off snow, ice, or getting into a cold car when you arrive home again. Oh, and let’s not forget, having to find your vehicle in the parking lot in the middle of a snowstorm.


Save yourself some time and stress, avoid checking bags if you can. This means no waiting in lines to drop your luggage off, no lost luggage or paying additional fees for checked bags. Know the carry-on restrictions and be familiar with the liquids rule for carry-on bags. Make sure your carry-on is of the appropriate size and that all liquids are in a separate bag, ready to be removed during the scanning process. This will make the check-in process will be that much faster.


Topics: Air Traffic Control Towers