The Corliss Group Review: Travelgirl tips: Start planning your holiday vacation now!

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)  When it comes to holiday travel, flexibility will always be the key to getting the best rates and maintaining your sanity.

Travel off-peak to pay less and avoid the crowds. For example, everyone wants to travel the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Consider taking an extra day off on either end to get a better deal on your flight and avoid congestion on the roads and at the airport.

Another way to beat holiday travel stress is to create unique traditions. The calendar says Christmas is December 25th, but talk with your family and see if everyone can agree to celebrate the holiday on an alternate date, perhaps the weekend before or after. Flying family members could save a bundle, and the driving crowd will avoid highway crunch time.

Keep in mind that flights usually cost less if you travel on the actual holidays: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Eve.

If you’re lucky to have friends or relatives overseas, embrace opportunities to make international memories. Maybe a student is studying abroad, or a business executive is on temporary assignment. Take advantage of this alternate home base and make it this year’s “home for the holidays.” It will probably require more work and expense than driving over the river and through the woods, but you won’t regret it!

If you do plan to leave New Orleans for a foreign land, check your credit cards. Not only to confirm your credit limits, but also to be sure that the physical cards are chip-enabled. Many overseas ATMs require microchips that your cards may not have if you haven’t received a new one lately.

Call for a replacement card well in advance of your trip, and while you’re at it, ask about international fees. Some companies offer a “travel card” option with no international transaction fees, but these can take four to six weeks to arrive, so check with your credit card companies now, during the planning stages of your journey.

Start the holiday season right by giving yourself the gift of stress-relief when it comes to travel planning.

I’m Stephanie Oswald and I’ll see you next time.

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