December 18, 2012
Right around the holidays is the busiest time of year to travel, and no matter what form of transportation you’re taking, you’re bound to run into some turbulence, roadblocks, and delays along the way. And to make things especially hectic this year, both Christmas and New Year’s day fall on Tuesdays, so that means weekend travel will be quite the headache. We want to help prepare you for your holiday travel with some tips to keep you afloat as you “swim” through airports, busy roads and stations to reach your destination.
Book your flights early- if you haven’t already made your flight reservations, do it pronto! It’s not too late to get a good deal on a flight, just make sure to scope out all your options. When possible, get a non-stop flight. And if you’ll be traveling with family or friends, secure advance seat assignments to ensure you will all be sitting together.
Plan carefully- nail every last detail to the T. Plan for the unexpected by packing some essentials in your carry on, like a toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste and a change of clothes, just in case you beat your luggage to your destination.
Leave early- Whether you are driving to the airport, catching a ride or taking a cab, make sure to leave early. You’ll want to anticipate bad traffic, potential construction zones, and bad weather on the roads. And before leaving the house, check your flight status to see if there are any delays or cancellations. Plan to arrive at the airport two hours before your departure time if you are traveling within the country, and three hours for international travel. The lines at security are bound to be long.
Pack wisely- Try to just pack the essentials and enough clothes for your days away. You won’t be pleased having to lug around a huge suitcase through the airport. Put address tags on both the inside and outside of your luggage. The tags on the outside can get ripped off in transit, and you don’t want someone else mistaking your bag for theirs. When packing your carry on bag, make sure to follow the rules for size and contents. We advise against packing wrapped gifts in your carry on because they might need to be unwrapped during a security check.
Check everything- Before you leave, make sure you aren’t missing anything. Important items include gas in the car, drivers license, passport, stroller or carseat for children, tickets, luggage, and keys.
By Bus or By Train
Do your homework- Before booking a ticket for your trip, do some research on the options. Although there are plenty of cheap ways to travel, they are not always better. Cheaper bus services, for example, will pick you up on the street, in rain or shine. More expensive services will pick you at up an indoor station. Suburban locations are also far less crowded than downtown locations, so when you’re picking the station you’ll leave from, keep this in mind.
Arrive early- Make sure to arrive at the station at least an hour before your departure time. Things can get very hectic with multiple people running around, trying to catch their train or bus.
Label everything- Make sure to tag all your bags and belongings. They may be stowed underneath the bus, above your seat, or at the end of the aisle on the train so you won’t always be able to keep an eye on them. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination empty handed.
Entertainment- Bring lots of entertainment for a long bus or train ride, especially if you are traveling with kids. It’s important to keep noise levels down and phone calls to a minimum, so you’ll want to have other means of entertainment. We suggest books, coloring activities, music devices, DVD players, portable games, newspapers or a laptop to do work. Make sure to bring headphones for the electronic devices.
Hitting the road
Plan your route- Before leaving, plan your route carefully. Whether you’re using a GPS or map, make sure to understand where you’re going. Plan for alternative routes too in case you come across a construction, a bad accident, or lots of traffic.
Pack ahead of time- Pack the car the night before you leave so you aren’t scrambling in the morning to get everything. Sometimes the luggage only fits in the car one way, so you’ll want some time to make it all fit.
Safety first- Check your tire pressure before you leave, and along the way if it’s a long ride. Keep a gauge in your glove compartment. Include an emergency kit with a flash flight, blanket, gloves, shovel, ice scraper, tools and a first aid kit in case mother nature takes over. Also, make sure to bring a phone charger for your car so you can use your phone at all times.
Bring entertainment- If you’re driving alone, bring a CD or book on tape. If you have energetic kids in the back, bring portable games, books, coloring materials, stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets. You can even bring some surprise gifts in a bag. For food, bring grocery store snacks; they are a lot cheaper and healthier than fast food, and they will allow you to cut back on the number of times you stop.
No matter how you’re getting there…
- Carry the essentials, like medications, snacks, and toys for the kids.
- Store your travel information, like tickets, maps, and ID’s, in a safe place.
- Keep track of everyone in your group at all times.
Before leaving the house, make sure to do the following:
- Stop your mail.
- Put timers on the lights in your house.
Using Kona to Plan for your Holiday Travel
There are different ways you can use Kona to manage your holiday travel plans. And no matter where your destination is, Kona can help you get there.
To keep track of all your travel to-do’s, like book tickets, make hotel reservations, pack and more, use Kona tasks to make sure everything gets done. This keeps each task organized and in the context of everything that goes into completing it. You can organize your to-do’s even further with task lists, which allow you to group tasks in ways that are meaningful to you. Whether you’ll be traveling on your own or traveling with others, tasks are extremely helpful because they allow you to track everything you need to do. And if you haven’t completed something, Kona let’s you know.
If you are planning a trip with others, the conversations are key for keeping everyone connected and up to speed. From picking travel dates to selecting a hotel to planning the trip itinerary, Kona conversations allow everyone to weigh in on a decision, keeping all the planning organized and in one place. Kona truly allows the group to plan the trip together; no one will be left out. And this ultimately makes for a better time!
Let us know where you’re going this holiday season and how you’re getting there.
Happy holidays and safe travels, Kona Community!