You’re stressed out as it is. You didn’t get all your shopping done, you have to navigate the so called “Friendly Skies” and Aunt Celia expects you to be wearing that hideous sweater she got you last year when she picks you up at the airport. Here are a few tips that the so-called experts won’t tell you.
The TSA advises not to travel with wrapped gifts. Why their x-ray machines can see right through every material made by man except wrapping paper is beyond me, but that’s what they say. Some experts advise you shop at the airport. Some experts are idiots too. Save yourself some dough: blame it all on the airlines. You can always say you bought everybody such nice gifts, packed them in an extra suitcase and of course, they lost your bag.
There are many apps available to help with your travel. That’s assuming, unlike me, you are smart enough to have a smart phone. Flightstats gives you up-dates on delays, departure times and just how long you have to nap in that comfy airport chair. Gateguru will give you info on security lines and tell you that yes, your gate is the farthest one away on the concourse.
We all know about baggage fees and even though we’re not too happy about it, they aren’t going away. If you are carrying-on, get on that plane as soon as you can. Your fellow travelers are packing as much as possible into their carry-ons so the overhead bins will fill quickly. If they run out of room, they can make you check that carry-on at the gate and possibly charge you. With a little practice and a scale, you too can pack 49.99 lbs. of stuff into a checked bag. This is just one other reason to blow-off the presents.
Timing is Everything
Everybody wants to get to their destination at the same time; that could be a problem for you. This year Christmas is a Wednesday so travel days will be spread out more than usual but bottlenecks will occur. Try to pick days when the fewest people will be flying. Might we suggest February?
Park it Where?
The airplanes aren’t the only thing full this time of year. The parking lots will be packed so don’t count on close-in parking. The off-site lots will be either full or ridiculously expensive and you always have to ride that death-trap, bone jarring mini-bus to the airport. Might we suggest you impose on your friends, assuming you still have any, and beg a ride? Just tell them you’ll be bringing their Christmas present on your way back, then use the old “airline lost my bag” trick. It can work on both arriving and departing legs.
Food For Thought
I’ve suggested in the past to buy extra Whoppers, with of course extra onions, to sell to your fellow passengers. Stewardesses, or Flight Attendants as they may prefer to be called, will frown on this and these are people you don’t want frowning at you, believe me. If you’re not selling extras you may want to lay off the onions for your fellow passengers benefit. If you are selling extras, bring your own liquid refreshments as that frown will turn into no service for you. Most people don’t know this but you can get those little mini-bottles of liquor through security if they are less than three ounces and in a quart bag. Just tell the TSA it’s your mouthwash if they ask.
Ears to You
Earbuds or noise cancelling headphones are a necessity. Not only will they block out any annoying noises like crying babies, talkative row-mates or stewardesses complaining about the smell of onions, they will keep people away even when not plugged into anything. Bring your IPod, IPad or any other device since you can use them the whole trip now. I bring my Kindle to read and have a pair of old fashioned headphones that don’t even have a jack. I just slip them on and everyone leaves me alone.
Here’s to happy holidays and happy travels.
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.