Our news feeds are filled with stories of flights cancellations, delays, and lost baggage right now, Having just returned from Europe with some rather "adventurous" flights of our own, I'm glad I could experience travel firsthand to see what the conditions are really like. Based on my experiences, I wanted to share 5 insights with you on how to best prepare for travel right now. I definitely think it's still worthwhile to get out there, but adjusting expectations and planning appropriately are an essential part of it.
1. Leave ample time at the airport. When you hear on the news to arrive 3 hours early for your flight, due to long security lines, it's not hype. You may be lucky and arrive while there is a lull in security, but don't count on it. Instead, plan on bag drop taking 30 minutes and the security line taking an hour (unless you have TS Pre). It's better to end up with plenty of extra time than not having enough. Plus, it feels good to just get out the door and be on your way, ready at your gate. It beats the alternative of starting your trip stressed out that you'll miss your flight.
2. Expect Delays. Between aircraft issues, weather challenges, and staffing shortages, delays are occurring left and right. When selecting flights, select a layover with a large cushion, to give you a buffer in case of delay. Better yet, pay a little extra to fly nonstop when you can. That way, even a delay won't derail your travel plans too much. Also, be sure to pack ample snacks in your travel bag, in case you get stuck sitting on a tarmac. It's hard to deal with delays as it is, but even harder when you're hungry!
3. Carry your essentials in your carry on. I know this is old, standard travel advice, but it's definitely worth revisiting and emphasizing. As services have improved over the years, I've found myself trusting the airlines to deliver my bags and therefore not packing my carryon wisely. However, in these days of delays, missed flights, and lost luggage, it's time to get back to basics. Be sure to pack an extra set of clothes, as well as essential medication, in your carryon. Assume you may not see your checked bags for a day or two, then carry what you'd absolutely need with you on the plane.
4. Covid is still out there. Simply because the world is open doesn't mean Covid is taking a holiday. If you are concerned about coming down with the virus, be sure to pack your masks and wear them. While some people aren't wearing them, there are plenty who are, so you won't stand out as odd for taking appropriate precautions. As has been the case since travel started up again, each person needs to decide how comfortable they are with travel, and make decisions accordingly.
5. Travel Insurance is essential. If you plan to travel, make the small additional investment to protect yourself with travel insurance. Bags lost and you need to replace your missing items? Travel insurance can help. Fall ill and need to quarantine instead of enjoying your vacation? Travel insurance can help. End up with a canceled flight and need to pay out of pocket to get on another plane? Travel insurance can help. Not only will the policy be of help financially, but the peace of mind that comes with it is also of great benefit.
Sure, it's a bit messy out there right now, but there are also many really good reasons to get out there and travel. Destinations are so incredibly thankful to have visitors return and restart their economies. There are beautiful landscapes that are thriving, waiting to be explored. And there are wonderful memories waiting to be created. It's okay to get out there, just be prepared when you do so. When the time is right, I'd love to help you plan and prepare for your adventure. Please feel free to call or email any time!
Lisa is the travel loving, animal adoring, Mickey Mouse hugging owner of Dreams Delivered Travel.