Up until last year, we never considered traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. For starters, it’s one of the busiest times of the year and we try to avoid going at those times whenever possible. We also like to spend the holidays at home with friends and family when possible. However, there comes a time when the things you want to do only happen over that period.
Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If we wanted to get to New York, we’d have to be traveling around Thanksgiving, there was no way around that fact.
I started looking around a year out and eventually found airfare with miles and a hotel room along the parade route with points.
I was so proud of myself that I forgot to plan some other essential parts of the trip which are usually afterthoughts any other time of the year.
Arrangements for your pets
About a week before the trip, we realized we still hadn’t called “Camp” to make a reservation for our puppy (Note from Sharon: said “puppy” is 10. But she’ll ALWAYS be our puppy). We call it “camp” but it’s actually the kennel at our vet’s office. She gets spoiled rotten when she’s there and loves all over everyone. This is a picture from their Facebook page.
While it’s usually no problem for them to accommodate her during our trips, this was Thanksgiving weekend. The time of the year when everyone travels, so we were worried since we waited until the last minute to call them. Luckily they said they had room for her, so one crisis was averted.
This was the one problem I didn’t expect. We’ve gone from parking at one of Orlando International Airport’s economy lots to parking at an off-site location. We’ve had great luck using Fast Park & Relax’s Orlando location because we can often get to our car faster than when we parked at Orlando’s shuttle lot.
When I went to reserve a parking spot for the holiday, I received a message telling me the lot was full. What? Full?
Simultaneously, we started to look at the other lots around the airport that were reputable (not a grass field surrounded by a chain-link fence). Sharon found a spot at a lot that was away from the airport, but it was something. I booked what seemed to be the last spot at The Parking Spot lot located down the street from where we usually park.
The only problem was I was going so fast trying to book it that I said we were departing at 8PM and not 8AM. When I tried to change the reservation or make another booking, the app said the lot was full. Oh no.
The app lets you check into the lot by scanning your barcode so we figured we’d try to get in for our flight. If not, we could always go to the airport and pay extra to park in a field by one of the external lots. At least we’d have a spot.
Fortunately, The Parking Spot let us in and we were able to park our car for the trip.
If getting past the TSA checkpoint is a hassle on an average day at the airport, imagine how it is on the busiest weekend of the year. The fear of long lines led me to sign up for CLEAR on top of TSA PreCheck.
As it turned out, the lines weren’t that bad when we were traveling but that’s the exception and not the rule over a holiday weekend.
Despite me overlooking several essential things, our travels over Thanksgiving weekend were relatively uneventful. I didn’t mention my neglect of not making dinner reservations (which was another massive oversight on my part) and we lucked into finding a table for two on Yelp at Jean-Georges’ Mercer Kitchen.
It goes to show that the things you tend to take for granted during an average trip become essential when you’re traveling during busy travel times. Simple things like parking, pets, and food seem trivial, but they can lead to massive headaches if you leave them until the last minute.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary