Happy Holiday Travels

Happy Holiday Travels

Whether you’re jetting off to the beach or the slopes, or driving to the Dells for fun and games, you really should book your holiday trip now—if you haven’t already. The closer the holidays get, the more prices climb and availability drops. While it’s true that last-minute bargains can be had if you’re flexible, locking in your dream trip now can be worth your peace of mind. And it will give you time to make sure you have the perfect luggage and accessories before you take off!

If you’re booking air travel, you’ll generally find better prices and more seats available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, says Brent McHenry, director of marketing and communications at Dane County Regional Airport: “Avoid Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; business travel doesn’t stop as the holidays approach, so it’s better to book around it.”

McHenry notes, too, that many travelers find it much less stressful to fly from DCRA, rather than drive to Milwaukee or Chicago to catch a flight. “The holidays are hectic enough; you don’t need a long drive or a hotel stay the night before you leave,” he says. “Here [in Madison] you’ll get through security quickly and easily—and we have a beautiful facility.”

In addition, parking at DCRA compares very favorably with what’s available at farther-away airports. “Parking is adjacent to the terminal, so it’s close, convenient and affordable compared to other big city airports,” McHenry notes. “It’s covered, so if the weather is breaking the bank.”

DCRA has worked to add affordable nonstop flights and offers a number of options. As of November, there are two nonstops daily to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. “The city is a great destination for holidays, with all the productions and shows, and with these convenient flights you can even go for a quick weekend trip,” McHenry says.

He’s anticipating more traffic to the New York area. “LaGuardia is now a Delta hub, with a new, very beautiful terminal,” says McHenry. “You can get flights there to over 200 destinations. If you’re planning a trip overseas, you can get a nonstop to New York and it’s an easy one-hop to international destinations.”

This presents new possibilities for local travelers, says McHenry: “You can leave Madison in the morning or later in the day, which is helpful. If you’re catching a long international flight you’ll want to get to New York in the morning, but most eight-hour flights leave in the evening and fly overnight, so you can leave Madison later.” 

“The majority, 91 percent, of Delta flights from Madison will have two-class service—they’re not small planes—so if you’re a frequent flyer with upgrades, you can use them,” McHenry explains. “That’s a great thing for us.”

The airport also offers quite a few nonstop flights to Denver on United and Frontier Airlines for ski destinations. And for sun-lovers, there are nonstops to Orlando. “It’s a and the great weather,” says McHenry.

three daily nonstop flights. “You can go anywhere in the world from Atlanta in one stop, including Australia,” McHenry marvels. “And Atlanta is also beautiful but not hot.”

McHenry says that Madison airport staff continue to listen to travelers’ needs and add flights. “The more we can all use the DCRA, the more flights we can continue to add, keep what we have, and get new routes,” he says. “It allows us to work with airlines to offer new routes, larger aircraft, and more destinations.”

service to the Dells,” she adds. “We’re very unique and fortunate to be so close to its shopping and entertainment venues.”

suites, from custom and deluxe rooms to hospitality, executive, VIP and romantic honeymoon suites.

“Our VIP wing has amazing suites and rooms and its own secure door, so traffic décor is top-notch and the beds are a dream to sleep in.”

which is winterized for hardy, year-round bingo, and two lounges.

“A lot of guests traveling from the Twin Cities, Chicago, or Milwaukee like to stop like our adult atmosphere, but we also have Kids Quest and childcare available—parents can relax knowing their children are in good hands. They can do day trips, come back, and have the convenience of our amenities.”

The biggest holiday event at Ho-Chunk is New Year’s Eve. Every year Ho-Chunk Gaming and the Ho-Chunk Nation join with a community partner to raise money for a worthy cause. Last year the event raised Flight for World War II veterans—all wrist band sales for the night’s events will go to this great cause. “It’s $13, but many people donate more,” says Thundercloud.

“We have big band music in our Upper band in our sports bar, pretty much all night,” she adds. “There are three different parties—it’ll be a very happy New Year.”