Tips for Stress Free Holiday Travel


Traveling over the holidays?  Travel can be a challenge any time of the year but add crowded airports and long TSA lines into the scenario, and it can be especially stressful.  Here are eight timely tips from Travel Expert Anne McAlpin to make your journey to and through the airport – effortless and stress free.

Download Travel Apps

Download all apps for your trip before you head to the airport including airline, hotel, car rental, etc.  One of my favorite apps is MyTSA which provides 24/7 access to the most frequently asked security questions right on your smartphone – or any mobile device.

Check Security Updates

Things change, so visit for up to the minute information on what you can – and cannot – pack in your luggage. Interested in expediting your next trip through security? Consider applying for a Trusted Traveler Program like TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry – go to for more information.

The 311 On Liquids

Traveling with just a carry-on?  Know the 311 Rule: All liquids in carry-on luggage must fit into one quart size clear bag – each container no larger than 3.4 oz – one bag per traveler. Larger size liquids are allowed in checked-through luggage.

This 3-1-1 reusable pouch from Cocoon is eco-friendly and available in bright colors to help find it easily in any bag.

Cocoon 3-1-1 Pouch
AAA Member Price $18.00

Check in Online

To help reduce the chance of getting bumped from an oversold flight – check in online 24 hours before your flight.  And – while you’re checking in – see if there’s a better seat available.

Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Get to the airport early.  With holiday traffic, weather, and millions of travelers, you never know how long it will take to get to the gate.  As an incentive, treat yourself to something nice on the other side of TSA security – like a good breakfast or at least a great cup of coffee – and the time to enjoy it.

Keep Valuables with You

Always pack valuables – including medications – in your carry-on and keep medications in their original prescription bottle.  Bulk medication?  Ask your pharmacist about smaller quantities for travel – and pack extra medication in case your trip gets delayed or you’re having such a great time you decide to extend.  Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes as well.

Confirm Weight Restrictions

‘Tis the season of overpacking- you know – gifts, heavy winter clothing, etc. so check your airlines weight restrictions to avoid excess baggage fees.  If you’re a chronic over-packer – consider a luggage scale like this one that can weigh up to 90 lbs. yet adds only 3 ounces to your bag.

Expert Tip:  Most large hotels have a scale available in the reception/bell desk area – or in the gym – providing time to repack an overweight bag before heading to the airport.

Don’t Wrap Gifts

Don’t wrap gifts until you arrive in case security needs to inspect them.  Instead, pack gift bags and tissue paper in the outside pocket of your suitcase for quick wrapping upon arrival.

Gift cards are a great way to save valuable packing space- and a AAA Gift Card is the present that always fits – it can be used in the travel store, to book travel, for Membership and more!