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Your 2022 Holiday Travel Guide: How to Win On a Challenging Holiday Travel Season

holiday travel
Allianz - holiday travel

Holiday travel can always be a tough nut to crack — even if you have a well-built nutcracker.

But for a slew of reasons — from expected increases in the sheer number of travelers to higher anticipated costs — holiday travel from the end of 2022 into the beginning of 2023 may be tougher than usual.

But not to worry! With a little advance planning and preparation, you can make it to your destination and back with a smile on your face and some extra jingle in your pocket — even if you’re taking flight this season.

And that’s exactly why we’re here to help. Soon enough, you’ll be checking your well-informed holiday travel list — maybe even checking it twice.

The Holiday Travel Forecast

We told you that holiday travel this season could be a bit more… exciting. But why exactly? Good question.

There are a number of factors swirling together to make early planning critical to a smooth trip, whether you’re setting sail for Plymouth, Mass. or sledding to the real North Pole (located just outside Fairbanks, AK).

You can credit everything from inflation and rising fuel prices to a tough labor market and simply the truth that so many people are ready to travel — in fact, more than during pre-pandemic levels.1

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers’ annual Holiday Outlook, about half (47 percent) of respondents said they were planning to escape their backyards this holiday season. Now compare that with one-third of U.S. consumers, which is the amount that traveled during the holidays in 2019. That’s a pretty big spike, right? And while that total was already surpassed in 2021, when 40 percent of Americans took to the roads and skies, that extra bump is significant — especially for air passengers. That’s because 46 percent of travelers plan to reach their holiday destination by plane, which again, is a far greater tally than in the previous two years.2

Holiday Travel Tips & Tricks

There’s nothing more frustrating than figuring out the perfect plan for your holiday travel — after you’ve already arrived back home. With our expertly curated tips and tricks, you can forget about troubleshooting tough treks in hindsight. Instead, make it your best holiday travel season ever.

  • Ready, Set, Buy Airfare
    Some travelers try to decipher the airlines’ pricing algorithms. And by all accounts, there’s a science to scoring the best deals on airfare that sometimes involves waiting for the right moment before pouncing on a deal. But by all accounts, you can throw out that thinking this season. That’s because airfare is already outpacing pre-pandemic levels, with Thanksgiving holiday airfare up 22 percent on average compared with 2019 and Christmas fares up 31 percent. So, if you haven’t yet secured your ticket, search high and low — but act with some urgency.3
  • Hop Across the Pond
    While Thanksgiving is perhaps the peak of holiday travel, that’s only in the United States. If you expand your travel footprint to international destinations, you’ll actually find that it’s a low-demand, cost-effective time to fly.3
  • Celebrate a Mile High
    The days right before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even News Year’s feature full flights and crowded terminals. But if you fly on Turkey Day or Dec. 25, you’ll find greater availability of flights, cheaper prices, and even a bit more elbow room. Other ideal days to fly over the ‘22 – ‘23 holidays include Dec. 19 and Dec. 20 — then threading the needle by waiting until after Xmas but before New Year’s Eve to return.4
  • Take Advantage of Downtime
    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the biggest and busiest airports in the world. On an average day, the wait to go through security is 26 minutes. During the holiday travel season, it can triple or worse. So, bring something along to pass the time. Pro tip: bellying up to the Terminal Bar & Grill is a great time to research your destination and download all the travel apps you’ll need to make your trip more enjoyable.5
  • Double Check your PreCheck Availability
    One obvious way to cut down on airport wait times is to apply for TSA PreCheck, which expedites security screening. If you’re sweating the $85 application fee, which can cover 5 years of the program, then be sure to check your credit cards for unused benefits. TSA PreCheck and Global Entry — a similar program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection — are increasingly available as perks for certain credit cards. Consider it a holiday gift to yourself — because you deserve it!4

Gift Yourself Peace of Mind

We get it, any trip can come with speed bumps and detours. But during the holidays, we’re already dealing with so much, from filling extra bags to the brim with gifts to making sure there’s plenty of quality family time. Plus, for the same reason we may purchase the extra warranty for our daughter’s new bike before tying a bow on it, travel insurance can provide a financial recourse in the event something goes awry.

Because of that and so many other factors, the holidays may just be the right time to consider travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance if you haven’t before. This is our final tip, and it’s our biggest by far. Deciding to pick up travel insurance is an easy decision. But you’ll want to carve out a little time to decide which plan is right for your itinerary and budget.

A good place to start is with the Allianz Global Assistance OneTrip Prime plan. Our most popular plan, OneTrip Prime provides a unique benefit that anyone traveling with kids will surely appreciate: free coverage for children under 17 (not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents). That’s just the beginning, as the plan also includes benefits that are extra helpful when there are so many bags and packages flying around: Baggage Loss/Damage (up to $1,000) and Baggage Delay (up to $300), the latter of which can be automatically paid out as a $100-covered-baggage-delay-benefit to use for emergency purchases.

Add Travel Delay, Emergency Medical, and two services that can come in handy during a tough spot — 24-hour Hotline Assistance and Concierge Assistance — and the full picture of the OneTrip Prime plan’s value starts to come into focus.

Of course, we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to plans and benefits available through Allianz Global Assistance. You can bump up to OneTrip Premier to increase coverage levels as well as expand the covered reasons for Trip Cancellation. And we’ve only mentioned our OneTrip plans. If you’re an avid traveler or simply plan on taking more than two trips in 12 months, then it makes dollars and sense to check out our AllTrips multi-trip plans.6

Finally, there’s one more travel insurance-related tip for holiday travel: be sure to download the TravelSmart App before boarding your sleigh. Check out your plan details, receive trip alerts, find pre-screened local hospitals, and even make a claim right from your smartphone.7

Travel insurance isn’t a holiday miracle. But it is peace of mind at a time of year when you can use it most. When it sits atop your holiday travel checklist, you’re good to go.

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