This year, AAA predicts that nearly 49 million people will be traveling for Thanksgiving and about double that amount will be traveling for Christmas. With so many people on the road and in the air, it can get a little chaotic, so our EWR parking company has a few tips for getting through the holiday travel season:

Get to the airport early

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, so keep in mind that it may take longer to get to the airport, to check in for your flight, and to get through security lines. Because of the influx of travelers, you’ll want to get to the airport early – if you have a domestic flight, plan to arrive at least two hours before it departs; for an international flight, at least three hours.

Choose your seating

If you’re flying an airline that doesn’t have assigned seats (like Southwest), make sure you check into your flight as early as possible so you can get a decent boarding spot. If you’re flying an airline with assigned seats and you don’t like the ones you have, try checking the airline’s website in the few days leading up to your departure. In the last few days, airlines will bump fliers up to First Class, which means more Coach seats will be available and you can swap your seats. You can also use to get a notification when a window or aisle seat opens up.

Know what to do if you miss your flight

Whether your flight is delayed or canceled, missing your flight during a busy travel time won’t be a walk in the park. If you miss your flight, the airline will automatically book you on the next flight, but because there are so many travelers, there may not be a seat available to you. That means you may have to wait a day or two to get on another flight, so be prepared.

If you can’t get a decent next flight, get in line to speak to someone at the customer service desk. While you’re in line, use your phone to call the airline directly. This way, you’ll be trying to get through to the airline with two different methods – if you get through on the phone, you can get out of line – and vice versa. You can also try calling the airline’s overseas number if the local line is busy.

Pack smart

Even if you’re going to Florida, it’s a good idea to pack a sweater or sweatshirt with you in your carry-on – it can come in very handy if the airport or the plane itself is cold. In addition, pack an extra change of clothes, socks, underwear, and a few toiletries in your carry-on. This way, if your luggage gets lost, you’ll have the essentials until it’s found.

Before you check your luggage, make sure it’s tagged with your name, address, destination, and flight number. For extra caution, slip a copy of your flight itinerary and your cell phone number in the front pocket of each suitcase. Also – use luggage that’s easily recognizable (like a bright color or fun pattern) so you can spot it quickly in baggage claim and not mix it up with anyone else’s.

Be safe on the road

If you’re taking a road trip instead of a flight, remember that food prices and gas prices will likely be marked up during the holiday (especially at areas near the highway). To save some money, pack your own snacks and get the best gas mileage out of your car by:

  • Keeping your tires inflated to the right pressure
  • Using cruise control on the highway
  • Replacing your spark plugs before you leave
  • Avoiding fast accelerations and hard braking

Park with us

During both Thanksgiving and Christmas, EWR parking will be pretty crowded and you may not be able to find a parking spot. Instead, save both time and money by parking with us! We’ll not only get you to the airport fast, but we’ll also keep your car safe while you’re gone.