How to hack your holiday travel

By Physician Sense, for MDLinx
Published November 22, 2019

Key Takeaways

Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. And while some may be dreaming of pumpkin pie, quality family time, and binge watching football, others are having nightmares of congested highways, crowded airports, and screaming children. To give yourself an edge in the holiday travel scrum, we recommend using these travel hacks.

Be a peaceful road warrior

Some go plane. Others by train. And some by automobile. For those who are braving the open road this holiday season, the time to prepare is now. Have your car serviced by a professional. Do some research on when the highways you’ll be traveling are least congested. This year, Google has analyzed its Maps data and determined that the peak of Thanksgiving road travel is the Wednesday before, between the hours of 3-4 p.m. Other travel hacks include arming yourself with a navigation app that uses real-time traffic data, such as Waze. And finally, make sure your young passengers have enough snacks, entertainment, and means of keeping their devices charged. Here are some more tips.

Take advantage of airport lounges

Free wifi. Comfortable chairs. Complimentary snacks and alcoholic beverages. Airport lounges are respites from the stress of air travel. While once reserved for the wealthy and elite travelers, it’s now much easier to access lounges. Many of the largest airlines sell one-day passes. Additionally, many credit cards, some of which you might already have, grant you the perk. Here’s a list. If you don’t have a credit card and don’t feel like paying, you could always ask for lounge access while checking in for your flight. Put on your best tired face. The worst the clerk can say is no.

Pack with a plan

The conventional wisdom of packing light and avoiding checked baggage might not be so conventional anymore. Rising baggage fees have forced many to avoid checking bags at all costs. The result is that overhead storage bin space is now on the endangered species list. It might be worth it to bite the bullet and check a bag, especially if you’re in a zone that boards later. If you hate the thought of paying for a checked bag, these credit cards will get you a free one. Also, note well: If you’re travelling with gifts, don’t wrap them. TSA will pull the paper off and you will have to wrap all over again. It might be easier just to mail them to your destination.

Prepare to assist

According to a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study, it’s reasonable to expect one medical emergency for every 604 flights. The most common ailments you’ll encounter while airborne include syncope or presyncope, respiratory symptoms, and nausea or vomiting. The FAA requires all commercial flights to contain a medical supply bag. Here’s what you can expect to find inside it.

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