Tips for (nearly) painless travel this Thanksgiving

A scene from last year at the Regan National Airport in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 24, 2010.

With Nov. 23 being the busiest travel day of the year, Thanksgiving travel is always a stressful experience. But you need to see your family sometime,  so we asked Gabe Saglie, senior editor of Travelzoo — an online publisher of travel, entertainment and local deals — how to avoid the top headaches. Wondering how to handle the  stress of your family when you finally get to your destination? Well, you’ll have to figure that out on your own.

1. Don’t check bags, but if you must …

Think like a business traveler and avoid checking bags altogether. But be sure to adhere to carry-on limits, as they’re especially enforced during holiday travel periods.  If you must check bags, don’t over-pack; some overweight bags cost $100 if they’re more than 50 pounds — or $400 if they’re more than 70 pounds on international flights.

2. Be transparent

The plastic baggie is your friend, so know the TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule: limit liquids and gels to 3-ounce containers in 1 quart-sized zip-top baggie, and 1 bag per flyer. Also, do not wrap Christmas gifts, as anything that looks suspicious could be unwrapped at security.

3. Use technology to your advantage

Download apps to help keep track of things like schedule and gate changes, weather and alternate flights; Travelzoo’s iPhone app (and others on the market) allow travelers to browse, book and redeem geo-targeted travel and entertainment deals from their phone, without having to print from a computer.  Also, check in from your computer as close to 24 hours before your flight as possible — and program as many details of your itinerary as possible into your smartphone.

4. Package as much as you can up front

Bundling as many aspects of your vacation as possible will save you money. Include things like hotels, show tickets, tours, transportation, etc. to make your overall travel simpler and easier.

5. Consider alternate modes of transportation

Want to avoid airport lines, fees and delays?  Map out a highway route and make it a family road trip; just be sure to keep tabs on the weather. And look at travel by train or even bus to both cut travel costs and to create a unique, memorable travel experience. 


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.