Families will soon be on the move, heading to their vacation gateway.
If a plane is in your plans, you’re probably wondering about those flight delays and cancellations that ruined so many vacations last summer.
In April, the Federal Aviation Administration warned of the potential for major airline delays and cancellations this summer, citing a severe lack of air traffic controllers.
With this advice in mind, you may want to consider booking refundable flights and rooms.
Sally French is a travel and finance expert at NerdWallet.
“NerdWallet recommends booking directly with the hotel simply because it’s easier to change cancellations, and if you’re doing it through a third party like Expedia, the cancellation process means you have to go through by Expedia, which then has to go to the hotel and now there’s this level of middleman,” French said. “When you book directly with the hotel, you avoid that.”
It is important to allow an extra travel day if you are traveling on a cruise ship and to always pack essential items in your hand luggage.
Visit the Ministry of Transport website to learn more about your rights as a passenger.
“I think a lot of people tend to forget that they’re covered by federal law, that if their itinerary is canceled or significantly delayed, whether it’s under airline control or out of control like a weather event, you are protected against getting a full cash refund if you decide not to travel or rebook a new flight as soon as possible,” said Katy Nastro, travel expert at Going.com. “Taking a moment to get to this website and read what you can be covered for will give you some peace of mind.”
If you have a credit card, use it for your trip. Most offer great benefits.
“A lot of people don’t realize that many travel credit cards actually include travel insurance as a benefit. So as long as your card has that benefit and you pay for your trip with that credit card, your trip can be insured,” French said.
Credit cards also offer protection against fraud.
“If you’re traveling overseas, just make sure credit card is accepted,” French said.
If you’re considering buying travel insurance, take the time to read all the fine print. These policies are often riddled with limitations and exclusions.
And don’t forget to download your airline’s app.
“If there are any last-minute changes or delays, you’ll have that information at your fingertips as soon as it happens. That way you can make the best plan,” said Wendy Marley, travel consultant at AAA.
You can avoid queues and reschedule your flights on the app as soon as you see a cancellation or delay appear.
If you’re traveling overseas, download the Department of State’s “SMART traveler app.” There you can sign up for their SMART Traveler enrollment program. The Department of State will alert you to any advisories in your destination country and will contact you in the event of an emergency.
And don’t forget that the help of a travel agent can make planning your trip easier.
“They’re able to help you look at different options,” Marley said. “You’ll want to plan ahead because you can watch off-peak hours, travel during off-peak hours during the week or off-peak season, that helps.”
Be sure to keep an eye out for travel scams. If you see an ad online or an email promising a free or discounted vacation, don’t fall for the trap. These offers are too good to be true, with scammers often behind these fake offers.
Always do your research and never sign or pay for anything until you know the terms of the agreement.