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Orbitz Shares Thanksgiving Travel Tips and Trends

November 9, 2011

Orbitz Insider Index provides helpful tips about Thanksgiving travel trends.

Los Angeles' LAX, Chicago's O'Hare and Orlando International will be the nation's busiest airports this Thanksgiving, according to data released today by Orbitz. Meanwhile, two other airports in California - Mineta San Jose International (SJC) and John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County - as well as Kahului Airport on Maui will be among the least crowded with holiday travelers.

"While it's a given that airports will be busier than usual during the holidays, with just a bit of advance planning, that trip home for turkey day can actually be a fun experience," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior travel editor for "In addition, there's so much that can be done online ahead of time - from checking in and checking bags to choosing seats and mapping out airport diversions and eateries - that can help minimize stress and up the fun factor on what is, after all, a family vacation for many of us."

Tornatore suggests five tips to help you enjoy the journey, not just the destination during holiday travel

Parents: Leave those laces tied:  A recent rule change by the TSA allows children 12 years old and younger to leave their shoes on when going through airport security, a welcome change and time-saver for parents.

Delightful distractions:  Another great perk for parents of young ones are airport play spaces and interactive exhibits. Several airports, such as Chicago O'Hare International and San Francisco International Airport have special areas designed with kids in mind.

Do it ahead and online:  Checking in and printing boarding passes at home (or downloading a virtual boarding pass to your smartphone) is a great way to skip past lines at the airport. Make sure to have a seat assignment, too. Baggage fees for some airlines are lower when paid in advance online, so consider that option as well. Finally, check the status of your flight before leaving for the airport. Orbitz customers can receive alerts on their smartphones, that can also be sent to up to six friends or family members meeting them at the airport.

Map out airport transportation and parking options:  Some airport lots let you make advance reservations, while others provide real-time information on availability in each lot.  Another option is to skip driving to the airport altogether by ordering a shuttle or sedan service, with reservations for many airports available on or other online sites.

Choose alternate airports:  If you haven't booked your Thanksgiving travel yet - or if you're looking ahead to Christmas or New Year's - consider using alternative smaller airports. These are often easier to navigate and less crowded. For example, if you're traveling to San Francisco, consider flying into San Jose or Sacramento, two of the least-busy airports serving the greater Bay Area. Chicago travelers might have better luck with Midway International (MDW), while those heading into or out of the Los Angeles area may save time by going through John Wayne Airport in Orange County.



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