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Bad Weather Travel Tips

Last week brought snow and with it, travel headaches, to much of the Midwest and Northeast. According to USA Today, the Midwest will likely face another round of ice and rain Tuesday and Wednesday — two of the busiest travel days of the year.

What can you do to make sure you get home for Christmas? There are no guarantees, but following are a a few easy steps increase your chances. Or, click here to watch me talk about these tips on WPIX TV in New York City.

Photo courtesy of member Raymond Longaray

Winter Storms Snarl Holiday Travel

Beating Santa to the punch, Mother Nature is ensuring a white Christmas across much of the Northeast and Midwest today, making travel a bit dicey just in time for the big holiday weekend. According to CNN, Milwaukee’s airport is shut down and ice is causing delays at O’Hare and at New York-area airports. This is causing a ripple effect across the country, with flights from non-snowy areas–particularly those traveling to impacted areas–being delayed due to the storms.

To learn about particular airline and hotel policies, please visit Travelocity’s Customer Care page.

Are you in or traveling to an area impacted by the storm? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments section.

New Security Lanes May Ease Passenger Gridlock at Checkpoints

Just in time for this holiday travel season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has expanded their new security program, the Black Diamond Self-Select Lanes, which are expected to keep long lines moving at security checkpoints in 50 airports across the nation.

The Black Diamond Self-Select Lanes were introduced back in February, 2008 as a way to reduce the security wait times. These lanes accommodate different types of travelers at the security checkpoints and the TSA says that the lanes have helped calm the checkpoint environment for both passengers and security officers.

White Noise for No Noise: Bliss on the Plane

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to change your life. Actually, that might not be true since I appear to be the last person in the world to find out about this, but here’s the thing: I think we can all agree that trying to sleep on a plane sucks. In the past, I’ve just taken a deep breath, buried my head in my pillow, and willed myself to block out the secondhand iPod beat from the seat next to me and the screaming toddler in 11C. Now, however, I have discovered a travel secret that I’m fairly sure is going to change the way I fly from now on and the secret is this: white noise.

Unbeknownst to me before now, there are hundreds of places on the web were you can download free MP3s of white noise, load them on to your iPod or MP3 player, and tune into them on the plane when you want to block the world out. I’ve found this one fairly successful and I like the pink noise (pink noise, who knew!) at too.

And if you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone, consider this: a friend told me recently about an iPhone app that you can pay 99 cents to download, giving you the sound of crashing waves and rainforests—as well as good old traditional white noise—whenever you need it. I don’t know about you, but I could always do with shutting up the people around me when I’m flying. I can’t believe I didn’t find out about this sooner.

Name Travel’s Person of the Year

In what may be the least surprising news story of all time, TIME magazine just announced Barack Obama as its highly anticipated Person of the Year for 2008. While the decision was predictable, I still find it as exciting as any past Person of the Year selection, and it got me thinking about who would win a Travel Person of the Year contest.

If it were run like TIME’s nearly century-old tradition, it might not even necessarily be a person; concepts count, too. (Remember “You” in 2006?) For reference, and to help with your decision, TIME has a very cool interactive gallery of all past covers.