While the McCallister family in Home Alone took forgetting something valuable (like their eight-year-old son Kevin) to a whole new level, wouldn’t it be nice to remember everything, down to your toothbrush? Whether you’re headed back to your hometown to visit family or jetting off to Paris, we hope these travel tips make getting there a whole lot smoother.
1. Pack ahead.
If the idea of packing stresses you out, start early. If the idea of packing doesn’t stress you out, start early. Having a checklist of important items you know you need or want to take like medications, chargers, headphones, tablets, and the like will help ensure you don’t forget anything important.
2. Pack light.
If you are a notorious over-packer and never wear or use all of the items you bring, this is your chance to downsize. Think in terms of a capsule wardrobe of items that mix, match, and can go the distance with you. Not only will it be fewer items to keep track of during your trip, but you’ll have extra room for items to come back with you.
3. Brings snacks.
Save money. Save calories. Save time. And, most importantly, save your sanity. No one wants to deal with holiday mishaps on an empty stomach. Pack some treats for you and your fellow travelers, especially kids, and you’ll thank yourself later.
4. Leave early. Like, a lot early.
It’s no surprise that everything is busier during the holidays: traffic, parking, security screening, getting to your gate… If you’re flying, give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Parking at the airport? Make sure you check ahead of time which parking lots are open.
5. Ship the gifts.
If you are traveling with gifts, it may be easier (and in some cases, cheaper) to ship them straight to your destination. If you do decide to fly with gifts, it may be a good idea to wrap them after you arrive—or at least after you get through security. In the event your gift needs to be examined, TSA would not be able to rewrap it.
6. Check the weather.
Bad weather is a bummer and can cause serious delays whether driving to the airport or flying to your destination. If you’re experiencing bad weather or flying somewhere that has bad weather, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your flight status for any delays or gate changes.
7. Download the myTSA app.
From favoriting your favorite (or most used) airports to finding out security wait times (based on maximum historical wait times within a range), your app gives you easy access to a wealth of information like what you can pack, FAQs, weather info, and delays. In addition, you can use the app to contact TSA.
8. Consider TSA PreCheck.
If the idea of long security lines already has you sweating your holiday travel, you may want to consider TSA PreCheck. Just do it soon. Per TSA, while some applications can take up to 60 days, many receive approval in about 3-5 days.