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The holiday season is undoubtedly the busiest travel time of the year. With notorious transportation delays, traffic and travel snags, getting together with family and friends can be a hassle. However, with a bit of foresight and holiday travel planning, you can ease some travel troubles whether you’re heading home for the holidays or heading for a relaxing escape. Regardless of your plans, you’ll be thankful for these holiday travel tips.

Plan Ahead

It’s never too early to start your holiday travel planning. To jump on bargains, sign up for sale notifications from your preferred airlines and follow them on Twitter and Facebook where special sales may pop up before they become available to the general public. Look ahead to find lower rates and more options for seating when booking flights for the holidays.

Choose holiday travel days wisely

The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, closely followed by the Sunday after when travelers make the journey home. Avoid these days, if possible, for a less stressful commute. Flying out on Monday, Tuesday or even Thanksgiving morning will help you avoid the dreaded travel rush. When you’re ready to head home, take a flight on Friday when many will be out shopping for Black Friday holiday deals.

Travel Light

As more airlines start charging for checked bags, it’s a good idea to pack light and carry on your bag. Keep in mind that fellow travelers will all have the same idea and overhead space may be tight. To lighten your load, consider shipping some of your belongings to your final destination ahead of time, especially presents. If you decided to bring gifts with you, plan to wrap them when you reach your destination. Even if they are in your checked back, security may need to inspect the item.

High-Tech Troubleshooting

It’s common sense to arrive at the airport early — you’ll need the time for parking, security and to buy your ticket if you haven’t already. You can avoid some airport hassles by taking advantage of useful apps that can be used on your smartphone. iPhone users can get airport help, including maps of the gates and restaurant information, using GateGuru. Airlines including Southwest, Delta and American Airlines all have mobile websites where passengers can check in, confirm seats and keep track of their flight status. For more helpful holiday travel apps, check out the 8 best apps for holiday travel.

Over the River & Through the Woods

If flying isn’t for you, be aware that navigating roadways present their own set of challenges during the holidays. Traffic on main routes can add hours to what is normally a speedy trip. Follow the same best practices above for road travel, including avoiding the highways on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the following Sunday and planning ahead.

Find your route ahead of time and travel with a GPS or smartphone to offer alternative routes should you need a Plan B. Also, be aware that hazardous road conditions could make driving dangerous. Get the best tips for driving in winter conditions here. Prepare for the worst by making an emergency kit including, protein rich snacks, blankets, first aid supplies and water, should you be stranded waiting for help.

Travel planning can be difficult, especially during the holidays, but these tips will help ensure you get to your destination stress free. For more ways to protect your holidays and any of the gifts they bring you, just call us at 724-929-2300. We offer coverages from cars and home to high price items and health and will tailor a policy to fit you best! Plus we can do the shopping for you to get you the best price every time, saving you time and money this season!