Traveling by air these days is rarely fun. Traveling during the holidays can be an outright hassle. Here are some tips that will make this holiday season's travel woes a little less complicated and much more enjoyable.

Pack Small for Carry-On
Today, almost every airline has a fee for checking your bags.  Remember that carry-on bags are limited in size and with a growing backlash from frequent flyers that play by the rules the airlines will be stepping up enforcement of carry-on bag sizes.

2.  Luggage
Most likely you will still have to check one bag for each of you. OK, but try not to make it two or that second bag will really cost you. The good news is that the weight of the bag you check can be up to 50 pounds for US travel without incurring an overweight fee.  

Do not carry wrapped gifts in carry-on luggage, as gifts may need to be inspected at security check points and in some instances they will be unwrapped.  Either check gifts or leave them unwrapped and accessible.   If the gift is not valuable, or not of a common nature like an electronic item etc. consider packing them in your suitcase whether it is checked or not. Expensive items like jewelry, electronics, etc., should be carried on board preferably in your suitcase to minimize items.

Use a TSA Lock
For every checked piece of luggage you should use a TSA approved lock. They are readily available at office supply, travel and department stores. They provide you with the ability to set a combination and the TSA with the ability to open it with a master key in case they need to inspect it. Don't be intimidated if the airline agent at check-in tells you luggage needs to be unlocked. It doesn't. Just say you have a TSA lock and things will be fine.

Secure Advance Seat Assignments
Most airlines on most US flights allow you to pick your seat assignments at the time you buy your ticket. Take advantage of this because planes will fill up for the holiday and you and your loved ones traveling with you may be scattered all over the plane. Often times it is not possible to get all the seat assignments you want in one location in the cabin.  

6.  When Things Don't Go According to Plan
Inevitably, holiday travel will bring out some nasty delays as weather and the exceptional number of people traveling strain the system. Bring some snack bars in case your flight is delayed or you miss your connection. When planning your route, if it involves a connection don't chose the connection with a tight connection of an hour or less. If your inbound flight is delayed you and/or your bags stand a good chance of missing your connecting flight and with flights expected to be full your chances of getting on the next flight are slim at best. Many times there are more than one connecting flights, however websites and travel agents may only offer you the one with the shortest connection time. Ask if there is a later connection to give you more time and less anxiety. 

7.  Copies of Travel Information
Keep copies of your travel information in a safe place. It is wise to have copies with you in case the originals are lost. The holiday season means that most offices function on a skeleton staff, so replacements may take more time than you have. Also, do not forget to carry photo identification with you; a driver's license as well as a passport may sometimes avoid unnecessary delays.  

Air travel is still the most reliable and quickest way to get to your holiday destination. A few common sense tricks to keep in mind can also make it less stressful and more enjoyable. 

Have a good flight...and a great holiday!

To save money on your airfare be flexible, keep current on airfares, explore all your routing options and look at all the ways frequent flyer miles can be redeemed. And remember that Emme Travels will always give you the best deals keeping you and your comfort in mind.