Holiday Travel Tips

Seasons Greetings from Outer Space A!

With the holidays upon us, it’s time for a few tips for Cat 6 travel for those among us intrepid enough to attempt it during the busiest season of the year. While retiree travel is not recommended, as a rule, during periods like the holidays, it may be possible, with certain “restrictions”.

For overseas travel (European Christmas markets are in full swing!) from CONUS:

  • Plan to have your round trip completed by the middle of December. After that, higher category travelers will be pulling children out of school early for holiday vacation, and seats for Cat 6 will quickly evaporate.
  • Be prepared to be extra flexible with alternate departure and arrival destinations and routing. For instance, you could end up flying from Dover to Ramstein, and returning from Spangdahlem to Andrews, or Charleston. Or, travel from Travis to Kadena, and return via Yokota to McChord. 
  • Make sure you have ground transportation options in place, and figure your ground costs into your budget. Car rental, taxis, shuttles, trains, and accommodations add up!
  • Hopefully, you have signed up sufficiently in advance to be traveling around day 50-55, both outbound and returning, to have the best chances within category for a flight. If you’re just signing up to travel now, you chances are considerably diminished.
  • Be on the look out for last minute seats during the holidays. SOMETIMES, it’s possible to travel the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Many of the families that pulled children out early for travel will also return late, so there may be seats available for a quick getaway – if you’re ready to grab them.
  • After the holidays are over, plan for flights to continue to be full through the middle of January.

For travel within CONUS, prosects are generally better. While there may be fewer flights available overall, Cat 2, 4 (EML), and 5 travel eligibility ends upon reaching CONUS, so competition for seats is not as greatly impacted. For the past several years, Lady Cat 6 and sponsor have been able to travel fairly easily cross country to spend Christmas with our families, and return. Flexibility, as always, is key to success! Have a several-day window for travel each way, be willing to go where the flights are. 

Remember to be kind to your terminal personnel and flight crews! They are doing the best they can to accommodate as many travelers as possible during this extremely busy season – and they have families, too. Don’t be the grinch in the terminal ;).

Holiday space a travel for Cat 6 requires extra-triple doses of patience, and flexibility, and a few small miracles along the way.  If you want to try to beat the odds, figure out your options, cross your fingers, and be sure to pack your holiday cheer and good will with you. If you see a harried individual or family struggling in the terminal, getting to or from the plane, or on the flight, help them out! As the saying goes: there are plenty of good people in the world – if you can’t find one, be one! Your patience, kindness, and willingness to share your experience are wonderful gifts to give, so be generous with them!

Wishing you all the happiest and most blessed of holidays, wherever, however, and whether or not you are traveling!