1) Know peak travel dates
The earlier you are at the airport or any station, the better. Avoid travelling the day before the holiday. My family discoverd last year that that the airports are breezier and less busy when travelling during the holiday day itself! Airlines tend to have cut-rate airfare deals during say, Thanksgiving or Christmas day travel! Not only that, the airline food are usually better!
2) Book early
… and beware of changing route maps and flight frequency. According to the article, “it may be critical to book early not only to get the best prices, but also if you require very specific travel dates or times.”
3) Shop around for the best deal
Look around for the best travel deals. Whether you use booking sites (like Lakbay), bid or auction sites or direct sirline bookings, comparison shopping has never been easier than it is right now. During peak travel season, casting the net as wide as possible will help you understand all of your options.
4) Leave early
When travelling during peak season much of the trouble you’ll face lies on security check-in, traffic jams and full parking lots to absent shuttles and long lines. Rather than striving to “arrive at the airport early,” you may want to try to “leave for the airport early” to anticipate all the peripheral delays you may encounter. Listen to the expert, you would not want your plane to leave without you or while you are still on the security queue.
5) Check alternate airports
or in our case here, check for alternate airlines. Sometimes, the queue in the old and new airport in Manila can make a difference. I mean, how many times have I been left hopeless on the security queue while the departure of my plane is being announced? This is pretty standard, but at this time of year it can really make a difference. At no time can the alternate airport gambit pay off better than during the holiday rush.
6) Plot connections carefully
When travelling internationally, this is very important. When booking flights, check your search results carefully for sufficient time during layovers, and build in some time for flight delays and weather woes. Avoid really tight connections lest you end up sprinting through the terminal (if you are in in HongKong, good luck with the running…), and be stranded at worst. Also, it is best if you can muscle your flight path into position so that connections are in places less likely to experience delays.
7) Travel light to save hassle and money
Packing light. For one, you save time on the security queue. Two, luggage limits have been sporadically enforced especially during peak season. Three, overhead bins are going to be full and cramped with pasalubongs and gifts, and you could end up being forced to check bags at the door of the plane!
8) Use the web for more than just booking
Though I have not used an electronic ticket while travelling domestically, it has been advised from the article that whenever possible, print your boarding passes at home, or use check-in kiosks. These services are no longer restricted to the airport, and can be found in hotels and other places in increasing numbers to save time.
9) Travel early or late in the day
As a rule, airports are least congested at times when normal human beings would rather be at home or even asleep. Delays are far less likely for morning flights, and airports usually unclog as the afternoon and evening peak passes.
10) Consider package deals
Peak travel periods can be the best time to buy package deals, even for folks who would never buy one, as the bundled pricing offered by packages can be very competitive, even (or especially) at times of high demand.
For example, our local carrier Philippine Airlines have good travel deals. I won’t say its the best, but a little discount coupled with good hotel deal is not too bad. But as I said, research, research, research!
- Investigate your frequent flyer options to get better (and better guaranteed) seats.
- Bring diversions. Your magazines, books, iPod, and food.
- Keep it cool.
- Have phone numbers for everything: your hotel, your car rental agency, your airline, friends at your destination.
- Check flight status repeatedly. Know your airline’s phone number as well as your flight numbers and exact times.
- When traveling on an E-ticket, carry a printout of your itinerary from your airline or booking site.
- Choose nonstop flights. The worst, most brutal delays occur in connecting airports, where you have no home, friends or family to retreat to.
- Do not wrap gifts, especially if you intend to carry them on the plane. Even in checked baggage, there is a strong chance they will be unwrapped for inspection by security personnel.
- Give your cell phone a full charge, and write down or program the phone number of your airline so you can call easily as your flight time approaches.
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