TYS & Beyond: Tips for Traveling this Holiday Season

Though the notion that the holidays are the busiest travel season of the year has technically been debunked, we’re still reticent to book a flight November through December – no matter the destination. And we’re certainly guilty of letting the thought of long lines filled with less-than-seasoned travelers, delayed flights, and the threat of lost baggage temper our eagerness to head for warmer (or even cooler) climes.

So, we turned to the Volume 6 jet-setter and luxury travel planner Alexandra Stockton to talk holiday travel stress and how to overcome it. Earlier this year, Alex shared tips for summer travel, many of which apply to holiday jaunts, too. From booking to packing, she shares her tips for staying sane – if not festive – as you travel in the upcoming weeks.

Opt for an early morning flight. Not only is it less likely that your flight will be cancelled or delayed in the wee hours of the morning (delayed planes can have a domino effect throughout the day), you’ll also increase your chances of catching another flight should it be. Booking an early flight is particularly important when flying out of airports with a limited number of daily flights (think: smaller airports like TYS) or catching a connecting flight. Doing so increases the likelihood that there will be another flight you can catch that day, rather than getting stuck in an airport overnight after missing the last connecting flight to your destination.

Give yourself even more time at the airport. The holidays see more people traveling than usual, which means longer lines. Plan accordingly by adding 30 to 40 minutes to your typical airport routine to ensure you have ample time. Checking a bag? Remember that airlines require you to check bags at least 60 minutes before departure time for international flights and 45 minutes before domestics flight. So, plan accordingly to avoid getting stuck in a long baggage check line and missing the cut-off.

That said, avoid checking a bag when possible. Packing light will help you avoid long baggage lines and eliminate stressing over whether your bag will arrive . If you simply must check a bag, follow these tips:

Always pack your medicines, luxury goods, and must-have items in your carry-on incase your checked luggage is lost or delayed. Headed to the beach? Stash a bathing suit and cover-up in your carry-on, too.

Remove stickers and tags from previous trips to eliminate potential confusion about your bag’s destination.

Attach a luggage tag that lists your name, cell phone number, and email address. Consider adding a piece of paper with the same information inside your bag should your tag fall off.

Place an Apple AirTag inside your luggage, and remember to connect the tag to your phone before handing off your luggage. This allows you to track the physical location of your bag, which can be used to help the airline locate your bag.

For additional peace of mind, purchase a policy on Blue Ribbon Bag. BRB tracks and expedites the return of undelivered baggage for every flight, everywhere. If your bag cannot be located within 96 hours, Blue Ribbon will compensate you up to $2000 (depending on the service you purchased per bag).

Be kind to airport staff. They are forgoing holidays with family, yet are often faced with unnecessary hostility from travelers. Remember, the person working the desk is not why your flight was delayed. Being kind or extending a holiday greeting goes a long way – both for their sanity and yours!

Plan ahead! If you’re considering a trip for Christmas or New Years, start planning nine to eleven months prior. In fact, it’s best to reach out to your travel advisor mid to late January to allow them to secure the best rates and availability for you. This is especially important for families who want connecting room options, larger suites, and affordable options, as these are the first to be booked! This applies to other popular travel times, like Spring Break.

Start planning your next vacation with the help of Alex Stockton. As well-connected as she is well-travelled, Alex will secure you and your family the most fabulous and personalized experience. To start the process, reach out to her here. Don’t forget to tell her Scout sent you!

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