Make your journey smoother with these tips to dial down holiday travel headaches.

Book early. Stop procrastinating or hoping prices will drop. Those last minute deals only work when you can be flexible with time and destination. Also, because there's high demand, providers won't be forthcoming with discounts or be willing to negotiate. Experts warn that your best bet to get the transportation and accommodations you want -- not to mention a better price -- is to book as soon as possible.

Travel early. It pays to be a morning person. Early flights are less like to face delays -- especially if you're travelling via an airport in a bad weather zone. If you do run into trouble, there's more opportunity to hop on a later flight rather than waiting until the next day.

Skip the line-ups. During peak travel times, airlines recommend using their online or mobile check-in services and printing up your boarding pass at home, at an airport kiosk or downloading it to your mobile device. You can even tag your own bags at a self-serve kiosk if available.

Stay current- on policies and restrictions. Do you know what to expect at airport security, and what limits there are on your luggage? You can avoid many mishaps by visiting your airline and airport's websites well in advance of your trip. (For more information on avoiding airport hassles, see Happy holiday travels.) You can find out ahead of time if your airport has special lanes for families, business travellers and people with special needs.

Avoid the bump. Many companies overbook anticipating that not all passengers will show up -- and as a result, you can get bumped from your plane, train or bus. The American Society of Travel Agents says you can avoid this issue by arriving early, getting an advance seat assignment and checking in online.

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Elizabeth Rogers