Your Holiday Travel Survival Guide: Holiday Travel Tips for Physicians

By Physician Sense, for MDLinx
Published November 15, 2018

Key Takeaways

Thanksgiving is one week away. If you’re like most Americans, that means you’ll be traveling. Congratulations on selecting the worst time of the year to venture out.

Last year, AAA projected that 51 million Americans would be on the move for Thanksgiving. That was the most in more than a decade. With markets remaining bullish, it’s likely that figure will increase this year.

Even though travel can be stressful, it can be worth enduring just to be around your loved ones for the holidays. With physician burnout rates at an all-time high, any opportunity to be near the people you care about is worth taking. With that in mind, here are a few holiday travel tips to lessen the stress of getting from point A to point B.

Tips for Traveling by Air

If you have a flight booked, you must really be a masochist. Or maybe Aunt Sofie’s green bean casserole simply can’t be missed. It’s also possible that you’re just trying to make peace and dodge her passive-aggressive phone calls or typo-ridden texts.

Register for TSA Precheck

First and foremost, register for TSA Precheck. $85 puts you in the fast lane through airport security, and it’s good for five years. If you’re on the fence about shelling out, calculate your hourly rate, and then think about how many hours you’re likely to spend standing in line this holiday season without Precheck. It can take anywhere from two-three weeks to be approved for precheck, so act fast.

Dress for Security

If you’re opting to skip Precheck, here’s a tip to get you through TSA faster: Wear shoes that slip on and off. You’ll be able to get them off your feet, onto the belt and back onto your feet faster. Some other expediency tips: Skip wearing a belt (one less thing to take off) and empty your pockets, putting your belongings into your carry on immediately after you’re done checking in. And whenever possible, check in for your flight in advance.

Will You Be Checking or Carrying On?

To check or not to check bags, that is the question. When airlines started instituting fees to check bags, people started carrying on. This resulted in passengers bringing on bags that were way too big and overhead bin space becoming an endangered species. If expediency is what you’re after, pay to have your bags checked. If you’re planning on carrying on, select a seat in an early boarding zone so that you can stow your bag.

A word of caution about checking bags: high air travel volume means an increased likelihood of lost luggage. There’s something to be said about traveling light and taking everything you need in your carry on.

Elite traveler tip: After slogging through security and elbowing your way onto the plane, you’re going to want a drink. Use a TSA approved liquid container to bring some booze aboard. Pour that booze into your complimentary beverage of choice and try to think happy thoughts while the toddler behind you sings you the ear-piercing song of his people.

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