Online check-in is a great invention! Bypass the 1st of the 2 major hurdles at the airport by checking in online whenever possible. Unless you're leaving luggage at the baggage drop, proceed directly to security/TSA.
Checking in yourself and your baggage Airlines can be ruthless. (Heartless!) If your luggage is not checked in at least 1 hour before departure, you could be denied boarding. Some airlines require more than an hour - get informed instead of bumped.
Delays/Cancellations Keep an eye on flight stats. Although you should be alerted if there is a delay or cancellation, that doesn't always happen.
If the flight is delayed it does not mean you can adjust your arrival time to the new estimated departure time. It means show up as originally planned and prepare to wait. They will sometimes get clearance to go early and they will go without you.
If your flight is cancelled, call your travel consultant first ASAP. If it’s after business hours contact our After Hours service. Let us re-accommodate you if we can.
The same wisdom applies to a trip that involves connections and a delay could jeopardize your making the next flight. If you have not yet boarded the aircraft either call your travel consultant directly or our after hours service.
If you are dealing with a gate agent make it clear you don’t want your problem passed off to the next airport but handled then and there if possible. Firmly but very politely - right?
You are our client not the airlines and we have your best interests in mind.
TICKETS & DOCUMENTS
Ticket rules Shouting this one out! Listen the next time your consultant starts going over the fare rules and restrictions, don’t assume you know them and tune out. There are some new surprises. One rule that’s becoming obsolete is being able to cancel a reservation and take a year to reuse the value of your ticket for the same or another destination. Now, on many fares, the cancel and rebooking must be done simultaneously. There’s more out there, too.
Your Passport After the initial contact with your travel consultant to plan an international trip, don’t neglect verifying your passport expiration date. If it is not valid for at least 6 months beyond your trip, your consultant will need to verify the particular requirements for the countries you’re visiting. (Better yet - keep expiration handy on your PC or smartphone.)
Visas If you need a visa, it requires blank pages in your passport, at least 2.
Also, depending on the country, it can take varying amounts of time and additional entry requirements beyond a visa.
Take it with you A copy of your travel documents/vouchers and credit card info. Bring 2 extra passport size photos.
Travelling with children Instead of lugging a heavy car seat through the airport, we hear great things about: the Child Airplane Safety Harness. It’s FAA approved and called Cares Child Aviation Restraint.
Jet lag Dehydration makes it worse. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Bring an empty water bottle with you and fill it up at a water cooler after going through security.
Car rentals Will your card company or auto insurance company pay for collision damage waiver? If you’re on a business trip does your company have a waiver in place that covers CDW?
At the rental counter, when they ask for your license and major credit card, if you hand them a debit card they’ll likely hand it right back to you because most car rental companies don’t accept debit cards.
Also age minimum and maximum requirements apply.
Hotels When you check in and are asked to present a driver’s license and a major credit card, are you aware the hotel is locking a certain amount of credit against your room ? The amount depends on the hotel, how many guests are in the room and intended length of stay. It’s usually hundreds of dollars. If you’ve given them a debit card, banks take a longer time to reverse than a non-debit card.
Phones Find out from your cell phone provider about usage and charges at your destination. Sometimes renting when you get there is a better idea.
Credit Cards Research credit card companies that do not charge the 3% foreign conversion fees. You may have a stellar credit rating but transactions could be denied - for your protection - if you do not alert your credit card company that you will be abroad. Let them know before you go.
Travelers Checks ATM machines are working in more countries than ever before, which makes one rethink if travelers checks are worth the bother and cost. Your bank can verify if you can access ATM cash in your destination.
Of course you intend to definitely absolutely go and we want you to.
Have a conversation with your consultant about how insurance can help if life gets in the way. A short list of benefits includes medical evacuation, family emergencies at home, lost or delayed baggage, even loss of employment.
Travel insurance covers more than you suspect and can save the day.