Whether you're flying or driving to your holiday destination, AAA has some tips to help avoid stress and common travel mistakes. 

"We're seeing increased economic factors so more household income, wages are getting better and people are just feeling more confident about the economy," said Stephanie Milani, Public Affairs Director of AAA Auto Club Group. "And that's really encouraging a lot of Americans to spend the money to fly home, to drive home, to be with friends and family."


1. Not pre-checking the car 

Before you even hit the road, there are several important measures travelers should take when driving. 

Milani said checking your tire tread and pressure, making sure your oil is changed and having a winter weather driving kit are essential for holiday road travel. 

Winter weather driving kits should include gloves, blankets, water, snacks, flare and even kitty litter. 

2. Not planning ahead 

AAA recommends travelers map out their routes ahead of time. This includes planning your travel time according to traffic patterns. 

Milani said leaving earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid rush hour is best especially if you're traveling through big cities. 

3. Distracted driving

We all know by now Tennessee is a hands-free state. However, many drivers get easily distracted by backseat distractions especially when traveling with small children.

RELATED: Distracted driving crashes are up in Tennessee, survey says

RELATED: Law banning handheld phones while driving in TN goes into effect

"When you're traveling with small kids and they need some entertainment, just go ahead and pack a box for entertainment, get some extra DVDs that they can watch and make sure everyone is properly buckled in," said Milani. 

AAA also said if you're driving, make sure to have a designated navigator in order to avoid GPS and phone distractions. 

4. Locking yourself out of the car

According to a AAA release, travelers reported needing the most assistance with dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. 

Milani suggests giving your passenger an extra set of keys just in case. 

5. Not getting enough sleep

This is an easy one to forget especially when busy throughout the holidays.

Milani said be sure the driver is getting enough rest and let someone else take over when feeling drowsy. 

RELATED: Need to Know: Hitting the road for Thanksgiving


1. Paying too much 

Booking last minute flights can lead to some hefty plane ticket prices. 

According to AAA, Thanksgiving flights on average range from $454 to $564. 

Besides traveling on Thanksgiving Day, AAA advises the best day for Thanksgiving travel is the Monday before Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 25.

AAA found the best day to travel for Christmas holiday is actually Christmas Eve, with an average ticket price of $527.

2. Not arriving early enough to the airport

AAA recommends travelers arrive at least two hours prior to their flight.

"If you're flying make sure that you do get there in plenty of time," Milani said. "No one likes to waste time at the airport but you certainly don't want to miss your flight because you're standing in the TSA line."

3. Not allowing enough time for connections

Depending on the flight, sometimes it's cheaper to find connecting flights but many times travelers underestimate their layovers. 

AAA advises travelers to double-check their flight times and be prepared if winter weather strikes. 

RELATED: AAA: Tips for booking flights home for the holidays