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Six simple steps to stress-free Thanksgiving travel

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:23:14 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday? If yes, now is the perfect time to review simple steps you can take to make traveling for the holiday less stressful.

First and foremost, if you're driving, don't leave on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.

According to traffic app Waze, the worst time to travel before Thanksgiving will be 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 21. The worst time to travel home after Thanksgiving will be Monday, Nov. 27 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time. However, there will also be a spike of midday travel on Sunday, with the worst traffic likely at 2 p.m. local time.

For those flying, Wednesday and Sunday are the days to avoid.

Whether driving or flying, Thanksgiving day is generally a good day to take to the roads or skies.

When it comes to airport safety, there are different rules for kids than adults.

Kids under 12 aren't subject to the same regulations at airport security. So feel free to leave your toddler's shoes and jacket on while going through the metal detector. Seniors may also leave on shoes and light jackets. As for a baby's necessities, breast milk, formula, baby food and other essentials are not subject to the three-ounce liquid rule, though they will likely have a secondary screening.

Speaking of kids . . .

Some airlines allow families with small children to board the flight first. Don't do this. It only adds more time for children to be confined to their seats. If possible, store the carry-ons ahead and have one adult stay with the kids to try to board as close to takeoff as possible.

Know what you can bring on board and what you can't.

Stuffing can fly, but can cranberry sauce? What about gravy? Find the answers to all your Thanksgiving leftover carry-on questions on the Transportation Security Administration's website using it's handy tool, "Can I bring?"

Laptops can stay in your bag, sometimes.

Check your boarding pass to see if you were selected for TSA Precheck. If you were, your laptop can stay in your bag. And, like a kid or a senior, your shoes and jacket can stay on. Precheck is available at more than 100 U.S. airports and offers expedited security lines. You may get lucky and get picked, but you can sign up for precheck online at a cost of $85 for five years.

Plan ahead for airport parking.

Lots fill up fast and the last thing you want to do is miss your flight while you're looking for a parking spot. Book ahead and you may even get a discount at off-airport lots. Leave plenty of time to get from the lot to your airline terminal.

Avoid checking a bag if possible.

There's no way for an airline to lose your bag if you never hand it over in the first place. And while instances of mishandled bags are very low, nothing can ruin a trip faster. If you must check a bag, get to the airport early and leave plenty of time for handlers to get your bag on to the plane. Keep all medications and irreplaceable items with you. Print out a copy of your airline itinerary and put it inside your bag in case the luggage-routing tags somehow disappear.

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