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Holiday travel can be rife with hassle - inflated ticket prices, security holdups and packing dilemmas when it comes to accommodating gifts and pets. Here's how to ease the stress.

Travelling with Gifts

Have you considered whether your holiday gifts will meet today's tough security standards? These tips will get you through security scot-free.

  • CHECK 'EM If you're planning on stashing gifts in your carry-on, think again. Instead, bubble wrap breakables and liquids over three ounces and pack them in your checked baggage.
  • PACK 'EM The same goes for sharp objects. Visit tsa.gov for a list of restricted items.
  • DON'T WRAP 'EM Don't bother wrapping any presents until you've reached your destination. They may be ripped open for inspection.

Flying for Less

It is possible to fly for less during peak travel season, if you know where to find the deals. Start with these tips.

  • GO CHARTER Charter airlines that fly to the most popular destinations will have the best deals on airfares during the holidays. Places like Hawaii and Mexico are a good bet as competition among the major carriers helps keep prices down.
  • FLEX YOUR DATES Flexibility is key when it comes to finding a deal and avoiding some of the crowds. Consider flying on Christmas Day. It's usually less busy and a little cheaper.

Flying with Fluffy without Freaking Her Out

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Pets are family, too, and if you can't bear to leave them behind, there are options. Check whether your airline allows pets, and if they're good to go, follow these tips for a smooth flight.

  • CALL AHEAD AND RESERVE Not all airlines have space for pets in the cargo hold over the holidays, so call ahead before booking. If you have a avery small dog or a cat, you may be able to bring it into the passenger cabin. Most airlines only allow a few pets on-board at a time, though, so reserve well in advance.
  • BRING ID Make sure your pet has as much ID as possible and label your pet's carrier prominently with your contact inforamtion.
  • FLY DIRECT If your pet's seat is in cargo, try to choose the shortest possible flight to minimize Fid's time in a potentially scary environment.
  • LABEL IT Ensure your pet's crate meets airline requirements and is clearly labelled "Live Animal" with an arrow pointing up.
  • ESCHEW LOCKS Keep the cage unlocked so a crew member can open it in case of emergency.