If the thought of crowded airports and lost luggage is killing your joyful buzz about that idea, these tips from the American Society of Travel Agents might come in handy:
•Book your ticket ASAP. The key to securing the best deal is flexibility in travel dates. Also, consider traveling during the slow week between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
•Arrive early. Airport parking, long lines at security checkpoints and the possibility of the airline overselling the flight and bumping passengers should all be considered when deciding what time to arrive at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time.
• Keep a close eye on belongings. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a close watch over tickets, wallets and purses at all times.
• Avoid getting bumped. Get an advance seat assignment; passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released. Check-in online. Don't be late.
Remember 3-1-1. New regulations limit the amount of gels and liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin.
• Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. Some airlines now allow only one carry-on and charge for first and second checked bags.
•Plan itineraries and arrange accommodations well in advance. Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times.
• Get a tuneup. Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have the oil changed and the brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked.
• Get an early start to avoid holiday gridlock. Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps. Make sure all drivers are rested.