Planning to fly home for the Thanksgiving holiday involves more than just picking up the phone and booking reservations. You need to give careful thought to when you fly, and what time you fly, among other things. Decisive Magazine's nine Thanksgiving travel tips will help you get home with the least amount of stress—and at the most reasonable price.
1. Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, as everyone is trying to get home for Thanksgiving. It is also the day with the highest fares. For the absolute best airfares, make a week of it, go Saturday or Sunday before Thanksgiving, return Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving.
2. Fly late at night, or at the crack of dawn. Yeah, it’s inconvenient—that’s why it’s cheaper.
3. Send your luggage ahead, using one of the new services that have popped up for shipping luggage to your destination. Saves you wrestling with bags and eliminates the need for you to wade through crowds at baggage claim. Send your bags three days before you depart, they’ll be waiting for you when you arrive. Do not put medications or anything you’ll need during the flight, or immediately upon arrival, in your luggage, That’s what your carry-on bag is for.
4. Check in for your flight online—before you leave for the airport. That’s one less line you’ll have to stand in at the airport.
5. Think in terms of opposites, look at what everyone else does when they get to the airport and do the opposite. Your flight is departing, so is everyone else’s, go to the arrivals level, it will be far less crowded and you’ll get inside with less hassle. When you reach your destination, do exactly the opposite. Have your ride meet you at the departure level, more people will be using the arrivals level. Plus, you shipped your bags, so you have no luggage to deal with anyway.
6. If you take gifts, keep them in your carry-on and don’t wrap them. Security might want to see inside the package. All that time and love you put into personally wrapping that gift will be lavished upon—the TSA.
7. Going to L.A.? Use Burbank or Orange County. Going to San Francisco? Use Oakland or San Jose. Going to Chicago? Use Midway. Going to NYC? Good Luck… ☺ The idea here is, whenever possible, rather than flying into the main airport that serves a metropolitan area, use one of its smaller ones.
8. If you absolutely must fly home for Thanksgiving and can’t go the way we described in tip number one above, fly first thing Thanksgiving morning, rather than the day or night before, and return late Thursday night. It will be less crowded, you won't need luggage, and you'll still get to eat turkey with your loved ones.
9. You'll go through metal detectors and you'll be taking your shoes, jacket/or sweater off. Don't show up at the airport with a pocket full of keys, evey bracelet you own on your wrist and and three layers of coats and swaters on. Similarly, wear shoes that slip on and off easily.