There are family members who remain a phone call away until the holidays – then long-distance drives and airplane rides are in order.

It’s not necessarily that there are more people at the Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville over Christmas and New Year’s, said Airport Director Chris White. It’s that there are a lot of inexperienced flyers, people who don’t travel by airplane often, and are unfamiliar with the procedures.

While the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the biggest airplane travel day of the year, White said this Saturday will be a big one, too.

To reduce anxiety, arrive early, he said.

White suggested arriving at the airport at least one hour in advance and remembering it will likely be a white Christmas somewhere, so there may be delays or interruptions in the flight plans.

Breathe, he said.

For new flyers, remember to carry important items – like medicine, keys, and documents – onto the plane with you, White said, and either mail gifts ahead of time or wrap them after you get where you’re going. TSA may need to inspect your packages, he added.

Above all, enjoy the journey, White said.

“And remember there are highly trained professionals flying the airplane,” he added.

For those traveling by land instead of through the clouds, the give-yourself-extra-time advice still stands, according to Jacksonville Police Department Media Liaison Beth Purcell.

Severe weather could come into play along the drive, Purcell said, and allowing for contingencies to the driving plan will reduce anxiety on the trip.

And don’t always turn to coffee and energy drinks for the longer drives, Purcell said.

“Keep in mind that caffeine’s effects are only temporary,” she said. “Once they wear off you could experience an even greater degree of sleepiness.”

Rotate driving schedules, she said, and plan a rest stop every two hours or 100 miles, especially when traveling with pets and children.

As always, remember to wear a seatbelt and obey those speed limit signs, Purcell said.

Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Cross said he’ll be traveling the roads on New Year’s Eve, but he’ll be looking for impaired drivers to keep the roads safer.

Cross said that the tips he would give to those driving this holiday season are “all common sense stuff.”

The big thing, he said, is for drivers to watch their speed. It’ll take a lot longer to get to your destination if you’re pulled over, he added.

And although it’s always great to eat, drink, and be merry, Cross said not to get too merry before getting behind the wheel.

Judgement, he said, is the first thing to go when alcohol is involved.

“You can pretty much expect that law enforcement will be out,” Cross said.

For those who follow the laws of the pavement, Cross said be a defensive driver over the next couple of weeks. Use caution by leaving plenty of space between yourself and the car in front of you, he said, ensuring there’s plenty of time to stop if someone slams on their brakes.

If a car is driving dangerously, call *HP to report it, he added.