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Monday, December 14, 2015

Airport Survival Guide for the Holidays

The holiday season is the most magical time of year, but there's nothing magical about crowded airport terminals, long security lines, and rushing to your gate. The holiday season, which extends from Thanksgiving to New Year's, is the busiest travel season of the year. However, just because it's notoriously busy doesn't mean you can't enjoy a smooth, pleasant, stress-free travel experience. Don't let your travels put a damper on the holiday magic— follow these savvy holiday travel tips from Expresso Airport Parking.

1.       Check in online. Check in online up to 24 hours before your flight's scheduled departure, and print your boarding pass at home. Doing so will save you time at the airport, as well as lock in your seat assignment, make you aware of any changes to your schedule, and reduce the chance that you'll get bumped if the flight's overbooked. Many airlines also give you the option of checking in from your smartphone and using a digital ticket with a digital bar code as your boarding pass, rather than a paper ticket. Having your ticket on your smartphone allows you to retrieve it quickly at the security screening and your gate.  When you check in online, whether through a desktop or smartphone, you can also prepay for your baggage, saving even more time.

2.       Pack light. If your trip allows it, stick to carry-on luggage to avoid the check-in line and baggage fees. As long as you've checked in online, you can head straight to security with the boarding pass you've printed at home or have on your smartphone. Be sure to check with the airline to see the size requirements for carry-on bags and to ensure there is no fee for luggage going in the overhead compartment. While most airlines allow passengers to bring a personal item and carry-on, budget airlines, including Frontier and Spirit, charge a fee for carry-ons placed in the overhead bins.

3.       Get there early. As the holiday season is a peak period for travelers, it's more important than ever to arrive at the airport early. While it's usually recommended to arrive 2 hours before a domestic flight, you should give yourself more time to account for traffic, parking, security screenings and finding your gate.

4.       Ship holiday gifts. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends shipping your holiday gifts or waiting until you reach your final destination to wrap them. This saves you the trouble of rewrapping the presents, should the TSA need to unwrap them for further inspection.

5.       Come prepared. On a peak travel day, it’s more likely that you'll be waiting around longer than usual or possibly experience flight delays. In case you'll be at the airport for a while, make sure you come prepared with charged electronics and portable chargers, entertainment, snacks, a water bottle (which can be filled once you've gone through security) and comfortable clothes and shoes.

6.       Reserve parking ahead of time. Like with the airport itself, the airport's parking lots will be very crowded during prime travel dates. Unfortunately, on-site airport parking services operate on a first-come, first-serve basis and do not allow travelers to reserve a spot. Luckily, off-site long-term parking services like Expresso Airport Parking do. Our long-term Oakland Airport parking service let's travelers make guaranteed parking reservations, so they waste no time on parking. Once you park, you can enjoy complimentary refreshments and receive flight status updates in our lounge, or get a quick shuttle ride to your terminal.

Expresso Airport Parking wishes you a Happy Holidays and hopes you follow our tips to ensure a pleasurable travel experience!

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