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How to Plan Your Pandemic Holiday Air Travel

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People wearing masks walk through an airport with their luggage.

Photo: 1000 Words (Shutterstock)

Holiday travel is definitely going to look different this year. Many people will opt to stay home instead of hopping on planes to visit family and friends far away. Some of us (hi!) are totally OK with that—but if you are thinking about flying this winter, there are a few things to know before you book.

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First, and most importantly, expect the unexpected. The pandemic situation changes daily, so whether you start researching now or expect to catch a flight at the last minute, know that your trip may not play out as you hope. Delayed or canceled flights—even more than in an average holiday travel season—and shifting quarantine rules are just a few of the wrenches that could be thrown into your plans.

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Here are a few other considerations for your holiday 2020 itinerary.

Choose an airline with flexible booking policies

In response to the change and cancellation chaos caused by the pandemic, most major airlines have adjusted their policies to allow for no-fee ticket changes. Policies do vary between airlines, and there’s some fine print to pay attention to—for example, you may be allowed a limited number of free changes, and some economy tickets and many international itineraries will still incur a fee.

Plus, while you may not pay an extra fee to change your ticket, you will still owe the fare difference if you hop onto a more expensive flight. Make sure you check your airline’s policy before you book.

It’s also important to note that “free change” does not mean “refund if you cancel.” Some airlines (Delta and Southwest, for example) are offering vouchers or credits for canceled flights, but most airlines probably aren’t going to refund you cash just because you decide not to fly.

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Select the least risky itinerary

Holiday travel in a normal year is a nightmare of delays, missed connections, and weather-based cancellations. Passenger volume may not be as much of a concern this winter, but you should still plan ahead to minimize all of the same headaches.

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  • Depart early in the day so you’re already gone before delays begin build up.
  • Choose itineraries with longer connection times.
  • Select smaller (and less crowded) connection airports and, if possible, those with less risk of severe winter weather.

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Of course, these steps won’t prevent problems, since a snowstorm in Minneapolis could impact a flight connecting in Miami, but they may minimize your chances of getting completely stuck.

Wait it out

It’s hard to say how flight prices will fluctuate if you wait to book. In a normal year, tickets only get more expensive, but this year, prices could stay low or even drop the closer we get to the holidays. There’s also no guarantee that airlines won’t cancel itineraries. Use a ticket tracker like Google Flights to keep an eye on rates before you make any firm plans.

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Follow all safety precautions

This should be common sense at this point, especially because airlines have been requiring passengers to wear masks for months. But be responsible: wear a mask, yes, and bring extra. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and stay away from other people as much as possible.

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Finally, know the quarantine rules for your destination, and if you want or need to get tested before you fly, give yourself enough time to get your results (obviously this will vary greatly depending on where you live).

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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