Travel Tips to Make the Airport a Breeze | Skimm Picks | theSkimm
Guide to taking off - holiday

'Tis the season...to spend a lot of time in the airport. Here are our holiday travel tips to make holiday travel, feel like...well a holiday.

Holiday flights are so expensive. Halp.

There are few certainties during the holidays: eating more stuffing than turkey, thinking a peppermint martini is a good idea, and spending *a lot* of money on flights.


For when you’re planning Thanksgiving travel…

Be like cranberry sauce. Meaning, fly at undesirable times. You've already missed the boat to score the cheapest tickets. Hint: it was September. At this point, you can save money if you leave on Thanksgiving day and arrive just in time for dinner. Avoid flying on Sunday (11/25), which will be the busiest and priciest day to take off.


For when you’re planning end-of-year travel…

Longer trips = lighter wallets. Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, so if you were planning on heading out the Friday before...spoiler: everyone else is, too. Your best bet is to ask for more vacation time and book a longer trip, like Dec 18-28. The same goes for New Year’s. Airfare will be cheaper if you leave on Dec 31 and return on Jan 3 or later.


For when the holidays “sneak up on you” every year...

There’s an app for that. A few of them, actually. Set up price alerts to make sure you stay posted on deals. Hopper gives you notifications when tickets are ripe for the picking, while DealRay sends you an alert when it detects huge price drops, error fares, or flash sales.


For when you want to get the best deal…

Go undercover. Open an incognito browser window to avoid fare hikes that are based on your search history.

This year, do it all smarter

Pack to square one

Here’s how to not make like Santa and pack a neat getaway bag…


For when you want an A for effort…

Use a cheat sheet. As in, make like one Skimm HQ’r and stick a dryer sheet in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.


For when you get cold on the plane…

Bundle up. Instead of packing your coat, wear it through security and onto the plane. When you’re onboard, tuck it into an overhead bin or use it as a blanket or pillow.


For when you want to be the favorite child

Send gifts ahead of time and leave them out of your suitcase. Presents and wrapping paper can look suspicious on an X-ray screener. So, unless you want a TSA Agent to have fun unwrapping them, leave them exposed and stuff them into gift bags when you land.


For when you want to stay fresh…

Pack your toiletries in your carry-on, not your suitcase. We’ve all been aboard the lost luggage struggle bus. Get off by packing the quip starter set into your carry-on. It comes with the cult-fave sonic vibrating toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste. Bonus: quip brushes come with a cover to keep your bristles clean and a holder that stands or sticks to walls/mirrors so you don’t set it and forget it at the hotel.

Take off tips…

Your bags are packed, you're ready to go, you’re standing there...in line...for hours.


For when the security line feels longer than your actual flight…

Cut it. Look into TSA Precheck (shorter line, shoes stay on, laptop stays in bag), CLEAR (skip the regular TSA and TSA Precheck lines, and get your own), or Global Entry (includes TSA Precheck perks and saves you time through immigration and customs when re-entering the US). CLEAR is the priciest of the bunch (at $179 per year). Global Entry and TSA Precheck are cheaper options, at $100 for a 5 year membership ($20 a year) and $85 for a 5 year membership ($17 a year).


Don’t have time for any of the above?
Here’s your backup plan: download GateGuru. It’s like Yelp for airports and lists amenities, food options, and even estimated wait times for security.


For when you’re tired of asking for a ride to the airport…

Don’t be. If you think airport parking lots are expensive now, just wait until the holiday rush. Supply and demand means airports do their best Scrooge impression and hike up lot fees.


For when you have no sympathy for your fellow travelers...

Ghost them. As in, book a flight that has your destination as the layover...and leave the airport without boarding the connecting flight. Known as “Hidden City Ticketing,” this loophole might get you on the Naughty List. You’re essentially stealing that seat on your connecting flight from someone who needs it. Consider yourself warned.

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