If you’ve so much as googled “summer travel,” you’ve undoubtedly come across an article that sheds light on the mayhem going on at airports. People’s experiences range from hours in security lines, to lost baggage, to canceled flights. American travelers to Europe have been hit particularly hard, with government agencies and airlines struggling to keep up with the demand for European vacations, which has surpassed 2019 levels in most places. At London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airports, passengers waited up to 6 hours in security lines.
Demand for summer travel to Europe is going up by the day, and prices for airfare, accomodations, even car rentals certainly reflect this. Our advice? Book now. Inflation, staffing shortages, and pent-up post-Covid wanderlust are just a few reasons for air travel’s nearly 40% price increase, but there are deals to be found, especially if you book at least a month ahead. Even in Business Class!
Additionally, following Biden’s recent decision to drop the requirement for a negative test before flying to the United States, we can only expect the surge in bookings will continue. Procrastination (at least when it comes to air travel), especially this summer, is financially unwise–flights are predicted to keep going up in price, so book now to save later.
We had top travel experts weigh in with their tips and tricks on how to limit these disruptions, ensuring the smoothest travel possible in these unusual times:
- Download your airline’s app. In some cases, other than delays, some airlines are changing flight schedules at the last minute due to staffing issues. By getting on your carrier’s app, you’ll get the most up-to-date, minute-by-minute changes for easier rebooking should you need to make quick moves.
- Arriving at the airport 2 hours before the flight? Try 4 hours. Travel experts are encouraging travelers within Europe to give themselves a minimum of 4 hours before their scheduled take off to get through long lines.
- Take the most direct route, always. Every major city offers direct flights to popular destinations. Think: NYC to Paris, Boston to Rome. Less connections means less disruptions. Plus, if you’re transitioning through a major hub and you miss your connection, most likely there will be other flights a few hours later for you to hop on. Pro tip: If you have to connect somewhere, do it in the U.S. as opposed to Europe. Most flights to Europe leave at night and if you connect in the morning you will be groggy and try to fall asleep in the nearest chair. This won’t be a problem to you if you connect in the United States.
- Book the latest flight available on a given day: If you get on a 6pm flight you will arrive at midnight and you won’t get any sleep–this way you’re bound to arrive at your destination rested.
- Don’t check your bags! Staff shortages at airports have caused lost baggage delivery delays of up to one week. If traveling light isn’t an option, at least bring a few day’s worth of necessities in your carry on.
- It’s time to say yes to travel insurance: this summer, you want to make sure flight disruptions and accommodations and lost baggage are covered, but be sure to read the fine print as policies vary and sometimes only provide limited coverage.
- When booking hotels, cars, or experiences, choose options that have the most flexible cancellation policies–this way you won’t wind up paying out of pocket for major disruptions.
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