Are you one of the brave souls who will be traveling this holiday season? If so, we've got some tips to make things a little less stressful:
- Research your flight. Each month, the U.S Department of Transportation publishes a list of flights with the worst on-time records in America by route, airline, and flight number. For example, one listing says that US Air flight 1619 between Philadelphia and Atlanta was reported late 100% of the time. So, if you want to avoid major delays, head to the website www.dot.gov to check out the lists. You can also get flight information at www.flightstats.com. This site lists how often a flight is canceled, diverted, or late.
- Stay flexible. If all of the flights to your destination city are booked, ask the travel agent about alternate airports nearby. For example, if you can’t get a flight into Boston, try Providence. If San Francisco is booked, ask for a flight to Oakland. Or try Milwaukee instead of Chicago. Choosing an alternate airport almost always saves you money, and you’ll probably experience less stress because you’ll avoid the giant airports – which tend to have more delays.
- Call to book a hotel room when a football game is on. Always try to call a hotel at around 4pm on a Sunday. Why? Because that’s the one day each week that hotel revenue managers aren’t working – they’re the folks who set and control room prices. And if the revenue manager isn’t around, you’re in a good position to negotiate a better room rate, since most workers would rather book the room at a lower price than not book it at all. So, if you want a cheaper room, peel yourself away from the game for five minutes and make that phone call! You can always do it during a commercial break.
We'd love for you to share any tricks or tips about making holiday travel less stressful. Tell us what's worked for you!