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15 tips for holiday travelers

Posted on November 25, 2013
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Whether your family is traveling by air or car this holiday season, these tips can make your journey less stressful and more fun while saving you time and money.

Air Travel Tips

  1. Juggle Your Dates
    The cheapest dates to fly are normally the holidays themselves.  Also consider traveling the weekend before a holiday. Use the Union Plus Travel Center powered by Travelocity (UnionPlusTravel.org) to help check out your cheapest options.
  2. Fly Into a Smaller Airport
    Flights into smaller outlying airports tend to be cheaper.  For example, the average airfare to Long Beach Airport can run less than half the cost of airfare to Los Angeles International.  Expand your search to nearby smaller airports to see if you can find better deals.
  3. Book a Non-Stop Flight
    Even if you end up paying more for non-stop flights, it can be worth it.  Planes are packed during the holidays and if you miss a connection, you may not be able to find seats on the next flight out for you and your family.
  4. Travel with Carry-On Bags
    Not only will you save on baggage fees (Jet Blue and Southwest are the only domestic carriers not charging for checked bags), you'll also save time.  You'll get to your departure gate and out of your destination airport significantly faster.
  5. Ship Gifts
    Packing an extra bag of gifts can cost you in extra baggage fees.  Plus, if you're traveling with carry-on luggage, wrapped gifts can pose a TSA problem.  Ship pre-wrapped gifts to arrive before you do for fewer hassles.
  6. Arrive Early
    Arrive at your departure airport extra early.  During the holidays, it almost always takes longer to park, check in and go through security.
  7. Pack Snacks
    Bring a stash of healthy snacks, sandwiches and refillable water bottles to fill once you're through security.  You'll save money and time and your family will eat healthier.

Road Trip Tips

  1. Is It Cheaper to Drive?
    With gas prices dropping and at their lowest since a year ago, a holiday road trip could save you money.  Not sure it it's cheaper to fly or drive? Use this calculator to find out.
  2. Vehicle Check-Up
    Inspect your tires before you leave.  Also check pressures, fluids, air filter and your spare tire. Save 10% when you use this Goodyear discount coupon.
  3. Be Prepared
    Think like a Boy Scout and keep an emergency kit in the trunk or back seat. Use this emergency checklist for what to include.
  4. Map It
    Know your route in advance, even if you're planning to use a navigation system.  Consider leaving earlier or later if you anticipate heavy traffic.
  5. Roadside Assistance
    Have roadside assistance contact information in your glove compartment.  Keep a wireless phone and charger with you at all times. Sign up for a year's membership in the Union Plus Motor Club and get 24-hour roadside emergency service, plus $40 in gas rebate vouchers.
  6. Clean It Out
    The more stuff you haul in your car, the more fuel you burn.  Take only what you need.
  7. Snacks & Baby Wipes for Everyone
    Pack nutritious and minimally messy snacks in zip lock bags. Pre-moistened towelettes are perfect for quick clean-ups. Use plastic grocery bags for garbage.  Toss them when you fill up with gas.
  8. Stop 'n' Stretch
    Stretch everyone's legs at least every 3 hours.  This is also a good time to refuel and eat a meal.

Whether you're flying or driving, make sure to use your Union Plus discounts to save on everything:

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