As we make our way through this wild spring, with snow in the Rockies and storms in the Midwest and East, it may be hard to remember that summer and summer travel is only a few weeks away. Most of the year, road-warriors make up the majority of travelers in the country. However, starting with the Memorial Day Weekend and generally not ending until Labor Day Weekend, there is another group of travelers that make up a significant percentage of those traveling: families on vacation. Every year these two distinct groups seem to collide at the airport. The challenges start with the TSA screenings and continue all the way through the journey.
Here are some suggestions that may help reduce these conflicts:
- Everyone should know what can and cannot be carried on and what has to be checked. For specifics, you should call your travel agent. Especially if you are traveling with odd sized or over sized items, such as bicycles, surfboards, golf clubs or pets.
- Everyone should know what the TSA will permit through the security screening. For details visit www.tsa.gov and look for the section on the right side of the page entitled “What to Know Before You Go”. It has a number of links to topics that address what you can and cannot take through security. It also has suggestions on how to get through security as fast as possible.
- Plan on things taking a little longer. Give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes when you are heading for the airport. While we all hate to give up more of our time to waiting at the airport, the extra time will make the process less stressful and may be the difference between making or missing your flight.
- Try to dress in a manner that allows you to quickly prepare for the screening process and then quickly move on afterwards. Slip on shoes, no change in your pockets, a watch that is easy to remove and similar actions will speed you through security.
- Make sure that you follow the rules concerning liquids and gels. Find out how much you can carry on and how it has to be packaged. The TSA is very strict about contents, containers and amounts.
- If you are taking electronics through, be sure that you are familiar with the rules and guidelines on how to pack them. If you are taking a laptop, be sure to remove it from the laptop bag.
- Plan on things not going perfectly and always have a backup plan. This means if for some reason you get delayed, you know what options you have to pursue. Or if you booked your trip through Christopherson Business Travel, know the number to call your agent. Your agent will help you find alternatives and can work with the airlines to get you re-accommodated on another flight.
- Always remember to pack your sense of humor and your patience. You will need both of them more times than not.
Now those who travel all the time may feel like that this is all old news. But based on my last couple of trips, I would venture that a number of people could stand to brush up on a few of these points. We were all new to traveling at some point, and experienced travelers need to remember that when encountering less experienced travelers. And inexperienced travelers need to take responsibility by planning ahead and learning what is necessary to make life easier on all concerned.