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Are you traveling this summer? Yes, I’m looking at you, because it seems everyone everywhere is headed somewhere.
Summer may be half over – how is it August already?? – but there’s still plenty of you out there who might benefit from a few tips and tricks for the back half of the season.
Having traveled both abroad and domestically multiple times in the past couple months, with another trip coming in two weeks, here are my suggestions for surviving the summer travel madness.
The travel industry is working at capacity right now. There is a global staffing shortage and hotels, airlines, airports, restaurants, car rental companies, etc. were all hit incredibly hard by the pandemic. Everyone is doing their best given that 2022 has become the year of revenge travel.
Be patient. Be kind and courteous. Learn how to say “thank you” in the language of whatever country you are visiting. A little effort on your part will go a long way.
Set your personal expectations accordingly. Know that you may not have the exact same experience traveling that you did in 2019. A go-with-the-flow mindset will allow you to have the best trip possible.
You’ve seen the news articles: airports and airlines around the world are struggling to keep up with the soar in flight purchases. Do yourself a favor – arrive early.
Many airports are experiencing incredibly long wait times at both check-in and security. If you typically do 1.5 hours or less for domestic flights, bump it up to 2-3 hours depending on your departure airport. For international flights, consider increasing your arrival time to 3-4 hours before your flight.
When booking your flights, try to book the earliest flight times possible. This will decrease the likelihood that your flight will be delayed or cancelled.
When possible, travel with carry-on bags only. I know this is difficult – believe me, I’m a notorious overpacker. And make sure your carry-on bags fit the size and weight requirements provided by your airline.
If you are connecting through some airports such as London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, or Amsterdam Schiphol – these are some of the worst hit airports for checked luggage this summer. Try to avoid checking a bag when traveling through these airports, or change your layover location if possible.
If you must check a bag… here are some tips:
Those 50 minute layovers you usually love? Don’t do it.
For domestic trips, I’d recommend 2+ hours, and for international trips 3+ hours.
Extending your layover times will give you better odds of making your next flight should you run into any delays. And it will also give your checked luggage a fighting chance to make it to your next plane.
Thinking of winging it day-of for that visit to the Eiffel Tower? Wait on it at your own risk.
I know sometimes it can feel like a burden to pre-plan all the little details of your trip, but this year I wouldn’t recommend waiting until the last minute because you may not get to do much of anything at all.
Be sure to purchase all your tours, attraction tickets, etc. in advance. Or better yet, work with a travel advisor to ensure everything is good to go so you don’t miss out on that exclusive art exhibit you’ve been eyeing.
You might be tight on time if you’re traveling this summer and haven’t started the processes for any of these yet, but if you can make it work, I’d highly recommend them.
Even if you only travel internationally once a year, Global Entry is worth it. At only $15 more per five years than TSA Pre-Check, which you get with Global Entry, it’s a steal. You’ll breeze through U.S. customs so fast they’ll start calling you The Flash. And frankly, either option is worth the money to keep your shoes and electronics where they are – on your feet and in your bag.
CLEAR only accelerates the whole process by allowing you to sign up for time slots to go through TSA checkpoints, where afterwards you’re pushed to the front of your respective security line. And many credit cards offer money back when you purchase CLEAR with them.
I can’t stress this enough. So many of my clients ask me if it’s worth it, and let me tell you – it is.
My sister and I just traveled to Europe a couple weeks ago and had a 4.5 layover through Charles de Gaulle in Paris. My checked bag made it, hers didn’t.
Luckily, we purchased travel insurance for our trip. Not only has she already received her reimbursement check for baggage delay, but the insurance company is now assisting her in contacting the airline to find her suitcase. And if they can’t, she’s entitled to a lost baggage reimbursement allowance.
And that’s just a baggage example. I know another travel advisor whose son broke his arm while on vacation – thank goodness for travel insurance to cover those medical expenses when out of the country.
Every little bit of extra preparation you can do while traveling this summer will help. Vacation isn’t meant to be stressful – it should be the exact opposite. Hopefully these tips can set you up for success so you can fully enjoy your trip.
Off On Vacation is not in a paid partnership with any products mentioned in this post.