Pack carry-ons neatly. Use clear zip-top bags to help organize your clothes, and pack in layers so that screeners can easily see what is inside, and coil electronic cords carefully. If transportation security officers (TSOs) can't tell what is in your bag from an X-ray, your bags will likely have to go through an extra manual search.
Pack holiday goods appropriately. If you're flying home for the holidays, don't wrap gifts, since TSOs may have to unwrap them for inspection. Also, liquid and gel-like foods, such as cranberry sauce, gravy, and salad dressing will be confiscated, so ship them ahead or put them in your checked bag. Cakes and pies are allowed, but may require additional screening.
Dress for success. Before you head to the airport, empty your pockets of loose change, wear minimal jewelry, and avoid wearing a belt so you have fewer items to remove for the metal detector. Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on. And if your travels include someplace cold, try to wear one jacket you can remove easily.
Choose your line carefully. Many airports now offer three lines for travelers: Expert, Casual, and Family. If you're traveling with little ones or have liquids that must be declared, choosing the latter will help minimize stress.
With millions of people traveling through airports, train and bus stations – let alone the confined space of those planes, trains and buses – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to take extra caution.
"People are in close contact -- whether they're on a plane, train, ship or just visiting with loved ones," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a statement. "We know that flu -- and specifically H1N1 this year -- is a big concern for people, but flu shouldn't ruin the holidays. By practicing a little prevention, people can enjoy their holidays and stay well at the same time."
The CDC suggests traveling only when feeling well, getting vaccinations, washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
The nation's passenger rail service says it expects Wednesday to be the heaviest single travel day of the year. It is predicting as many as 125,000 passengers. (A typical Wednesday last year had 74,000 passengers.)
Amtrak is adding extra cars on some lines in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast Corridor and lines out of Chicago on Wednesday and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
The railroad suggests that passengers purchase tickets in advance -- either online, at its QuikTrak ticket vending machines, at ticket windows or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. Amtrak suggests arriving at the train station at least 45 minutes before departure.
Amtrak limits passengers to two carry-on bags per person (excluding laptops, purses, and briefcases). Passengers are required to show valid photo identification when purchasing tickets. Make sure to carry valid photo ID at all times, as it may be requested aboard trains.