Travel around the holidays is a lot like those singing game shows we all seem to be hooked on. There are some people who really are pros who make it look easy, there are lots of mediocre probably shoulda stayed home folks that get by, and then there are flocks of people who make the airport a living hell. Successful holiday travel means using every resource at your disposal to stay on top of security lanes, fast track yourself, find some peace and comfort and know when things are going to be delayed before anyone else...

Apps Are A Great Head Start...

Whatever airline you end up flying with, it's a good idea to have their app. Airline apps pump out gate changes, flight delays, cancellations and rebooking options directly to your phone. Aside from the airline's own app, we absolutely love TripItPro, which is like having a conductor effortlessly display everything you need from the start of your trip to the finish, even coordinating different reservations. GateGuru is another must have, which estimates security wait times, amongst great maps of the go to food spots and offerings in each terminal. If you're unsure of your destination, Rome2Rio is also fantastic, showing you how to get from anywhere to anywhere, anywhere in the world. For more great apps, check out our post featuring... more great apps.

Monitor Sneaky Schedule Changes, Double Confirm Reservations...

If you book far in advance there's a fair likelihood that the airline will move your flight to a different time. Sometimes it's just a few minutes, but other times it can be hours. If it's the latter, you're entitled to call and ask about making some changes for free. The best way to monitor changes is to plug your reservation into CheckMyTrip.com in the days before your flight. Not only is it a great way to see that your reservation is confirmed correctly in the airline's software, it will show any updated times, saving you from the stress, yelling and crying if you find out your flight left hours ago.

Save Time At Check In + Security Lanes...

You can save hours in security lanes by planning ahead, or paying a few bucks. Many airports sell fast track security passes to the general public, while others have special fast lanes for those who enroll in TSA PreCheck or are elite frequent flyers. If you are a frequent flyer, it never hurts to try to book your holiday travel with the airline you hold elite status, which allows faster check in, security and boarding for everyone in your reservation. If you don't have any, it's never to late to start...

Sometimes First Class Is Only $20 More (Or Cheaper)...

Most holiday travelers are leisure travelers. The thing with leisure travelers is that they don't even glance at the First Class column when booking a ticket. That's a huge mistake. In some instances First Class can be sold cheaper than economy on packed flights, and in many instances, especially shorter flights it may only be the difference in $20 or so. That $20 would get you priority check in, fast track security and a comfy seat with some free booze and maybe even a warm cookie once you escape the chaos of the terminal. Just this week, for a couple days, economy to London cost more than business class. 

Some Credit Cards Reimburse You For Delays...

Book with one credit card, get nothing during a delay or cancellation. Book with the other, get your new clothes, transportation and meals taken care of, on the house, just for being a loyal cardmember when things go wrong. We have a list of the best offerings, some of which kick in after only 3-4 hours of delay. When things go wrong and everyone is waiting in line for a hand out, you can just head to a cab and get everything you need, reimbursed with ease too. If you're flying to or from the European Union, don't forget that delays not due to weather over 3 hours should get you a refund up to $600!