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5 Tips for Navigating the Busy Independence Day Travel Period

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Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
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Keri Stooksbury

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If you’re planning on catching a flight over the course of the next few days, you’ll want to listen up.

The TSA is expecting record numbers of travelers over the upcoming July Fourth holiday, which means passing through the airport could be a little more chaotic than what you’re used to.

“TSA is staffed and ready for the increasing travel volumes during this holiday travel period with the technologies and resources for improved security effectiveness, efficiency, and passenger experience at security checkpoints,” said David Pekoske, TSA Administrator.

Even with the TSA promising to be more ready than ever, there are also things you can do as a traveler.

Here are 5 tips we hope will make your holiday travel plans go as smoothly as possible.

1. Consider CLEAR

CLEAR uses biometrics to make passing through airport security a seamless and speedy process.

The best thing is, becoming a member is instant, so you’d be all set up and ready in time for your next flight.

While an annual membership costs $189, some credit cards get you a free CLEAR membership. In addition, some levels of elite status with certain airlines can get you discounts or even free membership.

For example, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you receive a credit of up to $189 for complimentary CLEAR Plus membership as one of the many perks and benefits of the Amex Platinum card.

Before enrolling, check to see if there’s a CLEAR lane at your local airport.

Image Credit: Chris Rank, Rank Studios via Delta

2. Use Public Transit

We know it’s not always possible or practical to take public transit to the airport but hear us out.

There’s nothing worse than starting your vacation in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway, watching as the minutes until your departure time tick away.

In large cities with robust transit networks such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., taking a train, bus, or subway to the airport can help you avoid frustrating gridlock and make it to the airport with plenty of time.

3. Know Your Options and Stay Ahead of the Game

Not only are the airports set to be busier than ever this holiday weekend, but much of the U.S. is experiencing a rash of summer storms, resulting in more flight delays and cancellations than usual.

At the first sign of a delay, opening up a flight-tracking app like FlightRadar24 to see exactly where your aircraft is can many times give you more accurate information about the whereabouts of your incoming aircraft than airport employees.

With that information, you could then take the required steps for switching onto an earlier or later flight — or a different routing altogether — so you can arrive at your destination as close to your planned arrival time as possible.

Similarly, be sure to check out which tools your airline provides for making a Plan B when Plan A goes awry.

For example, United’s recent app update includes a new feature for streamlining the flight rebooking process.

Image Credit: United Airlines

4. Pack Essentials in Your Carry-on

The combination of busier-than-usual airports and weather-related disruptions does not bode well for checked luggage.

If you’re planning on checking a bag when traveling over the holiday, we advise packing a few essentials — such as a change of clothes, extra snacks, and anything else you absolutely wouldn’t want to be without for a few days — in your carry-on luggage.

You won’t regret forward planning should you face the worst-case scenario.

Hot Tip:

With so many options to consider, we put this thorough guide to the best carry-on bags together to help you make your decision.

5. Be Kind

Traveling can be stressful at the best of times, let alone at peak periods like a major summer holiday.

At the end of the day, whether it’s your fellow travelers or airline and airport employees, everyone deserves to be treated with the same kindness you’d expect to receive yourself — no matter how frustrating or upsetting the situation may be.

Final Thoughts

If you’re traveling over the Fourth of July holiday, keep these tips in mind to help make your journey more relaxed and streamlined. We also have a detailed guide with tips and tricks for traveling over a holiday (to keep you sane).

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday, wherever your plans may take you.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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