Beat the (Airport) System
Save time, money and sanity with these genius tips that will make navigating the airport during the holidays enjoyable. These tips from American Express Travel Insiders and a director from NCR's travel division will make holiday travel (almost) fun!
Ship what you don't need: Limit yourself to just your carry on by shipping things like clothes and gifts ahead of time. The shipping costs may be less than the baggage fees and will help you cut down on unnecessary packing. Shipping gifts ahead of time means you don't have to un-wrap them at the security checkpoint, too. When all you're left with is your carry on, getting through the airport will be a cinch.
Pack the right carry on: After you've shipped everything but your carry on, make the most of it by packing it with some key essentials like phone chargers, headphones and music player, medication and any healthy snacks that will get past security.
Utilize mobile check-in: In the digital age, most airlines will let you check in online ahead of time with many going paperless and let you use your mobile device to display boarding passes. If you combine this with the last step, all you'll have to do is go through security when you get to the airport, giving yourself more time.
Research the airport layout: Nothing's worse than skipping a meal in the rush to get to the airport. But if you research the aiport's food and newsstand offerings beforehand, you'll know where to get coffee and a newspaper before your 7 a.m. boarding time.
What You Need to Know About Car Rentals
Once you've landed at your destination, you're really only halfway there. A spokeswoman for Hertz gave us the low-down for making your next car rental a smooth one.
Don't wait to book: As a good rule of thumb, if you need a car book it with your airfare--don't wait. Like airfare, the further in advance you book your rental, the best chance you have of getting the best rate and chances are better that you'll get the right car (if not, you risk paying more for a car that won't end up meeting your needs). The longer you wait, the higher the price. Following car rental companies on Facebook and Twitter will give you the inside track on special offers.
Know what car you really need: Don't pick a car because it's the cheapest option if it doesn't meet your needs. If you're going on a ski trip, take that into consideration or risk ending up with a sedan and nowhere to put your skis. The worst thing you could do is to book the wrong car, because changing your preference in the lot will drive up the price and the car you really need may not be available.
Enroll in free* member reqards programs: At Hertz, their Gold Plus Reward program is free (*for a limited time, check the website for details) and offers expedited service as well as loyalty with travel points that don't expire. Gold Plus members also receive "carfirmation" mobile alerts letting you know ahead of time what car you're driving, so plate numbers and parking locations so that you can get on your way faster.
Photo courtesy of SWF Photography