Want to travel in the winter? Plan for Delays…
Why do you want to travel in the winter?
Do you want to go some place to play in the snow?
Visit family and friends?
Get out of the cold and into the sun?
That all sounds good to me, too!
But winter travel can cause a lot of frustration…you hear about it all the time on the news, people stranded in airports, planes stuck on runways and vacation spots closing due to terrible weather.
Here are my suggestions to help make the journey easier:
- AIRLINES - Most people make their reservations several weeks or months ahead and have no idea what the weather will be. If you HAVE to be someplace on a particular date, make your departure at least one day if not two days early. Some parts of the country always have issues, so figure delays or cancellations will always occur. And ALWAYS buy travel insurance.
- AIRPORTS – Anymore all airlines can change your flights to anothercarrier. If your arrival airport is closed, ask to be rerouted to another airport.
- Many times the reservation agents are so stressed they can’t think straight. You tell them what you want. It doesn’t matter whether you go north, south, east or west, just have them send you someplace on some carrier. Then you may be able to get another connection onto your destination.
- If possible, hang out at the airport rather than going to a hotel. Staying around as a “standby” could get you on quicker.
- If you are traveling with others, you may get split up. Flip a coin or something to decide who gets to go. Don’t make an issue if there aren’t 4 seats. Take what you can and go.
- PACKING - Always pack as though your checked bags will never been seen again. Make sure you have a couple of changes of clothes (at least underwear), all your meds, toiletries, your electronic chargers, even a blanket and snacks in your carryon.
- I use a small back pack size suitcase and with those vacuum bags from the luggage store, I can get a lot in it. I even have a small pillow and blanket so I could sleep on the floor.
- MONEY - Never max out your credit cards. Or at least have an emergency one. You may need to pay for a hotel. Airlines are not obligated to comp you a hotel in case of flight problems. Basically they are not obligated to do anything for you. You may need to buy food at the airport. Always keep a small stash of money for emergencies in case the power is out and credit cards won’t work.
- ATTITUDE - It is never the fault of the gate or reservation agent that you are stuck. Being VERY polite and many thank you’s will help you get out quicker. My husband is over gushy, but it works every time. You could even wind up in 1st class like we have at times. If you are angry or frustrated, take a walk, get your smile back and then talk to the agents.
- OTHER OPTIONS - Sometimes the train or bus is a help. Check them out. Or if all else fails, a rental car might work. Take all the phone numbers you might need. Especially if you have a hotel reservation some place and you can’t make it, you will be charged if you don’t cancel it.
- BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE - Take copies of the policy with you with the phone numbers. When you call the company, write down the time, time zone, who you talk to and what they tell you. You should call back a 2nd time just to make sure you are getting the right info.
Air travel is challenging at all times of the year but especially in the winter. Anytime you need to do a connection, that plane may not make it in and you will be stuck.
Planes are full these days and even when they begin flying after a stoppage, it could take some days to get the airports cleared out.
Pack a huge amount of patience. If you don’t have any, then get some before you leave home.
Most of all, book your travel with a Certified Travel Agent - me!!