Traveling during the holiday season can be fun, but it also offers its fair share of anxious moments, stress and expense.
This year, between Thanksgiving weekend and New Year’s Day, an estimated 100 million Americans will travel by car, train or air to visit family or go on vacation, based on forecasts issued in previous years by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The key to avoiding stress and potential legal issues during the busy travel season is planning, according to Find-Law.com,the nation’s leading Web site for free legal information.
Here are some additional tips from FindLaw.comto keep your holiday travel plans safe and stress-free:
n Be sure you have all necessary travel documents. Valid identification, such as a state-issued driver’s license, is necessary beyond the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at the airport, and will certainly be essential if you want to rent a car at your destination. If you plan to leave the U. S., you must have a passport. According to the State Department, “All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air.” FindLaw advises that you apply for your passport at least six weeks before your trip. Also, make photocopies of all travel documents—the front and back of your license, or the information pages of your passport—and store them in a safe place in the event that your wallet or purse is stolen, or your luggage is lost.
n Do not advertise your trip on social media. Posting your travel plans online such as on social media sites is an open invitation to thieves. Contact your local law enforcement agency and notify them of your travel arrangements—they can offer you tips, help assess the risk of crimes in your neighborhood or add your property to a “watch list” if you are gone for an extended period. Also, make sure your neighbors are aware of your travel plans so they can watch for suspicious activity. Save the social sharing for after your trip.
n Pack smart and carefully. Avoid packing items that cause delays at airport security checkpoints. Ship gifts ahead of time and pack electronics and liquids as directed by the TSA (www.tsa.gov).For liquids, gels and aerosols, use the 3-1-1 rule—3.4-ounce bottle or less, by volume; placed in a one quart-sized clear, zip-top plastic bag; one bag per passenger. Carry all prescriptions in their original, clearly labeled bottles. Carefully follow all TSA rules pertaining to metal objects, including unloaded firearms, which must be declared at time of check-in.