6 Common Holiday Travel Mistakes to Avoid

We all know how rough it can be to battle airport crowds on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, or fight through traffic on the drive to visit family across California. But have you ever wondered why holiday travel is so stressful? In part, it’s due to the unintentional mistakes people make.

If you’d like your travels to be a little less bumpy this holiday season, here’s what you should avoid doing:

  1. Waiting too long to buy airfare
    Many people think if they wait, fares will drop just before the holidays. But a CheapAir.com analysis of more than 300 million airfares from 2013 showed that the “fire sale” you’re hoping for isn’t likely to happen. So look for your holiday airfares now. The analysis also found that prices start to rise significantly in early November.
  2. Traveling on peak days
    It makes sense to travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and come home the Sunday after. But that’s what everybody does. If you can adjust your schedule and find non-peak days to fly or drive, you’ll save a lot of stress, and maybe even some money.
  3. Flying with a ton of gifts
    It seems like everyone is loaded down over the holidays. Remember, the lighter you can travel, the easier it will be. Ship gifts ahead of time or wait until you arrive at your destination to buy them. If you must carry gifts on your flight, don’t wrap them. Security agents might open them during a search.
  4. Failing to reserve airport parking
    Airport parking lots fill up at busy times, and private lots do, too. People who just show up and hope to find a spot might be in for an unpleasant surprise – and a lot of circling around. Be smart and make a parking reservation ahead of time.
  5. Forgetting insurance
    Travel insurance, which can protect you against flight cancellations and trip interruptions, isn’t always necessary. Many people don’t even consider it. However, if you’ve spent a lot on airfare and hotel rooms, that coverage could make a big difference.
  6. Not Having a Plan B
    You’ve seen the people who aren’t prepared when things go sideways. They’re waiting in line at the airline counter or sitting on the side of the road because they didn’t bring snow chains. It doesn’t have to be that way. Always think ahead about what you need for bad weather, flight cancellations, road closures and more.

Everyone’s human, and we all make mistakes. Avoid the ones here, and you’ll be in much better shape than most of your fellow holiday travelers.

Enjoy the coming festivities and be safe!

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Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.

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