(credit: Thinkstock)

The holidays are supposed to be a time for family and fun, yet travel plans can quickly make the holiday season stressful. For Las Vegas locals traveling out of town during the upcoming months, there are some holiday travel tips that can help relieve some of the stress and make traveling more exciting.
McCarran Airport Economy Parking Lot
McCarran Airport
576 Kitty Hawk Way
Las Vegas, NV 89119

You have packed your bags and are now trying to decide whether you should drive to the airport or get a ride. You have a few options to choose from. The best and cheapest choice is to get a friend to drive you. But sometimes that is not an option. Parking at the airport can get expensive depending on the number of days you will be out of town. However, the economy lot can save you the hassle of coordinating a ride and is less expensive than you might think. The daily max for parking at the economy lot is $8 and once you are parked, convenient shuttle buses take you directly to the airport terminal. Security patrol and cameras are in place to make sure your vehicle stays safe while you are gone.
CLS Las Vegas
6430 S. Procyon St.
Las Vegas, NV 89118
(702) 740-4545

Bell Trans
1900 Industrial Road
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 739-7990

The other option you can choose for transportation to the airport is a car service. This option may be a little more expensive depending on where you live in the Las Vegas valley. Car service is good for people who don’t want their vehicle left outside at the airport while out of town. Many companies offer this service locally but the best two options are CLS Las Vegas and Bell Trans. Both have a wide variety of vehicle types and sizes depending on how many people are going and how much luggage you have. The best bet is to call both for a quote and choose the one that is most reasonably priced.

Shops at McCarran International Airport
List of stores: www.mccarran.com

You just made it through security at the airport and remembered at the last minute that a gift wasn’t purchased for a family member you’re going to visit? Don’t worry. Both terminals at McCarran Airport have many gift shops and stores to choose from. Whether you need a nice perfume, a box of chocolates, a coffee mug or a nice set of headphones, there are ample options to make those last minute holiday purchases before boarding your plane.

TIP: There are two security checkpoints at McCarran’s Terminal 1; one in the center part of the airport where most people go and one tucked away. As a tip for travelers trying to avoid long lines, take a walk down to the very end of the airport. Keep walking so the airport counters are on your right and the outside doors are on your left. At the very end of the check-in area, there will be a set of escalators going up to the second security checkpoint. This checkpoint tends to move more quickly since most out-of-town travelers are not aware of it. So lets keep this to ourselves and enjoy the shorter line.

Related: Best Places On The Strip To Celebrate Christmas

Ethel M Chocolate Factory
2 Cactus Garden Drive
Henderson, NV 89014
(702) 435-2655

If you’re not traveling outside of Las Vegas for the holidays, you may be looking for that one thing to do with the entire family right here in the valley. The holiday season kicked off on November 13th at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory’s Cactus Garden when the 19th annual Holiday Lights Show came to life. The exhibit is free and open to the public through January 1st, 2013. The garden spans across three acres and features over 300 species of plants that will be lit up in their holiday best. Steps away from the garden is the chocolate factory that will be open for tours as well. Grab a hot chocolate to keep you warm and don’t hesitate to buy a box of candies as a gift for yourself.

Related: Great Gifts for $10 or Less

Jason Dinant is a freelance writer covering all things Las Vegas. His work can be found on Examiner.com.