How to prepare for holiday travel havoc.
santa hat on luggage

Holiday travel is always stressful and, unfortunately, this year is a perfect storm of travel chaos. Luckily, we have a few tips to handle all the chaos. 

The bad news

Sorry to be a grinch, but this holiday season is bringing some travel havoc with it. Here’s what to expect if you’re traveling this month:

  • Crowding: To be fair, crowding can always be expected during the peak travel season, but this year nearly 113 million Americans are traveling. For context, before the pandemic, that number was at about 108 million. Not only are airports going to be crowded, but people are hitting the roads too, so expect congestion on the highways and railways.

  • Strikes: If you’re the brave soul taking a European vacation for the holidays, may the odds be ever in your favor. Here are all the airport and airline strikes to keep an eye on.

  • Weather delays and cancellations: Weather-related travel delays are the travel trend we didn’t want to see this year, but they are running rampant both in the States and Europe. Rough winter storms mean that planes can’t get defrosted fast enough or land on time so don’t be surprised if you face a weather delay or your flight gets completely canceled, especially if you’re on the east coast

What to do

  • Plan ahead: Get to the airport early and build in extra time for traffic and long TSA lines.

  • Get CLEAR: Consider signing up for CLEAR so you can jump the long security lines. You can even get a 3-month trial if you sign up before December 31st. 

  • Know your airline’s policies: Read up on your airline’s policies before you leave for your flight. You’ll know what you’re entitled to and if you’re eligible for a weather-related refund or what to do in the case of a delay. 

  • Head out early or stay late: If you’re driving or booking a train ticket, try to head out early or after 8 pm to avoid the crowds. If you’re driving, don’t forget to pack snow chains. 

  • Keep a watch on strikes: If you’re worried about a strike affecting your travel, know that most strikes are threats and few actually go through. That being said, this year is exceptional in many ways and if you are affected by a strike, you can usually get rebooked or refunded. However, that does not apply if you book knowing there was a strike announcement made, so don’t go trying to get some travel credits. 

See more of our holiday travel tips here.

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