2008-12-25 / Correspondents' Notes

Tips For Holiday Travelers

For families across the country, the holidays are synonymous with travel. With families seemingly more spread out geographically than ever before, a holiday without at least a little traveling is extremely rare.

For those likely to spend as much time on the road or in the airport as they do around the tree this holiday season, consider the following tips to lessen some of your traveling load.

Check flight status before leaving home: While it's imperative to arrive at the airport early, particularly during the busy holiday season, check your flight status online before leaving for the airport. Oftentimes, flights are delayed during the holiday season, sometimes for several hours. If you can avoid it, there's no reason to idle the time away in an airport, especially if you're traveling with children.

Don't wrap gifts before getting on a flight: With airport security tighter than ever, travelers can expect all baggage, be it carry-on or checked, to be searched. While not every piece of luggage is searched, that discretion is left entirely to airport security personnel. That said, there's no point in wrapping gifts ahead of time if traveling by air. There's a chance you might have to re-wrap those gifts when you reach your final destination.

* Use a shuttle service to the airport: Holiday traveling is stressful enough without adding long-term airport parking fees and highway traffic to the mix. By using a shuttle service to get you to and from the airport, you're leaving the stress of traffic to someone else, and you're more likely to get out the door on time if someone is in your driveway waiting with the engine running.

* Pack some entertainment for the kids: Roadways are also full of holiday travelers. If the bulk of your traveling will be done in the car this holiday season, be sure to pack some entertainment for the kids. Consider renting a minivan with a DVD player if you don't already have one, and bring along enough movies to keep the kids occupied for the duration of the trip.

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