With time off from work in short supply, taking a vacation is increasingly pressured filled because people want to make the most out of their limited time. This means trying to plan a trip that goes flawlessly and actively trying to avoid travel nightmares. Remember that planning doesn’t mean rigidity or a lack of spontaneity; it just means you value your time and want to enjoy a near-flawless trip.
While you can’t control the weather or mechanically-caused flight delays, you can increase your odds for a great trip by following this expert advice.
- think about skipping the airplane
- select the right travel company
- plan a reasonable trip
- read the fine print
- check your flight status before you depart for the airport
- lose your passport
- travel with people that aren’t a good match
- wait until the last minute to book a room
- check your luggage
- choose a flight with a very short layover
If your trip isn’t prohibitively far and isn’t over a holiday weekend, then consider a classic road trip or even a train ride. Flying is fraught with tension and it’s expensive as well, so think about driving for your next trip if you are not prone to road rage or impatience.
Not all online booking sites are built the same. Choose reputable companies that can consistently get you the best deal and also offer exemplary service in case something goes wrong. The very best online travel sites will offer personalized service through a call center so you can get expert advice on planning your trip.
You want to book a trip that features a fun destination and gives you time to relax. Sounds simple enough, but many travelers overextend themselves or choose the wrong type of trip. For example, avoid a seven hour one-way drive for just a regular or even three-day weekend trip. You don’t want the travel time to eclipse your awake time at the destination. You also need to consider your traveling companions. Do you have three kids with you? Then don’t plan the museum tour trip that you are your spouse have been dreaming of. It just won’t work.
The devil is certainly in the details, which is especially true when it comes to reviewing the fine print found in travel confirmations and cancellation policies. Travel insurance might be riddled with exclusions, and might not provide coverage for a variety of situations.
Check your online flight status that night before and morning of your flight. If you notice a problem, then get online and on the phone right away. If the flight will be canceled, then you want to be one of the first to call about other arrangements.
Even though we live in a digital age, international travel is very dependent on a little paper booklet. Keep your passport safe at all times as the time you will have to spend to get a new one will severely cut into your trip. Scan copies of the passport and email them to yourself and a friend before you leave.
If you’re looking for a nice quiet weekend getaway to wine country filled with good food and conversation, then don’t invite the “friend of a friend” who is notorious for being loud and obnoxious. If your plans are tied up with others, then be sure their interests and personas are good matches for you so you can get what you want out of the trip.
Room rates are typically lowest when booked at least 21 days in advance. Don’t procrastinate and book ahead to have more money to spend on the rest of your trip. Booking late can also mean you are stuck in the “wrong” part of town or are too far from public transportation to enjoy the sites efficiently.
This is an old tip, but it’s worth repeating. Packing light is a joyous way to travel because it keeps you flexible and movable and it can also save on baggage fees. Unless you are going to the middle of nowhere, you can always purchase toiletries and clothing from local merchants. If you are traveling to an inexpensive destination then buying and then donating clothing can be cheaper than baggage fees. If you must check a bag, then be sure it has some easily identifiable features so you can describe it properly if it’s lost. Carry on essential items including a change of clothes, so you can at least manage for a day or two if you have to.
Many travelers book their flight online and pay little attention to their connection details. Some layovers are only 35 to 40 minutes long, which can go in a flash in big multi-terminal airports. Choosing such a short layover doesn’t give you a cushion of time in the event of delay. It also pays to make sure your trip doesn’t have an inordinately long layover either.
Travel is supposed to be spontaneous and fun. Some hiccups along the way are to be expected, and they can even push you into new experiences. However, you want a trip that has as few bumps as possible, so follow these tips to enjoy a near-flawless travel experience.