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Tips for getting on that flight before next Christmas

By Christopher Elliott

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The holiday travel season is here, and this one promises to belike no other. In addition to the usual stress of waiting in longlines at the airport, navigating through crowds of tourists in theterminals and sitting through weather-related delays, you'llhave to factor in increased security measures in the wake ofSeptember's terrorist attacks. The Federal AviationAdministration's new safety directives (still being finalizedat press time) could mean your trip will take even longer than itwould have in years past.

The best way to ease the hassle of holiday travel is by timingit correctly. The days before a major holiday are always thebusiest. However, on the holiday itself-in the eye of theproverbial hurricane-traffic is often manageable and flights arepractically empty. According to the Air Transport Association, theleast busy days for air travel during the holiday season areDecember 24, 25 and 31. And while the Friday before and the Sundayafter Thanksgiving are among the busiest days of the year for airtravel, Thanksgiving itself is one of the slowest.

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