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6 ways to survive traveling during the holidays

Holiday Beach Travel Deals - CheapCaribbean.com

So you've decided to spend part of the holiday season on a Caribbean beach somewhere? Smart choice. Opting for sunshine and blue waters to combat the hustle & bustle that is this season is a great idea. But the journey to paradise can often times be a bit daunting, especially during the holidays. Let's talk about all the ways you can conquer the holiday travel beast, so you're nothing but prepared.

Pack light:

It may seem obvious to offer you a friendly reminder about to not bring everything in your wardrobe, but this is an easy tip if you're looking to cut travel times and arrive beach front ASAP. If you can manage to get everything you need into a carry on bag and bring it with you on the plane, you not only don't have to spend the extra time checking your bag pre-departure and waiting for your bag once you arrive, but you'll often times save money on the fee to check bags. Oh, but be sure to check the carry-on restrictions of the airline you'll be flying with. There are often times size and weight restrictions to be aware of. Plus, if you're heading to the beach the only real requirements should be a few bathing suits and a good pair of flip flops, of course!

Leave early:

The week of Thanksgiving kicks off a month of crowded airports and high-traffic travel, so be prepared. Whether you're a professional jetsetter and you travel all the time, or this is your first time to experience pure and utter beach bliss, always give yourself more time than you need during this season. There will most definitely be lines, delays, and possibly even cancellations. While CheapCaribbean.com promises to do everything we can to support you before & during your travel itinerary, it's always a smart idea to give yourself some extra time when arriving at the airport just in case.

Travel on off-peak days:

There's a definite science to how to you plan your vacations and days off during the travel season, and of course sometimes your schedule can be very tight. But a great way to stay on budget and perhaps snag an even better deal than you would normally get, is to travel on off-peak days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. So if you can plan to leave for your vacation on Thanksgiving Day or any other actual holiday, you'll most definitely save a few bucks AND avoid some of the crowds. Sounds like a plan, if you ask us!

Leave early or late in the day:

Another way to avoid crowds and long lines is to travel during off-peak hours. Look for the flight that leaves super early in the AM or is the last flight out for the day. Peak holiday travel times tend to be 10am to 6pm, so if you can manage to snag a flight before or after, you may be in better shape traffic-wise & perhaps budget-wise. Although this isn't a sure guarantee, it's something to consider when making your travel plans.

Use your resources:

A great way to stay ahead and be prepared for it all this holiday travel season is to stay informed. Utilize the resources and technology out there to keep you up-to-date on flight delays, gate changes, transportation options, etc., etc. A great resource is to look for an app from your airline on your smart phone. You can often times set up manual alerts, but you'll also get alerts as they happen. Also, apps such as Gate Guru or Flight Status are great for getting instant updates while you're at the airport.

Since you'll be in another country, apps like Free Wi-Fi Finder are a good option in that they can direct you to the closest hotspot to combat some of the data/roaming charges cellular companies often times like to hit you with when traveling internationally. You'll also want to check the Wi-Fi options at your resorts. Plenty of our preferred partners and resorts will offer free Wi-Fi or internet connectivity, once you arrive.

Relax & have fun:

And although you may not consider this a tip - we do, because, well, it's something to keep in mind. HAVE FUN! Don't let the craziness that is the holiday travel season turn you away from a good time. Know that the journey to get to the beach is just a small part of your ultimate holiday beach vacation. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You WILL make it through that like at airport security and you WILL make it through the three-hour flight. And once you do? It's all smooth sailing from there. Sunny skies, crystal clear waters, and ice cold frozen concoctions are calling your name.

So what are you waiting for? Have you booked your holiday beach vacation yet?

Brittany Innes is the try-anything-once spontaneous type with a knack for exploring new places and embracing her inner food-lover. She's also a big fan of college football and instagramming everything she eats, as she eats it (she's that girl).

Travel Tips: What to Expect at the Airport

Cheap Flights to the Caribbean - CheapCaribbean.com

Congratulations! You’ve just booked your first trip to the Caribbean. While you’re probably overly excited at the moment, you may also be wondering, “What happens next?”

Air travel can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time on a plane. You probably have a ton of questions about what goes down in an airport, but you may not be sure of where to look for answers. It’s ALWAYS better to be prepared, so we’ve gathered up a step-by-step list of what to expect at an airport.

  1. Pack Carefully - learn everything you need to know about packing for air travel (links to Packing for Air Travel article) before you head out to the airport.
  2. Timing Is Key – you won’t know where anything is, so give yourself plenty of time to make it from the airport parking lot, through long check-in and security lines, and to your gate on time. Nothing feels worse than missing your first flight.
  3. Keep Your Documentation On Hand – you’re going to be asked to present your passport and boarding pass multiple times, so you’ll need to find a way to keep them handy without risking losing them (a neck pouch usually does the trick).
  4. Head to the Check-In Desk – there are signs that guide you from the entry to your airline’s check-in area. But in case you need more detailed instructions of how to get to the check-in desk, feel free to ask attendants for help.
  5. Go Through Security – there’ll be plenty of signs to guide you along the process. Once you get to the screening machines, you’ll need to take your shoes and jacket off and place them in a plastic bin along with the plastic bags in which you’re carrying your 3-ounce liquids. If you have a laptop, you’ll need to place it in a bin by itself, outside of any case or carrying bag. Then you’ll place the bins on a conveyor belt so that they can be screened. An attendant will then ask you to step through the metal detector and once you’re cleared, you can pick your belongings up at the other end of the conveyor belt. There’ll be tables where you can place your bins if you need some time to get your shoes back on and put everything back where it belongs.
  6. Find Your Gate – look for your gate number on your boarding pass. If you can’t find it, just look for the electronic displays and find your flight and gate number there. Once you know your gate number, just follow the signs to get to your gate’s waiting area and then take a seat. Depending on how early you got to the airport, you might have to wait a while.
  7. Keep An Ear Out – important messages, like flight delays, will be announced over the PA system. Make sure you listen to what’s being said while you wait for your flight.
  8. Know Your Seat Number – once your flight is ready to board, a gate attendant will begin to call for boarding. Airlines usually board by row, so you’ll have to wait until your row is called. Once you’re in the plane, find your seat by checking the numbers above the rows.
  9. Know Where Your Carry-Ons Go – carry-on luggage can go in two places; large bags go in the overhead compartment and smaller bags go under the seat in front of you. Don’t close the overhead compartments, a flight attendant will come around and do that for you.
  10. Collect Your Checked Bags – once you land, exit the plane and follow signs leading you to baggage claim. Your flight number and departure city will be listed on electronic displays. Wait at the conveyor belt until you’ve collected your bags. If one is missing, talk to the airport staff.

Is there anything else you'd add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Roberto Jaimes is a Texas A&M graduate and a Web Content Editor at CheapCaribbean.com. Roberto can do a thing or two in Adobe Creative Suite and spends his free time watching/playing soccer and exploring Mexico and the Caribbean.