Travel can be exotic. It can sweep us to new and interesting locations where we can partake in exciting events and fascinating cultures. But let’s face it, traveling can also be downright dull or chaotic, depending upon where we’re headed and what we experience. It’s easy to grow weary when we’re stuck at a crowded airport, train, or bus depot or long line for a car rental. After all, most of us can agree that airport furniture is not comfortable – and let’s not get started on airline food. So, what are we all to do over fourth of July weekend, one that is notorious for travel headaches? Well, it’s simple, we can either stay at home and sulk or suck it up and get going. And the latter is what most of us plan to do. AAA anticipates that a whopping 47.9 million people will be on the go to fourth of July destinations and traveling by car, plane, train, bus, or cruise per Forbes. This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021.
News has it that folks traveling by plane are already experiencing problems as numerous domestic flights are cancelled or delayed. As of 6/26, close to 700 flights were cancelled across the USA, and this number is expected to rise significantly closer to July 4. Airlines cite many reasons for delays, including a current pilot shortage, a lack of airport staff and safety inspectors, poor weather, mechanical delays, late arriving aircraft, traffic control issues, pandemic related issues, the effects of soaring gas prices, and so forth. Per Fox Weather, it has been noted that airline companies now have thousands fewer employees than they did as compared with statistics from 2019. For those of us who hope to remain optimistic about travel, there are three main things we can do. First, don’t lose hope. Remember that getting to your holiday destination, albeit late, is often better than not going. Second, expect delays and be patient. Third, be prepared. More specifically, be ready to troubleshoot problems and create backup plans. If not for your trip now, do it for the future.
So, what can we do to troubleshoot? Whenever trips are planned, build in extra travel time to account for delays. That way you won’t cut your time critically short for places you need to be. This includes altering plans to intentionally avoid arriving to or departing from your destination during the busiest travel days of the year. It may be worthwhile to travel ahead of those busy times and/or extend your stay. In addition, sign up for text alerts and apps that can help you watch your flights so that you don’t arrive at the airport to discover that your flight is cancelled. Having that happen can create additional hardships regarding being stranded and in need of meals and lodging. Another great tip is to skip checking luggage and simply bring a carry-on bag that can fit in the overhead bin of the plane. Generally, most airlines allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag plus another that fits under the seat free of charge for domestic flights. Travelers must comply with their airline’s bag size and weight limits for carry-on luggage. However, rules vary between airlines, so always check in advance. There are several reasons why strictly bringing carry-on luggage is sensible. Most obvious is that you save money. Another is you won’t lose your luggage. In 2021, Travel and Leisure explains that one in every 250 bags gets lost. Others may simply get delayed arriving to their destinations. You’ll also save time at the baggage claim, which can save 30 minutes waiting time on average. Though checked luggage is generally transferred to the next flight when you change planes, should there be a last-minute switch during a layover, you won’t have to waste time worrying about your luggage.
The bottom line is that airline and other transportation units do their best to accommodate an incredibly large number of passengers. This is especially true during peak travel dates such as the fourth of July weekend. So, if a problem is announced, such as a delay, understand that the person making the announcement isn’t at fault. They are simply the messenger. No matter how much you want to be somewhere, please do not take it out on the kind folks who are trying to help you and others get to your destinations. Instead, take a step back and think about how you can make your waiting time more pleasurable. Or seek other solutions. For example, you may inquire about other travel options, such as searching for a new flight or renting a vehicle that can get you where you want to go. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”