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Traveling for the holidays? Make it easier

Are you one of the 27 million people traveling over the next two weeks? To help battle the crowds and stress, Amy Ziff of Travelocity lists how to better prepare for your flight and trip.
/ Source: TODAY

Are you one of the millions of Americans dreading the holiday travel stress? To help combat the nightmare crowds and airports, Travelocity's Amy Ziff shares tips to make your Thanksgiving and holiday travels easier:

Use online check-in
Discover online check-in and secure your seat up to 24 hours in advance. Sometimes you can even change your seat if you want to. Not only will you have the added security of knowing you have your seat assignment, you’ll have your boarding pass printed out and ready to go.  You can bypass the line at the airport and go directly to security. (Just remember, this isn’t an excuse to cut it close!) If you’re taking the train, the lines for tickets may be extremely long.  Consider picking up your tickets a day in advance, even pay more for a reserved seat when it’s available.

Expect the unexpectedExpect the unexpected, meaning you should be ready for whatever comes your way. It’s the busiest time of year for traveling, and you want be well-rested to handle the stress from crowds to weather. Double-check your flight time before you leave in case there have been any last-minute schedule changes. Just because you’re a seasoned traveler doesn’t mean everyone else is. Remember that somehow, no matter how much planning you do, things never seem to go exactly as you’d like. 

Make a contingency planMake a backup plan ahead of time, especially given the predictions for crowds. With one in four flights being late this year, you have a good chance of being late for your connecting flight, so it’s prudent to have the 800 number for your airline and travel agency handy. Another consideration is if you’re flying through another city and you’re on the last flight of the day, what would you do if you had to spend the night? Do you know anyone there? What’s the next flight you can get on? The same goes for drivers. Have an alternate route ready should you need it.

Pack smartPlan for security screening and pack smart. This applies mostly to those travelers going to airports, but if you’re going to the bus or rail station your things may be subject to inspection as well. (At least in the airports it’s a given.) Know the Transportation Security Administration’s 3-1-1 rule, which requires all liquids that are being carried on board the aircraft to be in 3-ounce containers or less. They must be placed into a single, clear, zip-top baggy. (One per passenger, please.) Be ready to take your shoes off and wear socks lest you have to walk barefoot through security. Keep your valuables, medication and cell phone with charger on the plane with you. 

Get going earlyStart your trip early, which is the best way to ensure that you’re able to deal with any snafus.  When you’re driving, putting the kids in the car before dawn is a good way to get a jump on the day. Flying early, when you can, is also a good way to minimize the chances of getting caught in major delays.

For more travel tips from Amy Ziff, visit her blog, .