The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 17, 2012

'Gee, the traffic is terrific': Holiday travel tips

Holiday travel can get crazy, especially with the expected 93.3 million Americans who will be taking to the road and skies this year. It's not too early to start planning the details of your trip, as a little preparation can go a long way.

If you are planning to travel by car, AAA has some specific tips for motorists.

  • Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive. (Don't forget the spare!)
  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the holiday season. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone apps that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.

If you're flying this holiday season, make sure to brush up on the Travel Security Administration's (TSA) guidelines at tsa.gov. The TSA has also provided a list of hints and tips for holiday travel, some of which include the following:

  • When going through a security check point, liquid, gel and aerosol containers must measure 3.4 ounces or less in a quart sized zip top bag (Hint: 1 bag per passenger is permitted).
  • Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.).
  • Give yourself enough time to arrive at the airport early (this could mean arriving at the airport three hours or more before your flight).
  • Wear easily removable shoes.
  • Before entering a checkpoint, be sure to place all items from pockets and any bulky metal jewelry in carry-on bag or purse.

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