Maybe you’re planning to travel Memorial Day Weekend (May 28/29) or celebrate July 4 with a getaway; maybe you’re considering a trip for Bastille Day (July 14) or are simply keen to fly during a bank holiday. These five practical tips that will help make your journey as painless as possible.
5 Things to Know: May June, July, August Holiday Getaways
1. Look for Last Minute Deals
For those who don’t have tickets yet.
- Set airfare alerts: If you don’t have tickets yet, figure out where you’d like to go and set an airfare alert. It’s easy and it only takes a second.
- Look for weekend deals: Some airlines including United offer weekly getaway deals; check your carrier’s website for these specials.
2. Pack Small, Pack Light
Checked bag fees typically run $25 one-way.
- Use a carry-on: Most airlines don’t charge for carry-ons but that’s just a bonus; the real reason to use a carry-on for a weekend getaway is so the bag does not get lost. Yes, missing bags are rare but it happens and if luggage goes missing for a day or so there goes your entire weekend.
3. Don’t Be Late
Airports will be crowded and this is particularly true for U.S. facilities because of security staff shortages; airlines recommend arriving two hours before departure for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international trips. That said, you may get through security in plenty of time only to discover the flight has been delayed anyway. These airports may require extra patience for one reason or another:
- U.S. airports with high delay rates (Jan. to March): San Francisco, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Denver, Dallas (DFW).
- International airports on a recent list of the world’s worst: Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, Islamabad, Ho Chi Minh City, Caracas and Nepal’s Kathmandu (reviews often cited “chaotic” lines and lack of cleanliness).
4. Know the Security Rules
Every little delay adds time to already too-long lines.
- Follow the rules: Carrying a bottle of water as you approach the security checkpoint? Throw it away (but keep the bottle to refill later). Get ID and boarding pass out in advance. In U.S. airports, take your shoes off and pull laptops and toiletries out of bags before you’re told to do it. Even better, sign up for PreCheck and you’ll be put in the fast line.
5. Power Up, Two Ways
- Charge devices before leaving home: Power up but remember that phones die unexpectedly, so print out boarding passes at airport kiosks even if it’s already on a phone or tablet. Keep charger cords on your person or in a carry-on; electronic devices will make delays more pleasant. So will food.
- Power breakfast, power lunch: Power yourself up by bringing a snack or something more substantial from home. Do you really want to waste holiday funds on crappy airline food?