What better time to test travel tips than the Thanksgiving travel rush, right? Okay, maybe the busiest travel days of the year are not the best time to experiment. But, if your experiment works out, it can be (to paraphrase Peter Griffin) pretty freakin' sweet.
We had just such a freakin' sweet journey to New York for Thanksgiving, thanks to heeding a couple of key travel rules:
- Go on off-peak days or at off-peak times. Not that there's really much of an off-peak around Thanksgiving. But, instead of throwing elbows in the airport on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, we enjoyed hearing our own echoes while flying out Thanksgiving morning and returning Monday afternoon. The airport was so uncrowded Thanksgiving morning, Travelin' Junior used the moving walkway as his own personal treadmill/launching pad (depending on which direction he was running).
- Use alternate airports. Instead of using the delaynamic duo of O'Hare and LaGuardia, we flew out of Midway and into Islip airport. We began to feel very smart when the radio was reporting three-hour delays at LaGuardia due to weather Monday, while our flight left Islip on time and arrived Midway early.
- Use an airline that might get you there on time. Granted, price usually factors into our airline decision more than anything else, but we were comforted knowing that Southwest has a better on-time record and does a better job turning planes around quickly than most of its legacy carrier counterparts (I'm looking at you American and United).
- Be lucky. Okay, this isn't a travel rule, but I also didn't want to get struck down by the travel gods for bragging about how wisely we planned our trip. When everyone departed just fine the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we heard snow in the forecast for Thanksgiving day, we were certainly regretting our date choice. Fortunately, the snow wasn't a factor and we too departed on time. But, it just reinforces that all the planning in the world can't guarantee a smooth trip. All you can do is grab every possible advantage to tilt the odds a little more in your favor.