In many parts of the world, Christmas is the time you fly home to your parents, siblings, and grandparents. It’s a prolonged family celebration, facilitated by extended vacation time. (Many schools, businesses, and organisations close on Christmas Eve and don’t open until after New Years’, so it’s a good time for annual bonding. Some people prefer thanksgiving, though that’s more of a weekend celebration to mark the start of end-year festivities.
Easter is a little different. For many of us, it’s like a ‘spring break’. Depending on where you live in the world, the holiday starts with Ash Wednesday (to mark the beginning of lent), or Holy Thursday. But for most of us, the key spectacle is Good Friday through to Easter Monday, with both days being international banking holidays. But since it’s basically a long weekend, the preferred mode of celebration is to spend it with friends.
You might plan a road trip, or a kind of ‘mini vay-cay’. The tricky thing is unlike Christmas, Easter changes every year. In 2019, Easter Sunday falls on April 21st, and if you intend to spend it somewhere fun and fancy, you should probably start thinking about it now. After all, venues get pretty packed, especially if you’re travelling as a group. Also, by booking in advance, you’ll get better rates and more choice in terms of flights, accommodation, and activities.
Too early or too late?
Some revelers take the opposite approach. They recognise that waiting for the last minute can sometimes get you massive deals (up to 50% off) largely as a result of cancellations. But it could also lead to hiked prices as everyone rushes for the few remaining slots. Whatever your approach, use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything crucial. If you have pets, arrange to have them fed, watered, walked, and entertained – or book a slot at the kennel.
You might opt for a house-sitter, or a friend can just pop in and out a few times a day. For nights and weekends, you could set up timed lights so the house looks occupied. You could also ask your neighbours to keep an eye on the house – if you have that type of relationship. (For some people, the neighbours are the biggest security risk, so you don’t want them knowing you’re not home!) Houses with security services need to alert their provider they’ll be away for a few days.
You’re probably going to fly off somewhere. It’s too early to start packing, but as soon as you book your tickets, look into logistics. How many travellers, how many bags, what baggage allowance, that type of thing. This is helpful because you may bump into a cute suitcase sale and end up buying sparkly carry-on bags that won’t be let through the gate. More importantly, think about your parking situation if you’re driving to the airport.
The dreaded airport drop
Chances are your Easter plans involve your close friends and family, so there might not be anyone left to drive you. You could always take a cab, but maybe you prefer the comfort and solace of your own wheels. So then … what will you do with the car for four or five days? That’s a lot of parking fees … but it doesn’t have to be. You could (and should) book a park-and-fly service at your airport. It costs a fraction of standard airport parking.
You can pay per hour or per day, but because you’ve booked the service independently (without airport intervention), you pay less than public airport parking. Depending on your needs, you can request open-air or covered parking. You can position the car yourself or use their valets, and you can ask them to wash the car while you’re away. Some of these services have shuttles to take you from your car to your flight desk.
And if you’re travelling with kids, elderly passengers, and if you (or someone in your party) is differently-abled, park-and-fly services can offer assistance getting out of your car and into the shuttle. This saves time, lowers stress, and starts off your Easter travels on a brighter note. It’s also more secure than leaving your car in the public parking space. On the off-chance you forgot anything valuable in your car, they’ll keep it safe until you get back.
You still have a few months to get your plans together, but you don’t want to get stuck in last-minute panic. So remember that list we mentioned earlier? Put a date next to each item, indicating when it needs to be verified. For example, the airport, your hotel, AirBnB, even your pet-sitters have a deadline for booking. So give each task allotted time and put reminders in your smartphone, just in case.