A record 107.3 million Americans are expected to travel to grandma’s house or some other destination this holiday season, according to AAA.
Most people will drive, but more travelers will fly because holiday airfares cost nearly 20 percent less than last year and are at a five-year low.
Regardless of your mode of transportation, you’ll probably experience crowds, lines and congestion at airports, on roads and at bus and train stations. Here are three tips to help make traveling jollier this holiday season:
1. The big question for many fliers is whether to wrap gifts that you’ll pack in your luggage.
Transportation Security Administration agents can open wrapped gifts to check what’s inside. It’s especially an issue with checked baggage because you’re not with your luggage at that point in the process. The TSA’s blog says wrapped gifts are allowed, but “not encouraged.”
Tip: Instead, bring wrapping paper, bows and tape with you or buy them when you arrive at your destination.
2. If you’re flying, remember that liquids are limited to 3.4 ounces in a quart-sized plastic bag within carry-on bags. If you have TSA Recheck (it will be printed on your boarding pass), you don’t have to put liquids in a baggie and separate them from the rest of your baggage. There’s no restriction if you pack liquids, such as wine, in a checked bag.
The TSA expands the definition of “liquid” to include aerosols, gels (such as some lip balms), creams (such as lotion) and pastes (such as toothpaste) as liquids in carry-on bags. Medications and infant/child nourishments are exempt from the rule.
Tip: If you must give wine or another liquid as a present, ship it ahead through a mail service or buy it once you arrive at your destination.
3. No matter how you travel during the holidays, space is sure to be a precious commodity. Most airlines charge at least $25 to check a bag and some have tightened their carry-on limits this year. Choose gifts that won’t occupy too much space in your luggage or car.
Tip: Think small, light and easy-to-pack, such as jewelry, socks, winter accessories, electronic gadgets, candy and gift cards.