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We can all agree that travel comes with stress. Throw the holidays into the mix and it can be the absolute worst! This year, it is estimated that 25 million people flew during the days leading up to and after Thanksgiving.

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With Christmas and New Years approaching, we can expect a similar type of mob to fill the airports once again. This season, avoid stress and spaz outs with tips for ensuring peaceful and efficient airport travel.

1. Airline Tricks

If you have a baby, most airlines will let you check their car seat, crib and stroller for free; so don’t be afraid to pack everything you need for fear or checked baggage fees! To top that off, most major carriers give priority boarding to people with young kids, all you have to do is ask!

2. Travel with Carry-Ons

My favorite way to beat the airport blues is to squeeze everything into my 21 inch carry-on bag. As long as I check in the night before, I’ve gotten to the airport only 20 minutes before pre-board because I don’t have to check my bag according to the airline’s “hour before” regulations.

You also don’t have to wait the 30-60 minutes after leaving the plane at baggage claim. Buy those tiny plastic bottle toiletry kits and hand pack your favorite products and pop them in to your carry on.

3. Be Flexible

If you have any wiggle room whatsoever, check the “flexible dates” box that most online flight search engines have. You can save a ton of cash on holiday travel by flying at awkward times. Being able to change the date of your flight, even if it’s only by 12 hours gives you a lot of options that will help your wallet as well. I just booked last-minute Christmas travel for eight family members and saved $3,000 by moving their flights a half a day ahead from what I planned.

4. Spring For Economy Plus

In most cases, booking economy plus over regular economy is only about $50 bucks. In exchange for that extra fee is peace of mind, extra leg room, faster boarding/exiting and first grab and the drinks and snacks. If you have a long flight, the extra stretch and recline room will feel especially luxurious.

5. De-stress In The Airline Lounge

You may not know it, but all the major carriers have airline lounges in the airport. For $50 dollars you can gain access to their peaceful world. During the holidays, a lot of us may find ourselves with cancelled flights or major delays due to weather.

A great way to beat the stress in those moments is to head to the lounge, shell out some money and relax. Most lounges have free snacks (some, like Cathay Pacific will even have delish entire meals at your disposal), drinks, comfortable seating, areas to lay down, wifi and all the electrical outlets your heart and smartphone desires!

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