Summer is in full swing, and it feels like everyone on social media is hitting the road. If the flight cancellations and delays seem worse than before the pandemic, it’s because they are. According to Newsweek and flight tracking firm FlightAware, “there have now been more canceled flights… in the first half of 2022 than in all of last year—121,918 to the end of June 2022, compared to 121,552 in 2021.”
If you can, it might be best to delay your travel plans a little longer, but if you just can’t wait to get out and explore the world, make sure you plan well to give yourself the best experience possible.
Listen to this week’s episode of the rich & REGULAR podcast for a few of our favorite travel tips. Keep reading for financial considerations and additional suggestions on things to bring.
You know we love an itinerary! Planning a trip is its own kind of pleasure. You get to explore different places to visit, look at possible places to stay, and take a little mental vacation before you even pack a bag. While the daydreaming part of travel is important, it’s also essential that you develop a practical plan for those times when things just don’t go your way.
Thinking through how you’ll handle a flight delay or cancellation, what you’ll do if your bank card is lost or stolen and what items you should have in your suitcase can make your trip easier and safer.
Check out some of our favorite tips that help you plan for issues before they happen to ensure you’re prepared once you reach your destination:
Read the fine print: As more flights are canceled every day, knowing what the airline is required to do in those situations can provide peace of mind and help you develop a plan if things go wrong. Understand your rights as a passenger and what the airline is and is not required to do if they cancel a flight.
While some types of cancellations or overbooking can mean you’re entitled to accommodations and even compensation, other types of cancellations, such as weather or mechanical issues, mean you just have to be patient and search for a new flight.
Be sure to read the fine print and terms and conditions when you book and search the internet for tips on what you’re entitled to receive when an airline cancels a flight. Also research the language to use when negotiating with the customer service representative to help you rebook.
Carry an extra bank card or credit card: Carry a backup debit or credit card to ensure that you have access to your funds, even if your card gets lost or stolen. You don’t want to be caught away from home without a way to pay for food, your hotel or a rental car. Leave your extra cards at the hotel in the safe, along with your passport and other documents. If you’d rather always keep them with you, put your backups in a separate compartment or bag from your primary cards. You’ll still have a backup if one of your cards gets pickpocketed or lost.
Use a no-fee bank card for travel: If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you use a card with no international transaction or ATM fees. Many credit cards charge fees from 1% to 3% on any charges outside of the country. Search for a travel card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and then find one that doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Let your bank know you’re traveling: It’s also a good idea to let your bank know when and where you’ll be traveling. That way, they will likely know that the charges are authorized if they see charges from your travel location. Similarly, if they see charges from a state or country where you aren’t traveling, they can alert you to possible fraud and help you deal with it faster.
Travel light but carry some essentials: You probably know it’s a good idea to have some extra socks, underwear and any medications in your carry-on, just in case your luggage goes missing, but also consider adding a few essentials in your suitcase to make your destination a little more secure:
- Use a combination lock to secure your valuables in a hotel locker or suitcase without worrying about losing a key. While you might have a TSA-approved lock on your suitcase, having a second one in your bag can help give you confidence that no one is going through your things while you’re sightseeing.
- A small rubber door stop can be wedged under a locked door from the inside to prevent unauthorized entry in the middle of the night. While someone may still be able to enter, the door stop may slow them down enough to allow you time to wake up and call for help.
- Essentials like a flashlight and a small first aid kit can keep you safe and help you cover any minor problem without having to search around in a dark room or seek out a pharmacy for basic first aid.
Pack a towel: Carrying a small towel doesn’t add much weight to your pack, but it can prove helpful in a variety of situations. You can bring it to the beach or pool, use it for ground cover for an impromptu picnic, or have it double as a bed sheet or pillow in extreme situations. While you’ll usually have towels available, you’ll know you’re covered if you can’t get a fresh one.
Wear sunscreen: It can be tempting to head out sightseeing or to the beach without thinking about skincare, but remember that sunburn can easily disrupt an otherwise fabulous trip. Be diligent about applying sunscreen and consider wearing a hat and sunglasses if you’re in direct sunlight for long periods.
Travel is always an adventure, but sometimes it’s a lot more hassle than we ever expect. Remember to include practical plans along with your daydreams for a fantastic journey and fun, lasting memories with your family.