Thanksgiving Holiday Flying Tips

Read this guide before heading out to the airport.

ByABC News
November 23, 2010, 1:55 PM

Nov. 24, 2010— -- I travel a lot. In fact, I've been on 79 flights, on 27 different airlines, and visited 20 countries so far in 2010, and it's not yet December.

Since I've been through my fair share of security checkpoints, I pretty much have it down when it comes to navigating the maze. The whole media buzz surrounding Wednesday's national "opt-out" day is a joke -- I don't think it's going to be any crazier than it usually is the day before Thanksgiving. Still, you'd have to pay me a lot to fly on Nov. 24 or any other peak holiday travel day. That's because it's much more expensive and the airports and planes are so crowded. It just takes the fun out of travel.

Worst of all, these days bring out what professional travelers call rookies: people who travel once or twice a year and have no clue about the procedures and tricks. If you fall into this category, then you'll want to read these tips because it won't make just your travels smoother but everyone else's around you.

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Show Up Early

It's not rocket science but don't wait until the last minute to get to the airport. According to AAA, there will be a record number of people traveling this Thanksgiving weekend -- 42.2 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more, so expect traffic getting to the airport. According to the Air Transport Association, it's estimated that around 24 million people will take to the skies during the 12-day period surrounding Thanksgiving Day.

It doesn't take a mathematician to realize that the lines at the airport will be long. If you don't have a friend or family member giving you a ride, book your taxi/shuttle or parking space well in advance. Most off-airport parking facilities allow users to pre-pay -- it's not only cheaper but it prevents the panic of showing up to a parking lot entrance only to see a Lot Full sign. I use Airport Parking Reservations and Park 'N Fly .