The holidays are full of cheer, festivities, and yes, traveling. While it’s great to see family and friends over the season, most people dread going to the airport or sitting in traffic. But, these winter travel tips can help!
Let’s look at a few tips to help older adults travel this season, including how to pack like a pro, how to save money on your flights and hotels, and how to avoid any pitfalls during this busy time of year.
Winter Travel Tips: How to Pack Like a Pro
There are few things worse than traveling for the holidays and having to lug around a big, heavy suitcase (not to mention expensive checked bag fees!). Save money and hassle by packing light and only including the essentials. Here are some tips:
- Choose a hard-shelled suitcase for winter travel to protect your things from rain, snow, and other elements
- Pack articles of clothing you can wear for multiple occasions, such as a few nice sweaters that you can wear to dinner or out on adventures
- Use packing cubes to save space and organize your suitcase
- Pack items that can be combined using the “rule of 3s”: each piece should be able to make three different outfit combinations
- If you do check a bag, don’t forget to keep all your medications in your carry-on and have them with you at all times
Winter Travel Tips: How to Save Money on Flights and Hotels
Hotels and airlines have been known to spike up their prices around the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay more for your trip. Here are some tips on how to save money on your flight and hotels:
- Take advantage of senior discounts. You can find discounts on things like cruises, car rentals, hotels, trains, and more
- Book your flights at least three weeks in advance
- If possible, leave and return in the middle of the week. Usually flights are cheaper on Wednesdays and Thursdays
- The busiest (and most expensive) travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Friday before Christmas
- Look for bundle discounts. Sometimes you can save money by booking your flight, hotel, and rental car all at the same time
- Do your research and use sites like Kayak, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Google Flights to compare prices
Winter Travel Tips: Avoid Busy Travel Mistakes
There’s no denying it – the airports and roads will be busy during the holidays. But, there are some things you can do to avoid a few of the potential headaches:
- Try to book non-stop flights whenever possible. Most of the delays or missed flights happen during connecting flights
- Get to the airport extra early. 2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights should give you plenty of time
- Take a taxi or rideshare to the airport instead of trying to find parking. Apps like Uber and Lyft make it easy to catch a ride
- Use technology to stay up to date on your flight status. Apps like FlightStats offer information on gate changes, delays, real-time updates, and more
- Bring your own food to the airport to avoid long lines and overpriced bites. You can take prepared food through security!
- Check into your flight online before you get to the airport to avoid check in lines
- If you’re driving, avoid leaving on the most popular days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Instead, leave the day before. If you need to leave on popular days, try to drive early in the morning or late at night
There’s nothing like spending some quality time with family and friends during the holiday season, but traveling can be a bit of a headache if you don’t plan ahead. Luckily, these winter travel tips can help you pack better, save money, and avoid travel pitfalls. Spend more time with family and less time stressing about your travels this holiday season.