5 tips to improve your business travel experience during the holidays

airport terminal

Individuals traveling for business might experience delays and other issues throughout the year, but these occurrences are particularly common during the holiday season. As families are flying to visit relatives for Thanksgiving or heading to warmer climates during the days following this holiday, airports become more congested and hectic.

Business travel is particularly difficult between U.S. Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, as many families travel around this time of year. If you are staying in Canada or are not flying into a U.S. airport, Thanksgiving should not conflict with your plans. However, if your trip prompts you to travel a few days before or after Christmas, you should expect crowds no matter your destination.

Holiday season business travel doesn't have to be stress-inducing. There are several ways you can improve your traveling experience during peak times and dates.

1. Use business travel loyalty points
If you don't normally use your organization's loyalty program when traveling for business, this would be the time to do so. Since more passengers travel during the holiday season, getting a seat on a flight could be difficult. Loyalty points might secure you a seat on a sought-after flight, or they could improve the location of your sit onboard a crowded flight.

2. Consider flying on Christmas Day
If you don't celebrate Christmas or don't mind cutting down on present-opening and eggnog-drinking, you might think about flying Dec. 25. On Christmas Day, travel costs can be cheaper than during peak travel times, according to Forbes. In addition, airports attract fewer crowds on Christmas Day than they do on most other days during the holiday season.

3. Pack lightly
Flight delays are common occurrences during peak holiday travel dates. If your flight is canceled, you will have an easier time rescheduling your flight if you have your baggage on hand. If you check your luggage, you might have to wait for it for hours. You might even risk losing your checked belongings if the airport staff loads your bag on the wrong connection. Packing only the essentials in a carry-on will save you a headache if your travel plans do not go as anticipated.

4. Plan connections carefully
Due to the common nature of flight delays during the holidays, be strategic when booking connecting flights. Provide a time cushion between flights so you don't risk missing your connection, or so you don't have to sprint through the airport to make it to the gate on time. An even better solution is to schedule nonstop flights. When available, direct flights can turn a three-hour delay from a dire stress to a minor inconvenience.

5. Arrive at the airport early
During peak travel times, you might experience long lines to get through security. The holidays typically attract people who do not travel frequently and may forget to remove their liquids or laptops from their carry-on bags. Traffic on the roads on your way to the airport might be busier as well. Try to arrive at the airport earlier than you normally might to keep your trip worry-free.

Contact your travel insurance provider for further assistance.

The information contained here is provided by Brafton. AIG Travel assumes no responsibility for the use, accuracy, or interpretation of the information contained herein.