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We’re all about smart travel hacks at any time of year – but we wanted to share our favourites with you this week as the Thanksgiving season is the time where you may really, really need them. The weather outside is frightful, the traffic at airports and borders is far from delightful, and it seems the entire United States (and quite a bit of Canada) is trying to get home, or to someone else’s home, so they can eat a turkey. Far be it for us to point out that Christmas is a few short weeks away – a holiday with pretty much the exact same objective – all we want to do is make your travel life smoother and more productive. So here you go – 3 ways to save your sanity this Thanksgiving:
Use those rewards: Now is the time to cash in on any upgrade, line-skipping, or airport lounge time owed to you by an airline or travel partner. With the amount of bodies passing through airports in the next few weeks, a quiet, executive seat in a lounge with a drink and an outlet for your laptop could be the difference between making it to your destination in one piece or as a frazzled wreck of a traveler. Use those points for car hire too, it’ll save time at your destination and there’s a good chance you’ll be offered extras like GPS or heated seats, a godsend when you step out into the freezing winter.
Choose your days carefully: If you haven’t bought your ticket yet you’re probably in trouble but for future reference: the day before thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward are always the most popular days to travel, and should be avoided at all costs. It may sound crazy but don’t completely rule out trains for some cities, especially on the east coast. The Acela high-speed Amtrack train from Boston to New York Penn Station takes about 3.5 hours, which is less than it would take you to drive to the airport, get through all that airport security, fly to NYC, and take a shuttle from the arrivals gate into Manhattan.
Get tecchie: Use all the technology you can to make your trip run smoother. Check in online 24 hours in advance, and download that boarding pass to your phone. Use the FlightTrack app to check detailed information on departure gates, delays and cancellations, download WeatherPro to check the temperature of your destination (and pack accordingly), and book transport with Uber, so there’s a car to pick you up when you arrive.