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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Your Most Important Summer Travel Accessory

There are a lot of things you should pack for your summer travels, like sunscreen and shorts and your bathing suit, but there's one thing that's much more important than anything else to a successful trip: your patience. Yes, this sounds like I'm telling you that summer travel will be annoying, and, shockingly, I am. 

There are a lot of things you should pack for your summer travels, but there's one thing more important than anything else for a successful trip.

How do I know? Because Summer travel is always annoying. There are too many people everywhere, things cost more than usual, traffic is bad, and there are kids everywhere. (No offense to kids. I could say the same about drunk adults.) Know that things are going to be challenging and plan for it ahead of time.

If you're flying, then get to the airport early, even if you have Precheck or Global Entry. If you haven't booked your flights yet, you need to get on it ASAP. Try to book the earliest flight in the day that you can afford, so you may sidestep the worst of the delays that start in earnest in the afternoons. 

Speaking of, there are still staff shortages at all the airlines and at the airport, so delays and cancellations will happen. Generally, flights get overbooked, which makes travel in the summer rougher than usual, because most flights are at full capacity and getting bumped is more common than the rest of the year. Check in with your flight as soon as you're allowed (I always have the airline app on my phone, so I get a push notification to remind me when check-in is open, and I can do it quickly and easily, no matter where I am).

This is another reason to get to the airport early. You don't want to be the last person through security for your flight, because the odds of you getting bumped are much higher then. Build in extra time to get there and have entertainment to keep you busy, or plan on getting a meal post-security or using other amenities, like a yoga room, movies, or looking at art. 

Pack light, so the possibility of your bag not getting to your destination with you drops to nearly zero. Not only will you save time and money, but if you get delayed or your flight gets cancelled or rerouted, you have all your belongings with you. There's nothing worse than having to spend the night somewhere and not having an extra change of clothes, toiletries, or other necessities when you need them. 

Invest in travel insurance or check your coverage through your credit cards. Things happen and it's not always optimal. If your travel gets cancelled or you lose days due to a delay, you should be covered.

The plane hasn't even stopped, but there's a line to get off. *sigh*

Let's circle back to patience. Though all of the above things will require it, try to keep your composure and stay chill. Travel can be stressful for a lot of people and when things change, it makes it worse. Remember that it's not the airline crew and gate agents' fault when things go wrong or are delayed. Be nice when you ask them to help you rebook or change seats or whatever else. People are rude to them all day for just doing their job, please don't make it harder on them. 

So, yes, things will take longer, cost more, and be generally more annoying, but knowing that ahead of time and planning for it can help you relax and travel better. Even with the crew shortages and fewer flights to choose from over the last few years, my travels have been fairly normal and all the big annoying things have been things out of my control and have still worked out in the end. Breathing through it and not overreacting, even when I feel like it, is always the best choice.

Once you make it through the airport and get to your destination, annoying things may continue when you have to wait in lines for attractions or get your rental car or visit a museum. So, patience - don't leave home without it!

How do you try to keep your travel days from getting the better of you?

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