We dream of beautiful destinations....white sand, blue water, island breezes, we can't wait to go and begin living in that dream. BUT, first we have to get there! Even though, I have never been a Sci-Fi fan, on travel day I do wish that the scenes from Star Trek were true, and I could just "beam myself" where I want to go. You see, I'm a travel agent, but not necessarily a good traveler. It comes from being a "control enthusiast" and a planner. Any of you who have traveled know that on travel day, sometimes, the best laid plans go to Hell in a hand basket and you have little control of your environment. As planes continue to pack more passengers to the square foot, layovers seem to either be 42 minutes or 4 hours with nothing in between, and fellow travelers sometimes are less than considerate of their seat mates, getting there can cause a great amount of stress. Many travelers are already stressed out when they arrive to the long airport lines with more self service than customer service, baggage weight limits, the now necessary evil of "stripping down" at TSA checkpoints, and non existent meals/airline food service. By the time we are in our seats, we are not feeling mellow. Then kick in the "what-ifs". Will I be able to get up to go to the restroom? What if my baby cries? Why is the kid behind me kicking my seat while the 5' 2" person in front of me feels the need to recline in my lap? It can be exasperating!
SO, HOW DO WE KEEP A BAD TRAVEL DAY FROM TURNING INTO A BAD VACATION?
1. Be prepared. Seems simple enough. Have a travel check list and pre-travel list, that allow you to be sure you haven't left any boxes unchecked. Seeing those check marks will make you feel like you have some control.
2. Make sure you have read the documents that were provided by your travel agent. There are instructions in those documents that should be followed and will ease your worries.
3. Give yourself ample time. Arriving early also keeps you calm. I would rather be the first person in the line than the last person in the line. When traveling to the airport, give yourself additional travel time, just in case you encounter unexpected traffic delays. Also make sure you allow yourself time to park at the airport and get the shuttle to the terminal. Sometimes this can be a slow process as the shuttle may pick up many travelers from the parking lot if it is a peak time.
4. If you have an early morning flight, consider staying at an airport hotel the night before you fly. A rested traveler has a better demeanor than one who has been up most of the night. Many hotels offer packages that include long term parking, so the cost is really reasonable.
5. Purchase travel insurance. It is worth the minimal cost to have this additional piece of mind. Not only will you be covering yourself against flight delays, cancellation, illness, and lost luggage, most plans provide medical coverage for all passengers as well as rental car coverage, concierge services, and a 24 hr assistance line.
6. Make sure you get your seat assignments right after you book your trip. Picking your seats in advance will ensure you get an aisle seat or whatever seat provides you with the most comfort. If space is an issue or you are claustrophobic, consider paying the extra charge for exit row or economy comfort seating.
7. Eat-low blood sugar can contribute to anxiousness and irritability. Pack a wholesome snack in your carry on bag or carry glucose tablets. Also, drink (non alcoholic). Staying hydrated will help you feel healthy and content.
8. Be a kind traveler. Think of others and smile. Most everyone is feeling the same anxieties that you are, so smile at your fellow passengers, be courteous, if you see a way to be helpful, do it. You know, the old adage, you catch more bees with honey, can go a long way.
9. If you are traveling internationally, it's important to remember that you are in someone else's country and being a US citizen, doesn't grant you immunity to the laws and rules of those locations. Also, you aren't necessarily guaranteed your due process. So, follow the rules! When it says no cameras or cell phones, when going thru immigration and customs, they mean it. Your opinion of the rule doesn't matter. Be courteous to customs officials. make sure you have completed your paperwork as instructed and listen to what they tell you. Those instructions will affect your exit from their country as well.
10. Be smart-confirm your transfer company is the one listed on your documentation. Don't take a ride with anyone who offers it to you. If you visit a property that offers all inclusive, unlimited privileges, just remember just because alcohol is unlimited, you should know your limits! Intoxicated travelers sometimes make poor decisions which can lead to unfavorable outcomes.
11. USE A TRAVEL AGENT, they assist you in whatever manner you need. We are available to our clients, before travel as well as during travel. We are your advocates! We have connections and we aren't afraid to use them to provide you with the best travel experience.
Following these suggestions, and remembering that you are on an adventure from your day to day life, will help you roll with the aggravations of travel days, and still be able to enjoy your vacations. On travel day, chin up, keep your eye on the prize.
Submitted by: Stephanie Temple, Owner
Tons of Fun Travel
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