It’s the biggest travel weekend of the year. Lines of weary travelers snake around the security barriers, toes tapping as yet another traveler readjusts their overweight suitcase at check in….scores of television cameras documenting the scene with ten-second interviews and those of us at home happily watching….thankful we are not in the fray. What happens when your travel plans collide with Thanksgiving weekend???

It’s simple….you plan.

 Ten Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

  • Arrive early. I cannot stress this enough. Arrive extra early. There is nothing worse than standing in line longer than normal stressed to the max because you may now miss your flight. Plan for a leisurely breakfast inside security…bring a book….do some airport shopping…whatever it takes to jazz you enough to arrive early. The lines of inexperienced travelers can be a holiday buzz-kill if your time is too short. Plan on an hour and a half to two hours between your airport arrival and your flight departure.
  • Have a strategy for navigating the TSA line. Plan your clothing. You know (1) you will take off your shoes, (2) you will take off your jacket/coat/vest (3) you will need to remove your liquids neatly packed in a quart sized bag, (4) you will be required to take out your laptop and (5) you will have to go through the scanning machine (unless you opt out of the machine and request a pat down). Plan your traveling clothes.
  • Wear boots or slip on shoes with socks (the floor can get quite cold and lots of feet are walking though the corridor). Unzip your coat and be prepared to remove it remembering this is not the time for multiple, removable layers.
  • Remember all things liquid, aerosol, or pasty must be under 3.4 ounces and in your quart-sized clear bag. Check all non-necessary liquids. Keep prescription medication in their original containers.
  • Consider leaving your laptop behind and instead using a tablet or smart phone. Be selective about your jewelry/belts/pants with metallic designs on the back pockets (put the bling in your carry-on to wear post-security), do not put change or other metallic things in your pocket (leave the pocket knife at home).
  • Keep your carry-on small. Airlines are cracking down on passengers’ carry-on size. Even if your bag is the appropriate size, you may find yourself frantically looking for overhead space when you board the plane (I always seem to find myself in Boarding Group 3). Check your bags when you can.
  • Have sufficient connection time to catch your next flight. Call your travel agent if your flight gets delayed enough where you are in jeopardy of missing your connecting flight—call them before your original flight departs. Remember, most airlines will close their doors ten to fifteen minutes prior to departure so an hour connection time will, in essence, be a 45-minute connection time. Your professional travel agent will be able to assist with a Plan B.
  • And lastly, wear your patient hat. Remember this is the season to be thankful—practice patience and remember that some people may not be seasoned travelers and they may move at a snail’s pace (perhaps being thankful you get the opportunity to travel more often). Tis the season to travel. Proper preparation can prevent panic

As for me…. you’ll find me at the Indianapolis Airport at Harry and Izzys sipping a bloody Mary…watching the hustle and bustle…waiting for my boarding time….reveling in the holiday spirit. Happy Travels.