Will Your Summer Travel Plans Be Botched by Airport Disruptions? 3 min read
After a long two years of worrying about illness, many people are returning to normal life this summer—which means international travel has picked up. The problem is that many folks are still getting infected with COVID, and staff shortages are leading to many disruptions at airports across the world.
If you have plans to travel internationally this summer, here are some ways to anticipate the worst and protect yourself, your wallet and your time.
Reconsider or Streamline Your Plans
If you haven’t yet booked a trip, you might want to reschedule for this fall or even next year. It’s exciting to be able to travel again—especially with the impending discontinuation of the COVID testing requirement for international travel—but now might not be the best time to do it.
If you’re set on taking a trip this summer, try to streamline your travel plans as much as possible. This means booking direct flights instead of those with layovers, to cut down on the possibility of a snafu like lost luggage or missed connections.
For trips with stops in multiple countries, you might consider taking a train or boat instead of a plane. But be aware that these alternative transportation options might book up fast or come with a hefty price because of an increase in demand for travel options.
Arrive Earlier than Usual
Those who travel internationally know that they should arrive at the airport two to three hours before their scheduled departure to allow for long security and customs lines. But now officials at European airports are suggesting arriving three to four hours early for your flights. Also be prepared to face last-minute cancellations and delays due to staff shortages.
Mark Your Luggage Clearly
Staff shortages are also leading to issues with lost or delayed luggage. If you’re going on a short journey, it might be a good idea to try and pack carry-on only. For trips where you must check a bag, be sure to clearly mark your name and contact information in case of a luggage delay. And pack a change of clothes and any essential toiletries and medications in your carry-on—you don’t want to be stuck in a bind if your luggage is lost.
Splurge on Travel Insurance
Now is the time to pay for the most flexible travel insurance policies possible. While airlines may give full refunds for significant delays or cancellations, they are not responsible for funds lost to canceled hotels, car rentals or excursions. A flexible travel insurance policy will ensure that you’re covered if your travel plans change last minute for any reason—from a case of COVID to a canceled flight.
Don’t forget that you can still get infected with COVID, especially now that most airports and airlines no longer require masking and many COVID testing requirements have now been lifted. Travel health insurance can help ensure that you’re covered in case you face a bad case of COVID or another illness or injury.
Be Patient and Flexible
Most importantly, patience is key to getting through travel delays and disruptions. While your trip may not go exactly as planned, you can still enjoy your international trip by looking on the bright side and taking it one day at a time.