(Editor’s note: Travel and tourism expert Dr. Mary Grace Ac-Ac shares the following last-minute tips with travelers planning to fly out for the holidays.)
The most wonderful time of the year is here and this is one of the busiest travel seasons. According to studies, majority (or 67 percent) of people save their vacation days to take a longer break during the holidays, whether it may be a trip back home for a reunion or an end-of-the-year adventure.
As a lover of travel, I wish to share some holiday travel tips:
Tip 1: Research, research, research
We cannot overemphasize the importance of research, where everything is within reach. Compare promos, discounts, and special packages of airlines, lodgings, land arrangements, and meals. Be wary of hidden charges.
Check climate and travel advisories. Be aware of religious customs and local traditions. Confirm any food restrictions on pasalubongs you plan to take home. Update your travel insurance coverage.
Tip 2: Pack smart
Thoroughly inspect the wheels, zippers, and locks of your suitcases. Ensure your bags have proper distinguishable identifiers and tags to prevent airport mishaps.
Don’t forget to pack extra copies of your travel documents in different folders in separate bags.
Medicines should be prioritized—bring along your prescription for "just in case" situations.
Do not overestimate the weather; it is always wise to bring a shawl, a sweater, an extra jacket or a coat, plus appropriate headgear and umbrellas for unpredictable days.
Have some extra small bags and Ziploc for emergencies. Bubble wrap is always handy for delicate purchases abroad.
When traveling with gifts, I recommend not to gift wrap them as this may cause delays at the airport security.
Refrain from overpacking because you will always regret it more than once.
Tip 3: Be ready
Motor and body traffic is the norm of the season, so get to the airport early. Arrive at least three hours for international flights and two hours for domestic flights. The busiest days are usually December 22, 23, and 26.
Moccasins, sandals, or loafers are best when flying because they are easier to remove when going through security. Laced shoes are cumbersome and therefore a no-no. Wear thick socks if removal of shoes are required.
As high altitude travel causes dehydration, remember to hydrate. Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages!
Upon arrival, position yourself at the carousel, where you can spot your bags come out of the chute. There should be enough space for you to safely and comfortably retrieve your luggage.
Tip 4: Enjoy, have fun, create memories
The ultimate goal of a vacation is to relax. Have an open mind. Leave your problems, troubles, and concerns at home. Live the experience to the fullest. Seize the moment, live the experience to the max.