Friday, December 19, 2014

Tips for air-travel during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and many people will be traveling to and from family, friends and holiday destinations all over the world in the upcoming weeks. If you're traveling by plane, and especially if you're traveling by plane with children, there are some tips that can make your journey a little less stressful.

1. Don't wrap the presents
As tempting as it might be to get all your gifts ready before you travel, and packing them all wrapped up with a bow, this could lead to trouble. If you're lucky, no one will open your suitcases or hand-luggage to inspect the contents, but if that does happen, those gifts will most likely be unwrapped. Better to bring everything unwrapped, and maybe stash some gift-labels and maybe even gift-wrap and gift-bags in your luggage instead.

2. Remember the restrictions on liquids in your hand-luggage
Buying perfume, a bottle of wine or other alcoholic beverages at the airport can be tempting not just during the holidays, but please remember the restrictions on carrying liquids in your hand luggage. Otherwise, you might be forced to leave gifts behind.
  • 100 ml (3 ounces) maximum per container, and...
  • ...all those containers must fit inside one (1) 1 liter (1 quart) transparent ziploc plastic bag.
At some airports and on some airlines, you are allowed to bring things like body lotions, perfume and alcohol on board if it the products were purchased in a duty-free shop, and is inside a sealed plastic bag. Ask before you buy to be sure!

3. Be prepared for delays
Delays are unfortunately not uncommon during the holiday season. Snow, ice, hail, fog, storms... all these things can cause shorter or longer delays when you're traveling by plane. If you're traveling with kids, it's a good idea to bring extra supplies of the essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, an extra change of clothes, some extra snacks, and maybe a blanket or two if you need to nap at the airport. Bring a refillable water bottle too!

4. Make it easier to get through security
Long lineups at security checkpoints  drives everyone mental, not just during the holidays. Make things easier on yourself and others by arriving prepared. If possible, don't wear big metal items like big belt buckles and heavy jewelry so you won't set off the metal detectors. Remove laptops from your hand luggage at the x-ray machine (smaller electronics like cell-phones can usually go inside your bag). Make sure those electronics are properly protected in your hand-luggage: neoprene sleeves or similar items are perfect for cell-phones, tablets and laptops.

Also Explain to your kids ahead of time what is going on: some kids can get quite worked up when their bag, jacket or stuffed animal is taken away to go through the x-ray machine. If they know they will get them back, that will usually make things go smoother.

5. Arrive early at the airport
Lots of travelers means long lineups at the check-in counters and at security. Give yourself lots of extra time at the airport, especially if you're traveling with kids: I know my kids do not respond well to last-minute stressful sprints inside the airport! And if you end up with extra time on your hands before your flight: go for a coffee and a snack, or locate the play area. An extra bathroom visit is also a good idea when you're traveling with kids!

6. Charge all your electronics before you go & bring chargers and adapters
These days many of us travel with a lot of different electronic devices: e-readers, laptops, cell phones, and so on. Make sure all your devices are charged before you leave home, and remember to bring all your chargers, as well as any adapters you might need for international travel. Many airports now offer spots where you can charge your electronics, so make use of that if you need to!

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