Summer is almost here in the Northern Hemisphere. Soon, the kids will be out of school and millions of people will be traveling to vacation destinations all around the globe. If you haven’t booked your International Vacation Home Exchange yet, you may want to here soon. The same goes for flights, rental cars, and passports (required if you are traveling abroad).
Though traveling is exciting for anyone, it can also be incredibly stressful. I can almost feel a panic attack coming on just thinking about security lines and currency exchanges. While you can’t avoid the stress from standing in line at the ticketing counter, there are some things you can do to help mitigate your stress level while traveling this summer. And it will be a crowded and busy travel season, so be prepared.
Go to the airport early. The days of showing up 30 minutes before your flight are over, especially if you are flying through the United States. Already, there are reports of gridlocks in the security lines at all major U.S. airports. This is only going to get worse before it gets better. I would recommend that you show up at least 2 hours for your flight regardless if you are flying domestically or internationally. If you have kids, add another half hour to that 2-hour recommendation.
Get your seat assignment as soon as possible. When you book your airline ticket, look for your seat assignment. If it is not located on the itinerary, call your airline and get a seat assignment. Most flights will be booked. If flights are overbooked and you don’t have a seat assignment when you show up to your gate, you may not be getting on the plane.
Make a checklist. It doesn’t matter if you are veteran traveler, you will likely forget something during the rush to the airport. So save yourself the hassle and make a checklist of everything you need to bring on your trip. And pack a few days ahead of your departure date if you can.
Check in with your International Vacation Home Exchange Coordinator. It never hurts to check in and make sure your reservations are set and everything (including payment) is taken care of so you don’t have any surprises when you arrive at your destination.
Do your airport homework. Yes, you have homework. If you are flying through a major airport (i.e. LaGuardia, Heathrow, O’Hare) make sure you know where you need to go once you arrive. Look at online maps to figure out where the ticketing counters, security checkpoints, and rental car kiosks are located. This is especially important if you have never flown through these airports.
Check out the local news outlets at your destination. As your departure date approaches, it never hurts to know what is going on in the city you are traveling to for your vacation. A quick Google search will bring up the different media outlets for that area. You want to look at things like the weather and if there are any big events (or conventions) that may be going on while you are visiting.
Take care of yourself. This is extremely important. Stress can eat away at your immune system, leaving you susceptible to viruses. No one wants to be sick for his or her vacation. As your trip approaches, be sure to take care of yourself. Be sure you are eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep at night – both are easier when staying in a spacious vacation home.
And as always, safe travels to wherever you may be headed this summer.
Thank you to guest travel writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla.
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