Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Because of the high expectations, tight schedules and long journeys, holiday travel can be an exercise in frustration. But local transportation authorities say a small amount of preparation and a healthy dose of patience can go a long way to make the experience easier.
Because Clark County schools are out all Thanksgiving week, the airport may not be quite as busy as usual this holiday. Still, here are seven tips from McCarran International Airport to make air travel easier this Thanksgiving:
• Do your homework. Even if you already have your boarding pass, know which terminal your airline’s ticket counter is located. Check flight times here.
• Review the latest TSA procedures: here; or use Twitter, @AskTSA; Facebook Messenger, fb.com/AskTSA.
• Comply with the airline’s baggage rules (number of pieces, size and weight) before arriving at the airport.
• Be patient with parking. Some garages will fill up quickly, especially the Terminal 1 long-term garage and Terminal 3 economy lot.
Long-term parking at Terminals 1 and 3 is $2 for the first 30 minutes, $3 for 31-60 minutes, and $1 for every hour after that, up to $16 a day. Valet is $6 for hour one, then $1 per hour, up to $23 per day.
• For cheaper $10-a-day parking, use:
The Terminal 1 economy lot off of Kitty Hawk Way, south of Tropicana Avenue and west of Paradise Road. Shuttles from here only go to Terminal 1. Get to McCarran an extra half hour early for this option.
Economy parking for Terminal 3 is a surface lot east of the Terminal 3 parking garage and within walking distance of the Level 1 pedestrian bridge leading into the terminal.
• Picking up? There’s a free cellphone lot off Kitty Hawk Way open from 6 a.m to 1 a.m. daily. Have arriving passenger call you when they are at the pickup area, which has numbered columns to make meeting easier.
• You can’t park at the curb. It your party isn’t there, head into short-term parking on the same level in the same garage. The first 15 minutes are free.
Dealing with rental cars once you land
Unless your family lives at the airport, odds are you still have to drive after your flight out of Nevada. Rental-car company Hertz offers these tips:
• Reserve a car online. For airport rentals, add the flight number, airline and scheduled arrival time. This can protect your reservation when your flight is delayed.
• Rental companies sometimes offer discounts for prepaying.
• If you book last minute, try to be flexible. Rental car companies have locations near the airport that will have more cars available when the rental locations at the airport run out.
• Take into account the number of passengers, baggage and weather when choosing a car.
Road trips require preparation, too
Sometimes it’s easier to skip the airport and drive straight to mom and dad’s. But a road trip during the holidays, even just across town, can be just as rough as flying.
The Nevada Department of Transportation said Southern Nevada roads will be especially busy Wednesday, Nov. 22, through Monday, Nov. 27. At least 60 percent — 192,000 — of the 320,000 visitors expected in town will be driving.
“We anticipate heavy traffic during the holiday weekend, especially along the Interstate 15 and resort corridors,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said.
The American Automobile Association said about 1.4 million more travelers will be on the road this Thanksgiving compared to last year.
The main way to avoid issues on the road trip is simple: Leave early and exercise patience, Ilia said. “Slow your roll, and arrive alive,” Illia said.