Planes, Trains, and Automobiles -- Holiday Travel Safety Tips

Published by: Michael Widomski, Deputy Director, Public Affairs

Have you ever had a trip not go according to plans? The comedy film, Planes, Trains, Planes and Automobines with Steve Martin and John Candy focuses on the efforts of a man trying to get home for the holidays. In true Hollywood fashion though, everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.

As you and your family gear up for the holiday travel season, I wanted to provide you with some travel safety tips. Because, albeit watching travel disasters on the screen makes for big laughs, these predicaments are far from funny when they happen to us. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before you leave.

If you’re taking to the friendly skies, these tips are for you:
  • When getting to the airport, unanticipated heavy traffic, road construction, and road closures can put a severe kink in your plan. Give yourself enough time to arrive at the airport early - there may be a longer wait than usual for the holidays.
  • Make a choice to not feel rushed while at the airport. Families and individuals traveling with medically necessary liquids this holiday season will be able to take advantage of TSA’s popular family lanes. Designed to let families take their time and ask questions without feeling rushed.
  • In this TSA blog post, they “talk turkey and gravy” and provide great tips for traveling this holiday season, including what to expect with wrapped packages; whether or not pies are allowed (along with this important note: additional screening of pies does not include TSA officers tasting the pie, no matter what they tell you… AND if you want to bring a live turkey, you might want to have a word with the airline first); and information on the type of razors that are allowed and how to pack makeup. To help lighten the stress of flying, they also offer up some turkey advice and trivia:
    Travel Advice for Domesticated Turkeys: While you can fly on a plane, you can’t really fly. (the link takes you a YouTube video for an excerpt from a comedy TV show)
    Turkey Trivia: Contrary to popular belief, turkeys prefer to travel on the "Gravy Train," rather than the "Gravy Boat."
Speaking of trains, if you’re traveling by train, these tips are for you:
  • Have a personal emergency kit in your bags that includes items such as a small first aid kit, bottled water, snacks, medication, cell phone charger, and a flashlight.
  • Bring activities to keep yourself and family entertained during the trip.
And for those of you who are hitting the open road, these tips are for you:
  • Mother nature has a way of closing down and clogging the roads during severe weather. So besides the holiday gifts and goodies you transport this holiday season, be sure to have an emergency kit in your car with water and food, prescription medicines, blankets, and items unique to your family.
  • Plan your trip ahead of time - whether you’re using a GPS system or a traditional map, plan your travel route in advance, and let friends and family know the route and your anticipated time of arrival.
  • Cut down on the number of times you hear “Are we there yet?” Bring activities, games, and books to keep the little ones entertained so you can focus on arriving at your destination safely.
No matter how you are traveling, stay up to date on the latest local forecast at or

For more information from TSA on your phone, download the TSA App for iPhone and visit

There are four ways you can get preparedness tips and information from FEMA: visit the new, visit on your phone, download the FEMA app (Android & Apple users) and text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) for monthly preparedness tips (standard message and data rates apply).

Remember, although mishaps are funny in the movies, they are a lot more frustrating in real life. So here’s wishing you and your family safe travels this holiday season.