According to a survey by Bankrate, only 2 out of 10 travelers were able to complete their trips without any travel problems during the month of June. As summer has unfolded, there’s been turmoil in the aviation sector as airports and airlines have struggled with short-staffing. A significant increase in travel demand has made it difficult for the small amount of staff available to keep up. And to add fuel to the fire, inflation is higher than ever, making life more difficult for all travelers and airlines alike. As a result, about 80% of travelers surveyed reported some type of travel-related issue during their trips during the month of June.
Most Common Travel-Related Issues
- 57% of travelers reported higher costs than they were used to
- 26% reported difficulty finding availability with accommodations and flights
- 29% reported long wait times
- 27% reported unsatisfactory customer service
- 14% reported the loss of money due to canceled or disrupted plans
So What Can You Do?
While there is no way to 100% guarantee that you will complete your trip without disruption, there are ways to mitigate your risk. Before embarking on any travel, it is essential to know your passenger rights, what to do in case of lost luggage, and how to minimize your chances of losing luggage.
Combating Higher Costs
Unfortunately, inflation is higher than it has been in four decades. As a result, finding flights and accommodation that match previous year’s vacation budgets can be difficult. This summer, in particular, may be worth looking into a cruise, as it is likely the best value for money vacation this year. For costs while traveling, it can be tougher to save when prices are high. To minimize costs, be sure to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, try sticking to local foods that are often more affordable, and take advantage of attractions that offer free admission.
Combating Low Availability
It can be difficult to travel when nearly everything is already booked, but not all hope is lost! Here are a few things you can try when having difficulty finding accommodation.
- Call the hotel. Sometimes availability isn’t always up to date on booking websites, so it may be worth reaching out in person to see if any rooms are available.
- Get creative. Are you traveling with a group of four? Would one larger room work rather than two separate, or vice-versa? If the room you want isn’t available, there may still be a way to make it work with your group if you are flexible.
Combating Long Wait Times
Nobody likes waiting in line, but that is the unfortunate reality facing travelers this summer. Short staff has led to long wait times for airport security worldwide. If you are lucky enough to be flying out of certain airports, you may be able to skip the TSA line for free with advanced reservation. Otherwise, programs such as TSA precheck and CLEAR are your best bet for getting through airport security more quickly. While the programs are not free, they typically save a lot of time going through the TSA lines.
Combating Unsatisfactory Customer Service
There isn’t a way to force a service representative to ensure you have a good experience. Still, there are things you can do to heighten your chances of a good experience. As hard as it may be, staying positive throughout the interaction will do more for your case than anything else. Aviation staff have had a tough year, and they are much more likely to be on your side of an issue if you are easy to deal with and explain your situation efficiently. If you run into bad customer service and your problem remains unsolved, escalate the case until you’ve got what you need.
Combating Monetary Loss From Cancelled or Disrupted Plans
It’s nice when everything goes according to plan, but you should plan for the worst this summer. As cancellations and delays continue to interrupt travel plans, it is more important than ever to ensure you are protected. One of the best ways to financially protect yourself when planning a trip is to get travel insurance. Travel insurance often covers some of the “non-refundable” items on your trip’s checklist.
Putting It All Together
If you’d like to be a part of the 20% of travelers who experienced no travel-related issues, following some of the guidelines above will push you in the right direction. This summer is the first big travel season since the pandemic’s start, and demand has skyrocketed. If you expect the worst and plan for it, you will be one step ahead of the game and closer to an amazing, trouble-free trip!
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories