The holidays are a notoriously busy season. Taking the time to gather with family for a traditional meal or relive the spirit of Christmas gives many of us a much needed break. However, not everyone takes a beat around the holidays. For those traveling on business during the upcoming months, we’ve created this holiday business travel guide just for you.
1. Fly on the holiday
According to Hipmunk data, flying on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the least busy days for travel during the holiday season. That means, as a business traveler, you’ll want to plan to fly on the holidays to avoid crowds at the airport or limited seating options on your flights. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ll also be pleased to know flying on the holidays is the most affordable time to fly, too—with Thanksgiving Day flights averaging 21 percent less than peak travel prices and Christmas Day flights costing 20 percent less on average. Let’s call that a win-win.
2. Plan ahead for long security lines
And by plan ahead, we mean sign up for (and utilize!) all available known traveler programs now, including TSA PreCheck, Global Entry (which includes a membership for TSA Pre), or CLEAR. These programs allow you to skip the daunting long lines typically found during the holiday season, helping you stress less about getting home in time to make Thanksgiving dinner.
Tip: Signing up for TripIt Pro gives you a four month free trial of CLEAR. With the holidays nearly here, there’s never been a better time to start the clock on those free four months.
3. Avoid the most weather-delayed airports
We know you don’t always have a say where business travel takes you. But perhaps you do have a say with regards to your flight path, or in this case, layovers. If you’re traveling for business during the holidays, a little research to avoid airports that typically receive snow—and subsequent weather-related delays—will go a long way in keeping your business trip on schedule.
So where should you avoid? According to The Weather Channel, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Denver International Airport (DEN), New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), and Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) all ranked among the top ten most weather-delayed airports of 2017 because of their susceptibility to snowstorms.
4. Buy two one-way tickets
Business travelers, it’s time to let you in on a little known travel hack. Sometimes, buying two one-way tickets versus the standard round-trip fare can not only provide you with more airline carrier options, it also has the potential to save you money, as well. This holiday season, if you’re trying to make it home from a business trip in time to sneak presents under the tree, yet find yourself limited by your outbound carrier’s schedule, try searching for two one-way tickets instead. With more flexibility—and a clear forecast on the horizon—you’ll be home to play Santa in no time.
5. Add on some me-time
If you’re not in a hurry to head back home for the holidays, why not tack on a day or two of fun after the work part of your trip is done? Chances are, you’ll be in good company—recent Concur Hipmunk data shows that 16 percent of business trip hotel bookings included a Saturday night stay. And according to SAP Concur travel and expense data from 2017, more than 2.2 million bleisure trips were taken by business travelers around the globe. Maybe taking a break around the holidays is in the cards for you this year after all.