HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIPS – from the experts at LA Times Travel

Huntington Library Christmas Tree, ©Caroline O'Connell

The holidays – everyone’s favorite time of year. Lots to look forward to, but the hassle of traveling is not one of them. To arm their subscribers with tools for upcoming holiday trips, the Los Angeles Times Travel Staff held an afternoon seminar yesterday at their building in downtown Los Angeles. A record number of people are predicted to fly this holiday season (more than 28 million over Thanksgiving weekend alone).

Huntington Library Christmas Tree, ©Caroline O’Connell 

Related: Ready to travel?  Read Caroline’s Travel Stories to Save Time and Money!

Here is some advice they shared:

  • Times Travel Editor Catharine Hamm reminded us to leave early for the airport (she gets there hours early for domestic and international flights); this is especially important when holiday traffic on the roads and at airports is at its peak.
  • If you plan to use Uber or Lyft, don’t count on getting a ride to the airport, unless you schedule a pick-up ahead. The same for airport parking; if you’re driving to the airport, you need to reserve a parking space beforehand.
  • The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) security at airports will be tighter, which means more attention to electronic devices and questioning travelers about their trips. Another reason to get to the airport in plenty of time.
  • Times Travel Deals writer Mary Forgione says there will be many good online travel deals this year on Black Friday (Nov. 24th) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 27th). She recommends checking out the travel purveyors that you like (or dream of using) to see what they’re offering and when you need to log onto their sites to score the deals. She cautioned to “read the fine print.”
Packing demonstration from Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman, ©Caroline O’Connell

Paul Lasley (Exec. Prod., On Travel Media) and Elizabeth Harryman (Westways magazine Travel Editor) gave a demonstration on how to pack light for the holidays and year-round. Tips include packing items that can do double duty (a t-shirt by day can be worn under a jacket with a scarf for evening), stick to a few colors and pack separates you can mix and match to cut down on how many clothes you will need, and throw in a lightweight bag you can use for bulky items you pick up on your trip (i.e. holiday gifts to bring home).

If you pack light, you’re able to carry your two small bags on the plane and avoid waiting for your bag at your destination or worrying about the airline sending it to another city.

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Look for more valuable advice in next Sunday’s (11/19/17) LA Times travel section.

Final Note: One of my favorite holiday events, that doesn’t require traveling if you live in Los Angeles, is the annual ‘Champagne & Shopping’ afternoon at the Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino, for members – listen to strolling carolers and sip complimentary champagne, while browsing temporary stands of unique handcrafted holiday gifts. Membership required for this event in late November; you can go other days for free to see the festive atmosphere in their Gift Shop and find unusual, artistic gifts. [Photo above of Huntington Library Christmas tree, with origami decorations, from last year.]


CAROLINE O’CONNELL is the author of five guidebooks on Paris and southern California, and she has written numerous travel articles covering Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, among others (website,