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Holiday travel can be nerve-racking, but you can avoid the madness. Here are a few tips to make your Thanksgiving and Christmas voyage more enjoyable.
It’s best to travel early in the morning. That goes for planes and trains alike. “Avoid Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and holiday eves,” advises Ed Perkins, editor of Consumer Travel Reports. If you can, travel on the holiday itself — there will be fewer crowds and great deals.
In large cities, try a downtown or business hotel. “Business travel is low at this time and good deals can be found,” says Perkins. Those hotels may offer seasonal packages.
Make reservations at least 45 days ahead, advises Nancy Dunnan managing editor of 1 ravel Smart newsletter. If you still have trouble finding a room or seat, call a travel agent and ask for a vacation package. Waiting until the last minute also has advantages, though. “A week before a holiday, fares may be cheaper,” says Perkins.
Don’t lug loads of luggage. In a crowded airport, it’s harder to keep track of bags and holiday time is a high-crime period.
Don’t wrap gifts. You may have to open them for inspectors. Instead, take paper and wrap at your destination.