Summer travel has arrived with a vengeance. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard about the airline industry’s worldwide meltdown complete with massive flight delays and cancellations. Besides the worldwide staffing shortages, airlines were simply unprepared for the massive resurgence in travel as the world opens up and countries relax or remove their travel restrictions.
It probably seems daunting, but with a little preparation, you can take all these challenges in stride and have the amazing vacation you’ve been looking forward to.
Here are 5 handy tips to help your vacation go off with ease.
USE A TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL
As a trusted travel advisor my mission is to create beautiful, personalized, custom trips for your and your families – I do all the work, so all you have to do is enjoy your vacation. I say this because it goes so much further than just booking your trip. It’s my role to make sure your travel is seamless, and that includes handling all the unpleasantness that may develop.
For example, I recently was on the phone at 4:00am with United because my clients’ 6:30am flight to Hawaii was cancelled. Once I had new flights sorted out, I spent 2 hours on the phone adjusting their hotel and rental car. They didn’t spend a single minute rearranging their trip. Would the internet or an online travel agency have done that for them? No. I know and care about my clients; the internet does not.
Even though there’s not much we can do about a cancellation, we can lessen the blow by careful planning. When booking your flights, make sure you book an airline that has multiple flights during the day to your destination (not always a possibility to some destinations). Hint: this means do not even consider flying Spirit. Try to book yourself on a flight early in the day, that way if your flight is canceled and delayed, you have a better chance of getting out that day. Book early – the closer you get to travel the more expensive it will be and airfare overall is expected to just get more expensive this year.
If you’re traveling internationally, check the status of your passport as soon as you decide on your vacation. Many countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months after your travel is complete. Don’t wait until the last minute to pull it out only to discover it’s expired. Fortunately, the State Department has caught up with the backlog of passport applications it experienced in 2021, so passport applications are generally being processed in a matter of weeks.
BE FLEXIBLE AND PATIENT
This is probably the number one consideration when getting ready to depart on your summer vacation or planning the next trip. No one, even those of us in the industry, knows when a destination or a travel supplier will change its policies or when an airline will cancel a flight. Please be patient as we all navigate through these new twists and turns, and trust that travel advisors such as myself have your best interests in mind and will make sure your trip goes as smooth as possible no matter what.
This means if your flight is cancelled, you may need to fly out the next day, or on another airline or even from another airport. It means that if one of your tours or activities is unavailable, you may need to pivot and try something else. If a country changes it’s entry requirements, you need to be prepared to roll with it. I will keep you up to date on any new developments as soon as I hear about them.
BUY TRAVEL PROTECTION
Should you buy it or shouldn’t you? Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes! General travel insurance does not pandemics and epidemics, meaning you cannot cancel because you simply do not feel safe traveling. But it will cover you if you have to cancel because you have become ill before or during your trip. It will also protect you in the event of trip delay, trip interruption, baggage delay, baggage loss, and many other things. This means that if your trip is delayed or your luggage goes missing and you incur extra costs, you may be entitled to compensation.
That family to Hawaii that I mentioned? They almost didn’t buy travel protection, but in the end they did, and now they may have extra recourse for their delayed trip. Your trip cost a lot of money. Why would you not spend a little extra to protect it?
Please note: Coverage varies between policies. I am not a licensed insurance agent and am not legally authorized to answer specific questions about any particular policy.
Are you the type of person who enjoys the challenge of arriving to the airport as late as humanly possible? Stop that right now. Traditionally, we’ve always said to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours before international travel. Now, consider adding an hour onto those and get to the airport as early as you can. Case in point – recent photos showed security lines at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport out the building. While you may never encounter lines that long, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re early, head to the bar.
Summer travel is here! You’re going on vacation! As your trusted travel advisor, I do all the work so all you have to do is make the memories.
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