Many individuals assume the busiest time to travel is the Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday seasons, but in actual fact, the greatest number of people travel during the summer season – from the mid-July to the beginning of September. Tens of millions of people will be on vacation, enjoying their summer getaways before school is back in session and the weather gets cooler for those of us in the northern hemisphere.
Since summer’s not over yet here are some tips to help travellers remain safe and enjoy their well-earned vacation time.
1. Choose Your Travel Dates Wisely
Flying on a Thursday or Friday during the summer months will be the most crowded, and probably the most expensive. That being the case, seats are more likely to be filled – especially the coveted ones by the windows and bulkhead. If you’re heading to the Caribbean or southern U.S. there’s greater chance of tropical storms, and the likelihood of travel delays. Try to book departures on mid-week days to lessen the chance of disruptions and save on costs. In the spring and fall Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday flights are always the cheapest from our experience.
2. Check Airline Information
You should always check in with your airline 24-hours before departure and again prior to leaving for the airport. Thanks to the internet it’s very easy to check if a flight is arriving on time (if it’s delayed by several hours then your departure will now most likely be affected). Be sure to research all airline regulations before leaving- including baggage limitations, policies, and procedures to ensure quick and easy transitions. Airlines’ are trying to have a universal policy, but it’s always a good idea to check the fine print – if you’re flying internationally you may have a 2-bag allowance, but if your first leg of the journey is domestic, you may have to pay for the 2nd or even both bags before you leave the continent – so beware! Check if the airline(s) will allow pre check–in, which can help avoid long lines at the airport.
3. Plan Your Entire Itinerary
While most travellers tend to pre-book their flight and hotel reservations, planning your entire itinerary can help beat the crowds. By making reservations and/or purchasing tickets to activities such as museums, theme parks, and other tourist attractions ahead of time, it can help you avoid long lines and stress, as well as the disappointment of not actually seeing the desired attraction because of time constraints. Store all times, addresses, tickets, and any important information on your mobile phone or a portable USB drive. We always carry electronic copies of our driver’s license, passport, itinerary and other useful information on a jump-drive just in case we lose something (tip: use your camera to snap pictures of your important documents if you don’t have a scanner).
4. Stay Alert
During the summer months a greater volume of travellers also means a higher percentage of travel risks. Scams, theft of personal belongings as well as identity theft is always lurking no matter what country you visit. It is important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Don’t switch your brain off just because you are on holiday – follow important safety precautions, including keeping all of your belongings (and children) in sight, leave a complete itinerary with a trusted friend or family member, and don’t allowing your children to wander off alone.
5. Protect Your Holiday Investment
Going on holiday is not a cheap proposition. With more and more ways to ruin vacation plans these days, purchasing travel insurance may be the most important thing you could do. More travellers mean a higher chance of travel disruptions can to occur along the way- especially when airlines are over-booking almost every flight these days. It is important to remember airline travellers have a higher risk of disruptions including flight delays and cancellations. With the right insurance coverage you can also be reimbursed for any medical emergencies or lost baggage.
6. Additional Free Insurance
Check with your credit card company for additional free coverage of lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations. Many also including car rental insurance (keep an eye on the small print though). Some credit cards cover you for items purchased anywhere – you could be covered for theft and damage to the items you’ve bought on holiday.
7. Potential Translation Problems?
Travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language? Worried about getting into a sticky situation? Check out “VerbalizeIt” – a handy new travel tool that makes sure nothing ever gets lost in translation. It’s available any time of day, anywhere in the world on any device with a free app, on the worldwide web and direct via phone. Even if you only ever use it in case of a medical emergency, it might be the best $9.99 you ever spend – it’s certainly great peace of mind if nothing else!
Heading Off On A Trip? Don’t Forget To Do These 8 Things BEFORE You Leave Home
Flying This Summer? You Might Want To Reconsider
Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
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