Think back to last summer. Remember all the travel horror stories? Missed connections, lost luggage, lines and wait times that lasted for what seemed like an eternity? I hate to say it, and hope that I am completely wrong, but be prepared for history to repeat itself this year. Why? Well, travel is back, restrictions have lifted, and people are ready to get out and take vacations that they weren’t ready to take or couldn’t take these past 3 years. By no means, am I proposing you opt out of taking a vacation. I am in full support of people traveling! I just want travelers to be aware, and provide you with some tips to help your vacations go as smoothly as possible.
Start Your Vacation Early
If you are flying, you need to get to the airport early. The earlier the better. For domestic flights, be there at least 1.5 hours early. If you are flying internationally (meaning your final destination is not in the US), I recommend being at the airport 3 hours early. If you end up with time on your hands, GREAT. Go grab a cup of coffee, or an early morning cocktail (where else is it socially acceptable to start drinking at 6:00 am?!). It is so much better to start your vacation off relaxed and with a little time to spare, than stressed out and running to your gate.
Packing For Your Vacation
Again, remember the mess with lost luggage last year? If you can get by with just a carry-on, I would recommend NOT checking bags. This is especially true if you have one or more connecting flights. Full disclosure, I am not someone who can operate out of one carry-on. I do, and always will check my bag (do as I say, not as I do for this one). With that being said, I did purchase Apple AirTags and stick one in each bag, this way I can see where my bags are at all times.
Another option is to ship your bags ahead of time. I would highly recommend this if you are traveling with sports equipment, have a special event you are traveling for, or perhaps you don’t want to deal with rolling your suitcases through a crowded airport. The luggage can be scheduled for pick up from your doorstep, or can be dropped off at a local drop off point. From there it will be delivered to your hotel, cruise ship or even the golf course! It’s not inexpensive, but it will give you peace of mind that everything you need will be waiting for you when you arrive at your destination.
Apply for TSA Precheck, Clear and Global Entry
We can expect incredibly long lines at the airport. Your wait time will be drastically reduced once you get TSA Precheck, Clear and Global Entry. I am sure you have seen the people zip through security, and you may have wondered how they do that? The answer- TSA Precheck. If you are a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you too can apply for TSA Precheck. Clear is a registered traveler program that allows its members to verify their identities at touchless, biometric security kiosks instead of waiting for a TSA representative to check their boarding pass and ID.
Global Entry is a program that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival to the United States. There is an application process for each. And there are fees involved. I encourage you to apply. Once approved, you will be grateful to be bypassing those long lines.
The Most Important Thing to Take on Vacation: Your Patience
Let’s be honest for a moment, waiting in line, rushing around, trying to figure out where you are going is stressful. Flight delays, missing luggage, and staffing issues are frustrating. My final bit of advice to help you maintain your sanity while traveling is to take a beat, and then take a deep breath. Three years ago, we were on lockdown. Our plans, vacations, life events were all put on pause or canceled. When I notice my anxiety rising, I take a deep breath and do my best to be grateful that I am able to be traveling again. It’s ok to get stressed out and overwhelmed, but please don’t let it overshadow the joy and memories you will make on your vacation. The most important thing you can pack, when traveling, is your patience.
Plan Your Summer Vacation
Have you booked your summer vacation yet? It’s not too late, and we are eager to help make your vacation dreams come true! We love working with our clients to help create incredible vacation experiences, filled with memories to last a lifetime. See what it’s like to have an expert plan your next vacation HERE. And when you are ready to get your dream vacation on the books, we invite you to schedule a complimentary planning session HERE.