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10 Expert Tips for Smart Travel over Thanksgiving

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Next week is Thanksgiving and some of the busiest travel days of the year. According to AAA, there will be 43.6 million travelers going over 50 miles or more this year. Yes, there will be traffic on the roads and gridlock in the airports–watch out for O’Hare and LAX, according to Orbitz’s study on the busiest Thanksgiving airports. But Thanksgiving travel doesn’t have to be all crowds and hassle. Instead, we’ve put together a 360 guide to upgrading every aspect of the travel experience.

Travel Planning:

Peter likes to be blunt, “Let’s call Thanksgiving what it is, an obligatory dysfunctional family get-together. You’re forced to confront your demented uncle. Your crazy aunt that gets to push all your emotional buttons. And the worst part? You have to spend an arm and a leg paying for it.” Find out his secrets to better travel while satisfying some family obligations

It almost seems like it’s too late score a travel deal over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Instead of just going online and searching for peak holiday weekend travel days, follow Peter’s 4-step plan to avoid those seasonal mark ups.

Additionally, airline consolidation means that there are fewer flights and fuller planes, so you have to book earlier or you will be paying a significantly higher fare. Watch Peter’s CBS This Morning report for all his expert travel advice for scoring a deal in the 2012 holiday season.

Tight on money this year? Travel Correspondent Alyssa Caverley shares the five essential tips for traveling home during the 2012 season. Get her advice for booking flights, using award points and finding ways to travel when it feels like you can barely make rent.

Flying:

It’s not just about saving money; sometimes it’s about spending a little more to get more value on your dollar. And nothing needs an upgrade more than the coach flying experience. Don’t worry, you don’t need to splurge on real china and endless wine in business or first class.  Instead, watch  Alyssa Caverley offers her guide on how and when to upgrade to preferred or comfort seats and the additional perks that are definitely worthwhile.

If you believe the meteorologists, we have another storm heading to the East Coast and just might hit in time to snarl Northeast travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. But that’s not the only travel hazard out there. We review recent incidents of airport theft, flight delays and questionable TSA activity to be prepare for any potential Thanksgiving hazard.

Driving:

If you plan it correctly, driving can save you time and money. Alyssa Caverley continues her Holiday Travel How-To series with her four-step Thanksgiving road-trip plan with solutions to dealing with bad weather, using gas efficiently, and making it to your destination safe and sound and in time for turkey.

Know when to hit the road…It’s no secret that Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest times for travel during the year, so if you’re one of the 43.6 million Americans (39.1 million drivers) AAA is predicting will be traveling at least 50 miles from home this year, here are five secrets to give you an advantage over the Thanksgiving gridlock.

Hotels:

Even if you are on a tight budget, you can find clean, convenient and affordable options. It’s not just about a cheap hotel; it’s about how to find value without sacrificing comfort, opting for budget chains with money-saving perks and exploring vacation rental alternatives. Watch as Travel Correspondent Alyssa Caverley shares the five essential tips for finding good accommodations during peek Holiday travel days.

Black Friday Shopping:

Thanksgiving doesn’t just mean turkey, it means travel. And booking future travel for those in the know.  This week, plan ahead and book your next vacation with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even some deals kicking off on Wednesday!

By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com

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