Thursday is the new Friday when it comes to getting away for a holiday weekend. So if you are leaving to go kick off the start of summer this Memorial Day, here are some little extra tips based on my own experiences for a smooth getaway. Remember, there are more people traveling this Memorial Day than in the past 11 years! So there will be traffic on the roads, and crowded airports. Fun, fun! Just take a deep breath, and remember when they say “it’s all about the journey,” for the most part, I don’t think they are referring to travel. Then, it is actually the destination.
1)If you are flying somewhere, and the security line is long, be sure to ask either an airport employee or TSA agent if there is another line somewhere that leads to your gate. Doing so has shaved much time off my wait in lines, and travelers won’t know unless they ask.
2) If you are flying, you know you don’t want to stand in two lines- one to check bags, and another for security. So, pack smart. How you may ask? If you are traveling with children, remember they are entitled to a “personal carry on item” too, so give them a backpack if you need more room for extra clothes, stuff, etc. My golden rule about packing is you will never need as much as you think you do, so this time of year when the weather is nice, you’ll be packing lighter clothing and should be able to fit in a check in bag, with some good editing.
3) Download all entertainment before you go. DO NOT assume you can do it with the WiFi on a plane. (Can you feel my frustration from past situations? ) I can’t tell you how many planes I’ve been on where the WiFi went down. If you are driving, and have to get on the road with no time to download, plan a stop or a bathroom break at Starbucks or other places where there is free WiFi to download (This is mostly for the kids’ entertainment since you are driving!)
4) Check the TSA guidelines for flying – there are obscure rules that may answer some of your questions about packing diving gear for example, or checking gravy in your luggage (seriously) that may save you time in security lines if you pack contraband. Also – the TSA may not say it, but some airlines are not allowing checked or carry on hoverboards -probably due to the fire hazard. http://blog.tsa.gov/2016/05/tsa-travel-tips-memorial-day-summer.html
5) In security lines – remember kids under 12 do not need to take off their shoes! And… don’t know if this is official or not, but every time I travel with my kids I am not required to go through the body scanner, only the metal detector which saves time too. This may have changed however, with word of tighter security.
Also – since you adults do have to take off your shoes, put them on the conveyor belt last… Its going to be crowded and you may feel rushed, so you don’t want to walk away forgetting anything on the belt. If you shoes are the last thing, you won’t walk away without them and will remember to grab everything else.
6) If you have downloaded a mobile boarding pass for your flight, read the fine print! Recently I downloaded one and it said at the bottom, “the gate is unable to accept this mobile pass -please print.” Which means, you will need to get to a printer before your flight, or check in at a kiosk, which adds time.
7) Living in Los Angeles, I can’t even go to the grocery store without my traffic app, Waze. I am sure you must know of it by now,but here are some tips to make Waze work best for you: If Waze tells you to take a toll road – that is a red flag. Make sure you understand the pay requirements to taking this toll road – look for signs that give you websites to pay later if you don’t already have a pas to use it.
Also – if Waze reroutes you because traffic is building on your current route, there is a “routes” button to compare other routes. Many times Waze has kept me on the same route that is longer than another way that maybe would have taken me off the freeway or something. I can’t figure it out.
8) If you think you are allowing enough time to travel, or to get to the airport, add another half hour. I know this doesn’t seem like an awe-inspiring tip, but I can’t stress it enough this holiday weekend. There are airports where there is construction that ties things up… accidents on the road… So if you mediate, this is a good time to do it..or start
Most importantly – be safe, and have a great time! It’s the beginning of travel season!