By Contikivacations | July 9, 2013
What do holiday weekends mean to you? For many of us, it means less crowds on the highways in our hometowns but more people leaving town and wanting to spend that time elsewhere. You're bound to encounter larger crowds wherever you go, but here are some things to know to get you ready to tackle traveling over the holiday weekend.
An Early Flight Doesn't Always Mean Less Crowds
The 5am departure flight sure sounds good at the time you're booking your flight - who else would be crazy enough to wake up THAT early? If you're looking to save a few hundred bucks and think that no one else will be up at the crack of dawn to catch this same flight, you'll be mistaken. Since people have taken so many vacation days off, more often than not the early morning flights are not only the cheapest, but many people take them so they don't lose a day to travel. Be aware that there may be more people than you bargained for when you wipe the sleep out of your eyes.
Checking in for a flight? Double Your Arrival Time!
Too often do people ignore the mantra to check in for their flights at least an hour for domestic and two hours for international. They think that since they printed their boarding passes at home and they only have a carry-on that they'll cruise through security and hop on their flight in one fell swoop. When traveling over a holiday weekend, this isn't always the case. Traveling for longer durations of time may equal more checked luggage and longer wait times at security. If you arrive early, keep your patience and your cool as families try to stick together and travel as a unit and you'll breeze through with less stress.
Pack Extra Snacks & Hydration
With the larger holiday crowds, that means longer lines for that cup of Starbucks you've been craving since you landed. Be prepared with extra snacks and always carry a refillable bottle of water (this can even be a plastic water bottle that can be refilled multiple times from the drinking fountain.) This will also help you cut down on spending so you have extra cash to spend on more important things, like souvenirs or extra batteries for your camera!
Prepare for Shop Closures or Reduced Hours
Like many of you, over the holiday weekend many businesses close their shops for the day so they can also enjoy the holiday spirit. Some businesses will reduce their hours and close early - a nice reprieve for the employees but sometimes a disappointment that many people remember when they have their heart set on a particular destination.
Public Transport is Your Friend
While it may seem that public transportation may actually be MORE crowded during a holiday, cities prepare for the mass amounts of crowds and sometimes add extra trains and departures so that everyone is moving along. If you don't have a vehicle at your disposal (and who would want to drive during holiday traffic?) make public transportation your friend and let the trains, metros, and buses take you where you need to go! Besides, you don't want to pay all those parking fees and gas station fill-ups do you? Go out and have fun!
Of course, there are times when traveling over the holidays can be incredibly fun, such as the case of traveling for Halloween or New Year's Eve. Stay tuned for more about experience local holidays and traditions for yourself!