6 Tips to Prepare for Holiday Travel

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The busiest travel days of the year are expected to be even busier this year. AAA expects 42.5 million Americans -- a 4% increase over last year -- to travel during Thanksgiving weekend, November 23 to November 27.

Most holiday travelers (nearly 90%) will drive to their Thanksgiving destination of choice. But that doesn't mean airports won't be crowded this weekend. Despite higher fares and capacity cuts, the number of people flying is expected to increase 1.8% to 3.4 million.

Regardless of your mode of transportation this weekend, it pays to be prepared before you hit the road or take to the skies. Here are tips for both auto and air travelers:


Auto travelers

1. Give your car a checkup. Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is prepared for the trip with these nine winter car maintenance tips .

2. Stock up on emergency items. Whether it's car trouble or bad weather, you don't want to be stranded on the side of the road without the proper gear. From a first-aid kit to flares, make sure your vehicle is stocked with these 10 must-haves for holiday travel .

3. Download free travel apps. You can save time and money by downloading mobile applications. For example, you can use your smart phone to comparison shop for the lowest gas prices in your zip code with a free app such as GasBuddy. Here are more free travel apps you should consider downloading.

Air travelers

1. Know your new rights. Several new protections for air travelers kicked in this summer, including a rule that requires increased compensation for passengers who are bumped from oversold flights. To learn more, see New Protections for Air Travelers in Effect .

2. Know how to deal with travel disruptions. If bad weather disrupts your travel plans this weekend, you need to know what steps to take to get on the next available flight or get a hotel room if you're going to be stranded overnight. For tips, see How to Deal With Travel Disruptions and What to Do if You're Stranded While Traveling .

3. Know how to get airlines to respond to your complaints. If you're unhappy with the way an airline is treating you, you might have more luck getting your problem resolved by using Twitter. You probably can type a complaint in 140 characters or less (the Twitter limit) faster than you can get through to an airline's customer service representative. And with more than 180 airlines tweeting (see AirlinesonTwitter.com ), chances are good that an airline representative will see your complaint.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Insurance

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