If recent airline travel snafus are any indication, this year’s holiday travel season is likely to present more than average opportunities for frustration. We’ve put together a few ideas to help you survive the trip with your sanity and good humor intact.

    Booking airline travel — If possible, travel on slower (relatively speaking) traffic days midweek (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best) to alleviate some of the airport stress. Select off-peak flight times, and arrive at the airport a good two hours before your departure — even if it means getting up at 0-dark-30 to do it. Also, many airport restaurants are short staffed. Plan ahead and grab a bite before you leave or bring something from home to eat while traveling.

    Invest in the TSA PreCheck program — Bypass those interminable snaking lines to security screening. While the $85 fee may seem a little steep, the TSA PreCheck program can save your time and temper. TSA reports that In October 2021, 95% of TSA PreCheck® passengers waited less than five minutes. And as a Known Traveler, you can keep your shoes on! The membership is good for five years, so what’s not to love?

    Travel light — As a travel nurse, you’re accustomed to packing for an assignment with all your necessities. But for holiday travel, less is more. If you can manage it, trim your wardrobe to the bare necessities and try to fit it into a single airline-approved carry-on. Wrinkle-free clothing items that can do double duty from casual to dressier are ideal, and hand-washable drip-dry garments are a lifesaver. And as a bonus, if you have just a single carry-on, you won’t have to twine through another endless line to check-in your baggage at the counter or wait at baggage claim after your trip.

    In flight — Hopefully you’ve been able to snag your preferred seat, either front or back, window or aisle. If you end up in middle-seat purgatory and you prefer not to chat up your seatmates, be sure to stock up your device with reading materials and videos, or bring along a cozy travel pillow and snooze through the whole flight. 

    On the road — Not everyone travels through airports on holidays! If you’re one of those intrepid road-runners, make sure your car is in tip-top condition before setting out. In colder climates, that means good tires with plenty of tread (even snow tires), emergency rations and blankets in case you should get caught in bad weather, and reliable GPS software on your device. If the weather looks threatening along your route, delay your trip or check in to a motel before proceeding.

    Safe Travels and Happy Holidays!

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