8 Thanksgiving Travel Tips for Families
Thanksgiving is a busy, busy travel time for families. Busy, but not the busiest travel day says USA Today. So….how busy is it?
46 MILLION people traveling….that is a LOT of turkey dinners!
How to Plan the Best Thanksgiving Travel Itinerary for your Family
Thanksgiving Travel – Fly as early as possible in the morning.
The earlier the flight, the less things can go wrong! If your flight is the first one in the morning then it is less likely to be delayed. Families find this an easier time to fly, too, because sometimes kiddos fall asleep on the plane.
Thanksgiving Travel – Book now.
Flights are fewer and farther between and seats are limited. These days planes are smaller and often over booked. With Thanksgiving breathing down our neck, time is of the essence. So, if you see a flight you like book it, Danno! The earlier the better!
Thanksgiving Travel – Be creative.
Consider flying into a nearby, less busy, airport and then renting a car. You can save a lot of money if you fly nearby and drive.
Busiest airports in the world: (Avoid them, if you can, at the busy holiday times)
Paris Charles de Gaulle
Thanksgiving Travel – Consider flying ON Thanksgiving Day.
Most people want to fly the Monday before Thanksgiving. Choose another day and save money. This can make a lot of sense when you take the whole family and need lots of tickets!
A great idea is to have ‘fakes giving’ which is, of course, Thanksgiving on another day. This gives you more flexibility for the whole traveling group to get better fares!
Thanksgiving Travel – Allow more time than you usually need.
Busy holidays are not the time to plan close connections. If you have a choice, give yourself plenty of time for connecting flights, arrive at the airport earlier than usual and expect longer than usual lines at security. This can be especially important for traveling families. Running through the airport with the kiddos in tow is really, really hard!
Thanksgiving Travel – Hedge your bets.
Not all airlines are created equally. Consider the on time arrival performance when you choose your airline.
#4 Virgin Airlines
#5 American/US Airways combined
#10 AirTran/Southwest combined
Do these numbers surprise you? They sure surprised me. I would have sworn up and down that American Airlines just HAD to be last!!
Thanksgiving Travel – Carryon your luggage.
With SO many people and SO many bags, carryon as much as you can to avoid the headache of lost bags. Pack less and wash more! Travel clothes that wash in the sink and hang dry are becoming more and more available for families with kids. Think polyester!
Thanksgiving Travel – Splurge.
Research all your credit cards and frequent flier programs to check for perks. See if you can spend time in the lounge or board early. If you don’t have any perks this way, then consider purchasing a day pass for lounges. Most have food and drinks, quiet areas to relax, and very helpful airline personnel. (Note: helpful airline personnel are rare these days unfortunately so snap up the opportunity when you can!) Lounges are extra awesome for traveling families as there are snacks, spaces to spread out, and often fun things like computers, movies and a pool table!
Above all – take deep breaths, try to relax and be nice. These sort of things tend to bring out the worst in people…. be the bigger person and teach your kids how to be, too! 🙂 In the end, a vacation where you all arrive safely is something to be thankful for indeed, right?
Happy thankful travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist