Holiday Travel: What to Know Before You Go
By Leah Westfall
December 03, 2010
For those of you who sat in traffic or waited in long lines on Thanksgiving, the day said to be the busiest travel day of the year, you may be surprised to hear it’s actually not.
In a recent CBS news story, Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association reported the reality is that Thanksgiving is not the busiest travel day of the year by far. People often believe Thanksgiving, Christmas or the days surrounding the two holidays, are the busiest. However, this is partly due to all the media hype covering long lines at crowded airports, train and bus stations. Dow says that people expect the airports to be crazy and that there are in fact a lot of people traveling.
So if it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas what is the busiest travel day? Try Fridays in June, July and August when families tend to pack up the kids and get on a plane for summer vacation.
If you are getting on a plane for the holidays, know what you’re in for. By now you’ve probably heard the complaints from angry passengers, or seen the media coverage of the TSA’s new security regulations. If you’re not familiar with the new procedures, you may be caught off guard. Know how to pack and what to expect before you head out.
According to TSA.gov, here are tips and information to help you breeze through security.
Three simple steps to security:
-Have your I.D. out.
-Coats and shoes off.
-Laptops and liquid and gels (less than three ounces sealed in a quart size zip lock bag) out.
Full body scanners and what you can do:
-You’ll be directed through either a walk-through metal detector or an Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit or better known as full body scanner.
-You have the option to opt out of the full body scan and instead will receive a thorough pat-down by someone of the same gender.
-If you alarm either the walk-through metal detector or the AIT unit you will receive a thorough pat-down.
-If receiving a thorough pat-down you have the option to request the pat-down to be done in a private area, away from the crowd.You also have the option to have a person of your choosing witness the pat-down.
If you’re thinking about hitting the road to avoid long lines at the airport or the full-body scanners, you may want to think again.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics most long-distance holiday travel, about 91 percent, is by car. Only 5 to 6 percent of holiday trips are by air, and 2 to 3 percent are by bus, train, ship, or other mode. If you do decide to drive expect busy roads, sitting in traffic and crowded rest stops.
Either way you decide to travel this holiday season remember to chill out. Everyone is trying to get somewhere and you’ll eventually get where you’re going. Safe travels!