If you’re one of those venturing abroad for the first time, you’ve probably forgotten a few things about foreign travel since the last time you went abroad. There are also a lot of things that have changed due to the pandemic. Many airports, especially in Europe, are reporting long queues at security, customs and baggage checks, as well as canceled flights, due to a lack of staff.
Here are some reminders before setting off on your next trip.
Check The Expiration Of Your Passport Before Flight Booking
If you haven’t looked at your passport in a while, go get it and look at its expiration date. If you have less than six months of validity left on the passport when you plan to travel, it’s time to renew it.
Even if the passport has not expired, often countries will not allow you entry if you do not have a specified validity period left on your passport. In fact, the airline probably won’t let you board the plane. So be sure to check your destination’s requirements before flight booking.
When to book your plane ticket
Summer plane tickets to Europe are always expensive as it is the most popular time for overseas travel. The weather is warmer. Schools are closed so that students and their families can travel together.
Don’t expect to find many great fares if you want to travel at peak times. Along with the increase in demand, rising gasoline prices will impact the cost of jet fuel. Since fuel is the second biggest expense for an airline behind labor, expect prices to rise in the coming weeks.
Off-season deals often gives the best prices. However, the rule of thumb is to book between one and three months in advance, as prices will increase the closer you get to the departure date.
Finally, if you have the option, wait till the fall. Airline ticket prices are generally cheaper from September to November.
You Must Be Vaccinated To Avoid Additional Restrictions When Traveling To Most Countries
Travel restrictions are loosening around the world, especially in Europe and many more have removed all restrictions of entry related to COVID-19 at their borders. This means that tests, vaccine certificates and passenger locator forms are no longer required from passengers.
But some countries still want passengers to prove they are vaccinated to avoid rules such as testing, including popular summer destinations like France, Greece and Italy. Others like Spain will not even let American or British travelers into the country unless they have been vaccinated or have a recent recovery certificate. In most Asian countries the rules are particularly strict. Some countries require a booster
Remember To Keep Your Eye Out For Flexibility In Prices, Flight Booking, And Insurance
If the previous two years have taught us anything, it is that things are changing quickly. Make sure you can go back and modify anything if necessary.
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your reservation since many locations and airlines have stopped some of their formerly flexible cancellation policies. Finally, make sure you have travel insurance. In particular, there are some new features that you might want to look for in a policy these days:
It’s not just for medical expenses if you get sick, but also for reimbursement of additional expenses like accommodation if you test positive and you have to quarantine or delay your return to home.
Cancel For Any Reason
This gives you the option to cancel if you don’t feel safe and get most of your money back.
Interruption For Any Reason
This is a great provision to have if you plan to go to multiple destinations. If one of your destinations sees an increase in cases and enacts restrictions, you can cancel and move on to your next destination or return home and receive reimbursement for some of the costs you incurred.
Waits At security and Customs Are long in a Few places
When selecting a departure time for the airport, be sure to prepare in advance. Previously, you could arrive one hour before a domestic flight and two hours before an international flight. Airports now recommend getting there two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
Don’t Ignore Emails From Your Airline
Do you usually ignore these preflight emails from your airline? Don’t. Airlines send valuable information you might need — like pre-validation of your COVID-19 documents — that could save you time at the airport. Read whatever message you get from your airline.
Also check that your airline has your correct details. Consider downloading the airline’s app so you can receive push alerts for your flight and be able to rebook quickly if your flight booking is canceled you can check your online air ticket booking.
Airlines Are Still Facing Staff Shortages And It Could Impact Your Flight
Although travel restrictions are easing, COVID-19 continues to be a problem for airlines. As many airlines are still struggling to replenish their workforces to meet demand, many have seen staff calling in sick from the virus.
Pack a change of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on in case you get stuck. Also have your airline’s apps on your phone so you can rebook quickly.
Finding Food Can Be Problematic At Some Airports
Staff shortages are also impacting restaurants and shops inside airports. This means you may still experience limited hours, closed restaurants, or long lines at open restaurants.
Pack an empty water bottle so you can refuel after security and throw some snacks in your carry-on in case you find yourself unable to take food.
Bring A Mask And Patience
It’s a legal requirement that passengers wear masks at most airports (the UK is a notable exception) and if you’re dealing with long queues and crowded terminals, that’s a good idea.
Finally, be patient with your fellow travelers. Airport crowds, delays, cancellations, difficulty finding food at the airport, and the sheer challenge of traveling, in general, combine to create a perfect storm of stress and frustration. Take a deep breath and show restraint with your neighbor.
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