Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Holiday Vacation - airline tickets header graphic

Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Holiday Vacation

As crowds are bigger and delays longer, traveling to the Caribbean during the holiday season can sometimes be difficult. When traveling during the holiday season, you will find that most of the delays confronting you involve the airport. Most of these troubles can be avoided, however, with a little preparation. You must organize all the details of your vacation, especially your air travel, before you depart to prevent any unwanted surprises. Here are some important travel tips to spare you some headaches on your holiday Caribbean vacation.

Before you even drive to the airport, consider public transportation as airport parking lots fill up quickly during the holidays. If you live far from your airport, a one night stay in an airport hotel might offer extended parking.

To streamline line your air travel, research the check-in procedures for your airline as most offer both online check-in and printable boarding passes. You can also use the curbside check-in at the airport or self-service kiosks to avoid the lines at the counter. To anticipate how long you will need to clear security at the airport, check the Transportation Security Administration's website ( While the times listed on the site are daily and hourly averages that don t account for holiday travel, you can assume that the wait will be at least as long as a Friday evening.

Make sure that you also review the current rules for carry-on luggage. Though the ban on liquids in carry-on luggage was lifted in September, travelers are still only allowed to pack travel-size toiletry items 3 ounces or less in their carry-on luggage. All of these travel-size bottles and containers must be stored within a clear, one-quart zip-top bag for screening. However, if you don t need any of these items on your flight to the Caribbean, you can place any size toiletry item or liquid in your checked bags.

If you plan on renting a car on your Caribbean vacation, remember that most car rental companies anticipate a 20% rate of no-shows. During the holiday travel season, the resultant overbooking could leave you without a vehicle. While it is advised to arrive at the rental counter by the early afternoon, you can also call ahead to confirm your reservation. If you are enrolled in an express check-in program, take advantage of your status and skip the long lines.

If you are still making plans for a holiday Caribbean vacation, try your best to be flexible. Try to book flights that depart in the early morning or late evening as prices will be lower. Also, selecting a flight on a holiday like Christmas or New Year s Day will offer you a considerable discount, as crowds tend to fly on the days before and after the holidays.

To prevent one of the biggest delays of all, aim for a nonstop flight. If you can t make it to your Caribbean destination without a connecting flight, try to avoid connections in northern U.S. cities like Chicago as weather grounds many flights in the winter months. Instead, fly through Phoenix, Dallas or another southern city to avoid any unnecessary delay.

Another great travel tip for the holidays is programming the numbers of your airline, car rental company, hotel and other travel contacts into your cell phone. In the event that you are delayed getting to your Caribbean destination, you will be prepared to make arrangements.

Lastly, as you will probably want to bring plenty of gifts home from the Caribbean, remember not to wrap them until you get home so they can be inspected by airport security. Also, keep all of the valuable or fragile gifts in your carry-on luggage to ensure that they aren t damaged during handling.

By following travel tips as simple as these and being prepared for the crowds, you are sure to have a successful holiday Caribbean vacation.

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