Next to decking the halls and making merry, one of the most common ways to spend the holidays is by travelling. Last year, a record number of Americans travelled between December 12 and January 1 when more than 100 million people took to the roads and skies to celebrate the season with their loved ones. Folks who regularly fly back home for the holidays know the airport can be a special kind of hell during these peak travel times. Not only is it busier than ever, but the weather means you may face delayed or cancelled flights. Stuck in the airport and at the mercy of Old Man Winter can test what little patience you have left. If you hope to escape the airport with your sanity intact, use these tips to keep your cool whatever happens this holiday.
Find a comfort zone
If you think the seat by the plane’s toilets was bad, try sitting in one of the uncomfortable chairs at your gate for a few hours. These basic chairs’ take on ergonomic design puts pressure on your back no matter what position you hold. If you don’t want to create a knot in your back while you’re waiting for the plane to de-ice, you need to make sure you set up a comfort zone wherever you are in the airport. You can do this in one of three ways:
- VIP Access: You should check to see if any of your credit cards or loyalty cards gets you entrance into special lounges. For example, an American Express Platinum card gives you access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world. These lounges tend to be a private, calm oasis in the middle of the chaotic airport. In addition to more comfortable seats, they offer better Wi-Fi and other services while you wait for your flight.
- Hop Gates: Depending on the length of your delay, you can leave your gate for another area of the airport. You should search out restaurants that offer comfortable seating booths when you do.
- Create a personal nook: If you’re the type of traveller to come equipped with neck pillows and other accessories, take advantage of them from your gate. You can repurpose these pillows and blankets as cushions in your seat.
Think about a hotel
Once your flight has been delayed — and you’ve stood in line for four hours until you could rebook your flight home — you have to think about your options. When your new flight is more than 24 hours from the current time, you have a difficult decision to make. You could either brave the airport for the entire time, or you could book a hotel.
Where you’re stuck will influence your choice. Some airports offer amenities that make staying overnight (or a couple of days) easier than others. These airports offer showers and sleep pods, so you don’t have to sacrifice hygiene or sleep while you wait.
If you’re in a small town, it’s unlikely the local airport will offer these services. In which case, you may have to book a hotel. Hotel fees that start out manageable can get out of hand quickly. Before you know it, you’re paying more for your tiny queen room than you ever planned. If you ever find yourself in this situation, there are ways to help cover these costs:
- Use a booking app: An app like HotelTonight connects its users with hotels that have failed to fill all their rooms for the night. It aggregates all the empty rooms in your area and offers a simple and convenient way to book them. Since these rooms would go unbooked without their help, they end up being cheaper than if you had searched for a hotel on your own.
- Contact an online lender: If after you cash in on HotelTonight’s savings your costs are more than you expected, you may have to dip into your savings to make up the rest. When you deplete your savings like this, you’re leaving yourself unprepared should you come home to any unexpected bills or household damage.
Should you find your pipes burst while you were waiting at the airport — and your savings are just short of covering the repairs — check in with what online direct payday lenders can do for you. They’re a quick and simple way to secure a cash loan, so you can pay for your surprisingly expensive bills that are waiting for you back home.
Online direct payday lenders make it easy, so you can secure a cash advance from anywhere you get Wi-Fi, including the complimentary connection that’s offered in your room. You just need basic financial information and a mobile device to share it with to send off your application. If this sounds like something you can do, click here to learn more about what you need before you can send off an application.
Travelling during the holidays can be a challenge — and that’s when everything goes smoothly from start to finish. It can be a true test of your patience (and your relationship with travel companions) when things don’t go according to plan. While you can’t predict when you’ll experience delays or a cancellation, you can prepare how you’ll handle these issues if they do happen. Organize your trip well, and you’ll be able to keep your sanity in check for the entire time.