Christmas is once again approaching fast and for the first time in years, this holiday season comes without travel and border restrictions. This means you can expect millions of fellow Aussies to be travelling both across the country and abroad this silly season.
Travel can be hectic even at the best of times, but between Christmas and the New Year, things can be a bit extra chaotic. To better ensure your Christmas break plans are merry this year, we have some travel tips for you for the holiday break.
And remember, the best gift you can give yourself is comprehensive travel insurance, whether you plan on visiting family domestically this Christmas or heading off to Bali for a much-needed exotic getaway.
Parking spots at airport terminals tend to fill up fast over the Christmas season, especially long-term parking. You’d be wise to book early online to secure a spot close to the airport, or you may be forced to park in budget car park further from the terminals which may require a shuttle. The last thing you want is even more delays at the airport.
You may also want to think about booking hotel parking in advance as well if needed, especially at popular hotels located near big Christmas events such as Sydney’s Carols in the Domain or Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight.
You should also expect the roadways to be busier around the Christmas season, so leave plenty of time to arrive at the airport on time.
You’ll want to avoid airline counters whenever possible, so online check-in is your friend around the festive season. You’ll be able to get your boarding pass easy and get alerts sent straight to your phone that detail check-in and boarding times, departure gates, and which carousel your bags will be on.
If family is planning to pick you up from the airport, they can also make use of handy apps that track flights so they will know if you are delayed or not.
Further avoid counters at hotels by downloading hotel apps which will allow you to check-in often days in advance and possibly get mobile room keys sent to your phone. They can notify you when your room is ready and may offer mobile chat options where you can easily ask questions you may have about the hotel and its amenities as well as local transportation options.
This is a good time to inspect your luggage. Be sure to remove any old airline tags and barcode stickers as well as update any ID tags that may have outdated contact information. You may also want to invest in smart tags that allow you to track where your luggage is via an app.
Because airport traffic will be quite high, there is the potential that checked baggage may not receive as much attention and care due to time constraints and sheer volume of bags coming through the airport.
For this reason, you want to make sure your bags are as durable as possible, especially if travelling with Christmas gifts. If your bags have holes, broken zippers, or wheels that are on their last legs, maybe purchase yourself an early Christmas present and get new luggage.
The goal again is to do everything you can to minimise stress and avoid potential problems.
While many COVID-restrictions have eased, it’s still important to do everything in your power to stay healthy. Nobody wants to spend Christmas ill, so keep washing those hands and sanitising those high-use areas like airplane tray tables, seat belts, and entertainment screens.
Be sure to get any necessary or recommended immunisations if heading overseas and always make sure you have packed more than enough essential medications you are taking. Continuing to practice social distancing whenever possible is still a good idea to help prevent the spread of a range of illnesses.
While travel insurance may come to the rescue overseas when it comes to needing medical treatment, it’s still best to avoid getting sick in the first place. And if simply visiting family or friends at home here in Australia, you don’t want to pass along any sicknesses to them over the holidays.
Many travellers will be packing Christmas gifts in their luggage and if you’re one of them, there are some things you should be aware of. If you bought a new cricket bat for your nephew, be sure to put it in your checked luggage as it won’t be allowed in carry-on.
A number of items are considered potentially dangerous so be sure to look up the details of what is allowed in checked and carry-on luggage before you start packing. Be aware of electronic presents that contain batteries as certain batteries such as lithium-ion batteries are not allowed in checked luggage.
Never wrap Christmas presents as all your hard work may be undone when airport security officials end up being the ones to open them for security reasons instead of their intended recipients.
If you’ve purchased Christmas crackers for your family holiday barbecue note that they may not be allowed in luggage. Some Australian airlines allow a limited quantity to be placed in checked luggage only.
And maybe leave a bit of space in your carry-on in case you want to do a little last minute Christmas shopping at the airport. Don’t forget that shipping your gifts to your destination may also be an option that reduces the amount of luggage you have to bring with you and may end up being cheaper than the cost of checking bags.
While we don’t have to worry about a snowstorm ruining our Christmas plans here in Australia, we can get thunderstorms, cyclones, and bushfires. That is why it’s important to add a natural disaster travel insurance upgrade to your policy so you have coverage if one should impact your travel plans. Always read the PDS to understand the details of your policy and add-ons.
And remember that Christmas across most of Australia means sun and heat, so remember to pack sunscreen and hat, while also remembering to stay hydrated while travelling.
You may also want to consider weatherproofing your home as much as possible while you’re away. Secure outdoor furniture and other loose items in case of high winds and get bushfire ready by doing things like mowing your lawn, cleaning your gutters, and trimming overhanging trees and shrubs.