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Travel

    Holiday travel with kids can be a challenge. Whether you’re driving or flying, normal routines are interrupted, and challenges such as traffic jams or delayed flights can lead to boredom and fussy children. A little preparation can go a long way to making a holiday trip with kids go more smoothly. The following tips from sources such as Parents, Reader’s Digest and the AJC will help everyone keep their sanity when embarking on holiday travel with kids. Pack ahead of timeIf you’re stressed at the start of your trip, you could be setting the tone for your entire first day. If possible, have everything packed the night before so you’re not rushed and cranky when you’re starting your trip. Prepare some snacksEven adults can get cranky when they’re hungry, so why should kids be any different? Be prepared with snacks like cereal, pretzels, granola bars or string cheese and have them easily accessible in the car or on the plane. Water is also a good choice for a drink, since kids aren’t likely to guzzle more than they need. If you’re flying, you can pick these items up at an airport store after you’ve gone through security. Bring some distractionsHelp your child pack some small, quiet toys, books, a small box of crayons, paper and a favorite stuffed animal or blanket for the trip. These will help keep them busy and offer comfort in unfamiliar places or situations. Let kids help planAllow children to have input on sightseeing when making travel plans. Maintaining a child’s interest can make for smoother travel. Let kids choose their own entertainment when traveling. On long road trips, try to find points of interest along the way if you have time. On the road Prepare for emergenciesIf you’re hitting the road for a long trip, have your mechanic check your car out before you go. Few things can ruin a trip faster than a breakdown along the way. While you’re at it, also pack a basic first aid kit, a flashlight and jumper cables. Get enough sleepThis advice holds true for both parents and kids. If everyone is sleep-deprived, they’re likely to be cranky. And if you’re driving, you’ll need to be as alert as possible. Use Pull-UpsFor those with very young children, you may want to use Pull-Ups even If they are potty-trained. If you’re stuck in traffic and are miles away from the nearest bathroom, they can provide an emergency back-up. The same goes for flying, during takeoff and landing when passengers are not allowed out of their seats. Take frequent breaksStop every couple of hours if you’re on a long road trip. This can give kids a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy.  Prepare for messesHave an extra change of clothes for everyone, as well as wipes and resealable plastic bags. Traveling with kids often means dealing with a diaper blowout, car sickness or other unexpected mess. Point out the sightsHoliday travel with kids can involve some long, boring stretches, but they can often enjoy mundane sights like a funny billboard and farms with cows and horses. If it’s a long trip, your child may also enjoy seeing changes in terrain along the way. In the air Fly early in the morning if possibleEarly flights are less likely to experience delays, and they’re often less crowded. With any luck, your kids will end up napping for part of the flight.  Dress in layersYou’ll be outdoors, in the airport and in the airplane cabin, so your child can experience a wide variety of temperatures. Dressing in layers can allow him or her to add or slip off a jacket or another layer if necessary. Make sure you’re sitting togetherSince computers assign seats, make sure you’re sitting together before you board the plane. Be sure to check and sort it out before boarding begins. Board earlyParents with young children are sometimes allowed to board the plane before other passengers, so you can have a minute to let your kids check out the seat, window shades and bathroom. You’ll have the chance to get settled in and not feel like you’re in such a rush. Keep it cleanWipe down surfaces that can harbor germs, like trays. Also carry along hand sanitizer to use before eating or in other cases where germs can easily be transmitted. Don’t pull out everything at onceDon’t pull out your child’s entire stash of snacks and entertainment right when you’re seated. Most kids will find flying to be exciting at first. Once they’re been in the air a while and have become bored, then you can reach for the toys and food.
  • Whether your Thanksgiving travel plans involve domestic destinations or an international getaway, understanding holiday travel trends for 2017 can help you maximize your Thanksgiving travel budget and minimize stress.Here are the key travel trends for Thanksgiving, including best and worst places to visit, busiest airports and a look at gas prices for those whose Thanksgiving travel plans includes hitting the road. Thanksgiving 2017 travel trend watch Top trending destinations for Thanksgiving 2017: According to a report by the Points Guy, Google Flights data determined the following as the trending destinations for Thanksgiving in 2017. In the U.S.:Honolulu, HawaiiTucson, Ariz.Burbank, Calif.Providence, R.I.Fairbanks, Alaska International:Brussels, BelgiumRome, ItalyNice, FranceMalaga, SpainAmsterdam, the Netherlands The most wallet-friendly places to visit this ThanksgivingGOBankingRates used cost of hotels, holiday flights, food, drinks, transportation and entertainment to come up with the most expensive places you could travel for Thanksgiving this year. One of the priciest to visit at Thanksgiving was Cape Town, South Africa. Winter for us is summer in South Africa, and it costs $1,341 to fly from Los Angeles to Cape Town during Thanksgiving, more than any other city on the GOBankingRates list. The average daily cost of meals came in at $48, with the daily drink cost average at $24.GOBankingRates had much better news at the other end of the spectrum. It listed these three among its most affordable places to visit during Thanksgiving. Seattle: Holiday flights to Seattle are cheaper than to most other cities in the rankings and the average nightly hotel rate during Thanksgiving is $142. Chicago: You’ll be rewarded for braving chilly temperatures with low average nightly hotel rates of $87 during Thanksgiving. And holiday flights to Chicago are among the cheapest in the rankings. San Francisco: The average nightly rate for a hotel during both Thanksgiving and Christmas is $121 and within San Francisco, transportation costs are among the lowest in the rankings and you can see the city’s most popular tourist attractions for free. KAYAK also ranked 'wallet-friendly' Thanksgiving destinations for 2017 using its billions of annual search queries, coming up with these Top 10: Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Calgary and Seattle. Highest and lowest gas costsIf your Thanksgiving travel plans include driving, you’ll want to know the gas price trends.As of Nov. 7, 2017, the national gas price range was $2.21 per gallon to $3.22 per gallon, according to AAA.Gas Buddy lets you see gas prices around the country at a glance with a color-coded map indicating the average price for regular unleaded gasoline.Generally, you'd pay the least for gas in Texas, Midwest states including Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Virginia and Oklahoma and Southeastern states including the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia (Florida is slightly higher.) As you make your way into Northern, Northwestern and Pacific Northwest states you'll encounter the highest gas prices, with California topping the list to the West.If you're concerned that gas costs will derail your travel budget, check the AAA website a few days before Thanksgiving to get a prediction on how gas prices will fare during 2017 Thanksgiving peak car travel days.Top 10 busiest airports Thanksgiving 2017Whether hustle and bustle is your thing or you're looking for an excuse to stay out of the fray, these 10 airports will be the busiest in the U.S. come Thanksgiving, according to Google Flights: Boston Chicago Ft. Lauderdale Honolulu Las Vegas Los Angeles Miami New York City Orlando San Francisco  Travel tips Thanksgiving 2017 When to book: KAYAK's annual Holiday Hacker Guide has a hard and fast rule for Thanksgiving fliers: Avoid flying the Sunday after Thanksgiving. KAYAK data pegs that day as one of the most expensive departure dates.KAYAK also shared the best days to fly for the price-conscious, based on 2016 data. The best 2016 flight deals were for those who could depart and fly back on Thanksgiving day (median price $163 in 2016) or Black Friday ($261), leave the Monday before Thanksgiving and return Thanksgiving day or Black Friday ($286 and $300) or leave the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday ($296 and $299.)Book your flight ahead of the price increases. While variances are inevitable, a good rule of thumb is to expect fares to increase 21, 14 and again 7 days before your desired departure date, according to Google Flights. Plan your road trip costs: To make sure you'll still have money left over for Black Friday, or to avoid arguments with your cheapskate co-travelers, use Gas Buddy's trip cost calculator to plan how much you'll spend getting to Thanksgiving get-togethers. Consider getting away instead of going home. The Points Guy blogger reported 5 top holiday tips from the Google flights team, and this was both the most radical and most sensible idea. If you won't be drummed out of the family over your choice, consider a brief vacation instead of going to a traditional Thanksgiving gathering. If you can’t afford a high-cost Thanksgiving travel destination, consider traveling to a less popular destination over Thanksgiving week. The Points Guy says that in some cases, travelers can visit international destinations for less than domestic fares during the holiday season.
  • During one of their more popular sales of the year, Southwest Airlines is again offering customers non-stop round-trip flights for less than $100.  >> Read more trending news  Dozens of the carrier’s shortest routes are available for $49 each way. Other non-stop one-way fares are offered for $79, $99 and $129 for longer flights. Some international flights are also being offered at extreme discounts. The prices of flights are loosely tied to distance, according to USA Today. >> Related: American Airlines to decrease legroom for passengers Discounted flights can be purchased for travel between Oct. 31 and Dec. 19 and from Jan. 3 through Feb. 14. Travelers cannot purchase the discounted tickets for travel on Fridays and Sundays.  The sale ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. local time in the city of the departing flight.  This is the second time this year the airline is offering the deal. Southwest previously offered the low fares in June. Read more at Southwest. >> Related: Delta will pay passengers up to $10K to give up seats
  • Passengers on a late night flight to Santa Fe Tuesday were confused when the plane, just minutes from landing, instead returned to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Passengers and those waiting at the airport for loved ones to arrive told KRQE that it was a clear, calm night. After the flight's captain told passengers they were returning to DFW but didn't give a clear reason why, passenger Leighann Gagnon said other staff told her it was because there was no one in the control tower at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport. >> Read more trending news While the airport's control tower is unstaffed from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., flights can still land, and do so on a regular basis, KRQE reported. American Airlines and airport staff clarified to KRQE that it was due to a technical malfunction at the National Weather Service, which could not provide a wind speed reading to the pilot. A wind speed reading is require by law in order to land, KRQE reported.  Passengers were miffed that American Airlines didn't land in Albuquerque, but American officials said they don't operate out of Sunport International Airport, so that's why the flight returned to DFW. When passengers arrived back at DFW at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday, everything was closed and passengers were not offered a voucher for a hotel or a meal, KRQE reported. Passengers couldn't access their luggage because airport staff were not available. American Airlines officials said since it was not at fault, it could not issue vouchers per company policy. Passengers took off for Santa Fe at 7 a.m. Wednesday. This time, the flight landed successfully at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport.
  • If a hurricane is barreling toward you, it's obviously not the best time to visit a tourist attraction and take some photos. >> Hurricane Irma: Live updates But one man in Key West was caught on camera doing just that as Hurricane Irma approached. >> Visit PalmBeachPost.com for more Hurricane Irma coverage According to ABC News, a livestream at the Southernmost Point Buoy captured video of a man snapping pictures of the landmark as waves crashed around him – and then into him, soaking him and knocking him to the ground. >> Watch the video here Apparently, he wasn't the only one braving the surging waters. Other videos and screenshots purportedly from the same livestream circulated on social media. >> Read more trending news Although the stream has gone down, part of Saturday's footage has been posted on YouTube. >> Check it out here – News965.com and Rare.us contributed to this report.
  • A single flush of a toilet at Florida's Orlando International Airport over the weekend ended up delaying thousands of passengers as a hazmat team cleaned up sewage that flowed into one of the airport’s customs areas. >> Watch the news report here An investigation is ongoing into what caused the toilet issue, but it appears someone was trying to flush the contents of a suitcase, officials said. >> Read more Floridoh! stories The flooding caused passengers flying into Orlando from outside the country to be bused to a customs area on the opposite side of the airport Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Traveler Mike Ortiz said getting through the ordeal took a lot of time. >> Read more trending news “As soon as we landed, they immediately told us that there were problems with the terminal and we would have to sit there on the tarmac for a while,” he said. “There were carpets ripped up and there were floor fans trying to air out what was, I guess, some flooding going on.” Officials at the airport said they were still looking into what was flushed and who flushed it, but their immediate efforts had been to get the customs area reopened.
  • People living on two islands along North Carolina's Outer Banks are able to turn their lights back on. >> Watch the news report here But for visitors, a strict evacuation order is still in effect. Engineers have been working nonstop to restore power for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands since Thursday when a construction company accidentally cut an electrical line. As of Saturday morning, one generator had been restored, but there were still about 9,000 homes without power. The Department of Transportation reports that more than 3,700 people have been evacuated, including vacationers, who, unlike homeowners, aren't allowed back. Emergency management officials issued a mandatory evacuation order Friday for Hatteras Island visitors because of a widespread power outage that has already prompted thousands of tourists to leave Hatteras and neighboring Ocracroke Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The Dare County Department of Emergency Management said in a statement Friday that the evacuation order is mandatory for all visiting Hatteras Island effective at 6 a.m. Saturday. It includes the island villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras. >> Read more trending news Officials say they took that step as a safety precaution and because of growing uncertainty as to when repairs to a major transmission line would be complete. The statement says properly credentialed residents and non-resident property owners, along with essential personal and some others, would be allowed to remain. The evacuation order doesn't include any areas north of Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks. The county's emergency management department says it's continuing to work with utility officials to restore power to levels that would allow visitors to eventually return. Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency for Ocracoke and Hatteras islands Thursday night. The outage came during peak tourist season, which runs from mid-June through Labor Day. Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • While the skies have been anything but friendly recently for some travelers, one young passenger won over his flight this month with a simple request. >> Read more trending news In a video originally posted on Facebook by Suzann Novak on July 22, a boy can be seen walking down the aisle of a Southwest Airlines plane, saying “hi” and asking for fist bumps from fellow passengers. Most travelers complied, amused by the request. Southwest Airlines posted the cute video on its Facebook page Saturday morning, along with the caption, 'Fist bumpin' for the weekend.
  • A sign at a county airport in Michigan left some travelers puzzled this week. The sign was posted before the security checkpoint at Chippewa County International Airport. It says, 'Please remove fudge from your bags.' The sign includes an illustration of a piece of fudge. An image of the sign was posted on Twitter by a traveler. >> Read more trending news The airport offers convenient access to Mackinac Island, which is known for its fudge. There's approximately 12 fudge shops on the island, and there's a fudge festival held annually in August, according to WXYZ. Airport Manager Tami Beseau told MLive that the fudge sign is Transportation Security Administration policy, not a local airport ordinance. While candy is permitted in both carry-on and checked baggage, it may need additional screening, Beseau said. The soft, dense consistency of fudge could allow someone to slip contraband inside the candy, according to Beseau. A person who commented on the MLive story went a step further, saying the real reason the TSA screens fudge is because it has a similar shape and consistency to C-4 explosives.  Travelers should follow all TSA regulations posted at the airport they are traveling through. While a block of fudge may not require special handling at airports nationwide, those who are traveling through an area known for fudge should be prepared for extra screening.
  • 2017 is not a good year to be an airline company, especially if that company’s name is United Airlines.  Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.” >> Read more trending news “We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'” France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen. “They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” France said as she criticized the airline for not being prepared to handle her situation. >> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat Owen was treated at a children’s hospital after the incident. Doctors said he suffered from the heat but thankfully remained unaffected by heat-related medical conditions. DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery corroborated the call for an ambulance. A representative for United emailed the following statement to the Denver Post: 'Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance.' Read more here.