Travel is not about business, star ratings, time tables, deals or points- travel is about connecting people around the world. For many, the happiest time of year is on the way, when long lost family, friends and loved ones connect. With all the joys of connecting the world, comes a whole lot of people in small spaces. And as always- things go wrong. Here’s how to avoid travel nightmares this holiday season, from booking to ringing the doorbell…

Book With Benefits

If possible, look into which credit card in your arsenal offers the most travel protections. Some credit cards cover clothes, necessities and other conveniences after just a four hour delay. This can instantly dissolve the stress of a delay or cancellation, giving you an advantage over other travelers. Some cards have extra perks for lost bags too.

Book Cheaper

The holidays can be an expensive time of year to travel, but they don’t have to be. Adding just one day of flexibility on either end can beat the rush for expensive flights. For your nights, many hotels are presently offering their best sales of the year, and airlines are known for offering wildly good flash sales from now thru November 27th. Check back to the site all week, or check out some of the stunning hotel offers out right now.

Stay Smart

Hotels are extremely busy over the holidays, and rates can be exorbitant. If you’re unable to find an amazing deal in the sales above, think outside of the box, considering these easy ways to earn free hotel nights, or things like Airbnb. It’s not uncommon to find fantastic Airbnb’s for a fraction of hotel prices, and sometimes it’s nice to self cater, especially with more space for friends and family.

Speed Efficiencies

There’s nothing better than walking past a crowd of people and jumping to the front of the line. With more people traveling than any other time of year, everything from roads to airports will be overcrowded. Heed the sound advice to leave early for your transportation, since delays at every juncture from check in to boarding can be expected. With that in mind, consider securing one of these amazing airport fast track services, some of which are even offering free trials.

Be First To Know

With winter setting in all around the Northern Hemisphere, weather is a “thing”. The best thing a traveler can do is download their airlines mobile app and CheckMyTrip. Both apps will alert you to delays and rebooking options before you see it anywhere else, while also keeping track of your seating assignments.

Musical Chairs

Though securing an entire row during peak holiday flights may be a bit of a challenge, getting the best seat in your cabin is not, and you more than likely won’t even need to pay. There’s a brilliant app called ExpertFlyer, which allows you to set free alerts, notifying you when a better seat opens up. You can be as specific as 7A, or as general as “any window seat”. Anything is better than the middle, right?

Know Before You Go

If you’re flying in the US, you’re going to pay to check a bag. Know that. Also- your laptop must be removed from your bag (unless you have TSA PreCheck), your shoes must come off, and your belt, jewelry and all that other exciting stuff are huge time wasters. Dress simply to the airport, and then glam up after security. No lace up boots, eh? Oh and you can’t carry booze through security, just in case you are thinking of bringing a nice gift. You’ll have to get it airside.

Your Rights

If you’re traveling in the US, you have none. Simple! All jokes aside, travelers have very few formal protections, so the best advice is to seek help and compassion via Twitter, phone and any agents in the airport if things go wrong. Do not get angry, do not raise your voice, be respectful of their concerns and ask for any compassion or help they can offer to get you where you need to go. Elsewhere in the world, such as Europe, delays over 3 hours can mean $650 in cash, and you still get to go where you need to.

What do you do to maximize your holiday travel?

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