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The Wait May Not Be over When It Comes to Travel This Holiday Season; Travel Pro Warns of Longer Waits Than Usual on Christmas/New Year’s Due to Holidays Falling on Highly-Traveled Weekends, Travelocity Offers Tips to Survive

SOUTHLAKE, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 20, 2004–Because of how the holidays fall this season, travelers may be in for longer waits and more congestion on the roads, rails and in the skies. After closely monitoring airport wait times over Thanksgiving (with spotters stationed at the top 25 airports throughout the country), Travelocity’s industry pro predicts that Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday travels likely will resemble the Thanksgiving rush, while AAA reports that the two holiday weekends will push upcoming holiday travel to its highest level ever. As a possible predictor, monitoring reports from Travelocity(R) revealed that Thanksgiving produced more than 60-minute security and/or check-in delays alone at some of the busiest airports.

“This holiday is somewhat unusual as both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Fridays, leading to dense and more highly-concentrated travel days,” said Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s editor-at-large. “Although most people have already booked their travel plans and may not be able to avoid longer delays, there are things they can do to avoid the aggravation.”

Following are some of Ziff’s last-minute tips to help holiday travelers prepare and navigate their way to the New Year with ease, as well as some pointers on where to go for those planning a last-minute getaway.

Improve Wait Times:

  • To avoid lines, try to fly very early in the morning and/or in the middle of the week
  • Utilize on-line check in from home when possible, e-kiosks and curbside baggage to speed your way through security
  • Be ready for security: Pack an extra bag for miscellaneous pocket items. Men should try tucking a Ziploc bag in their pockets to collect change, keys, cell phones, etc. Parents may want a slightly larger miscellaneous bag (Remember all the kids’ stuff has to get screened too, so the extra bag will come in handy!)

  • Be ready to remove shoes (Men may even find it handy to travel with a plastic shoe horn to remove and replace shoes more easily)

Parking Preparations:

  • If parking at the airport, be sure to reserve a parking space in advance by calling ahead or checking online for availability (at the nation’s busiest airports this Thanksgiving, parking filled up as early as 10 a.m. on Wednesday in some cases)
  • Consider using mass transit this time of year to avoid potential parking issues entirely
  • Travelers also may consider off-airport parking that allows them to guarantee a space by reserving and paying in advance, is often less expensive than on-airport locations and offers shuttle service to and from the airport

Airport Navigation Tips:

  • Weather delays are frequent this time of year, so travelers should bring plenty to do to occupy themselves at the airport
  • a good book, holiday note cards or thank you cards for those great gifts
  • Don’t wrap gifts in advance as they’re likely to be opened by security. Instead, pack the tools to wrap at your final destination
  • Keep all valuables nearby in carry-on baggage as opposed to packing them in checked luggage, which is likely to be opened by screeners. If locking the bag is important, look for TSA-approved locks
  • Water and snacks also are a must as you never know when or where travels may keep you waiting
  • Always have your travel agency 800 number nearby along with confirmation numbers and itineraries
  • Leave ample time on the roadways to get to your destination and expect more traffic delays than usual

For travelers looking for a last-minute getaway to the beach, slopes or city this holiday, following are some of the top domestic and international destinations this season:

    Top Domestic Christmas Destinations:
    1. Denver            6.  Washington
    2. New York          7.  San Francisco
    3. Chicago           8.  Phoenix
    4. Los Angeles       9.  Dallas
    5. Orlando           10. Las Vegas
    Top International Christmas Destinations:

    1. London, United Kingdom

    2. Cancun, Mexico

    3. Toronto, Canada

    4. Paris, France

    5. San Jose, Costa Rica

About Travelocity

Travelocity’s industry-leading technology and straight-talking, honest information help travelers take more rewarding and affordable trips. With millions of registered users and booking nearly $4 billion of travel in 2003, Travelocity negotiates thousands of low-priced deals with the world’s most reputable travel providers — top airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, and other destination attractions and services. Additionally, Travelocity offers deeply-discounted rates for weekend getaways and dynamic packages through its Last Minute Deals and TotalTrip shopping engines, and provides customer service support over the phone 24 hours a day. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also operates Travelocity Business(SM) for corporate customers, powers international travel Web sites in eight languages, and has been recognized for its consumer advocacy and global leadership in online travel. More information about Travelocity is available at www.travelocity.com. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a world leader in travel commerce. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at www.sabre-holdings.com.

CONTACT: Vollmer Public Relations
Judy Haveson, 212-808-6541
Amanda Borichevsky, 972-488-4790

SOURCE: Travelocity

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