The timing of this latest entry in the blogging saga was not created with the holidays in mind, however, it is only fitting that I share this information for those who will be traveling in the upcoming weeks. The information provided focuses on air travel as that is my primary means of transportation for long distance travel; however, it can apply to travel by train or bus as well. Listed below are a few tips that travelers can keep in mind to avoid missing their initial flight or connections.
- Don’t oversleep
I know this sounds like a no-brainer; however, you do not know how many people miss a flight because they just wanted to catch a few Z’s and rest their eyes—only to realize that the 15 minute cat nap lasted longer than expected. To prevent this, set your alarm on a few devices and make sure the sound is turned up. If you happen to be in a hotel, request a wake up call as well.
- You neglected to account for traffic
So, you have traveled to the airport a million times. It only takes you 30 minutes to get there and park the car. Unfortunately, you forgot about the construction on the parkway, the road closures, or the other thousand passengers making their way to the airport. Always pad your travel time to the airport just in case of an unforeseen traffic accident/incident or a sudden weather event that causes people to hit the breaks.
- Wrong Time/Wrong Day
You checked your ticket a million times. You added your itinerary to your personal calendar. But some how, some way you went to the airport a day after the departure date or arrived at the airport after the scheduled departure time. Bummer! Well, best case scenario is that the airline books you in next available flight—- gratis (free of charge). Worst case scenario, you have to pay to be re-booked.
- Doodallying too long between connections
You have a few hours in between connections and are a little restless, so you decide to kill time by strolling around the concourse. No biggie, right? Only if you mind the time. Sometimes those hours can slip away in what seems like seconds. The last thing that you want to do is be on concourse A at the Atlanta airport and and have to get to concourse E within 10 minutes. Even with the underground shuttle service, concourses can be very long and walking from one end to another to catch a shuttle can merit Usain Bolt like speed.
- You forgot your identification
I have personally experienced this one. On a recent trip to Curacao, I arrived at the airport with about an hour an half prior to departure. I parked the car, grabbed my bags and headed to the terminal. Once I cleared security, I sat at the gate for a few minutes and waited until pre-boarding. As it happens, I actually was not due into Curacao until the following day and was going to spend the night in Miami, so I cleared security using my drivers license. Women’s intuition kicked in and something told me to make sure I had my passport. Uh oh. Oh no, I left the passport in the car and the plan was boarding. Short story long— I told the gate agent that I forgot my passport and was going to miss the flight, she was kind enough to get me on the first thing smoking in the a.m. which allowed me to make my connection to Curacao the following day. Since that trip, I practically glue my passport to my person when I have to travel abroad.
- Security? What Security?
In these days and times everyone knows that you have to clear security prior to going to your terminal. However, for some reason, people often forget to factor this into the equation. People forget about the individuals traveling with children, those who bring everything and have to put it all on the conveyor belt and those who are just plain slow. There is also the fact that at some airports, there may only be one TSA agent checking individuals in. Bottom line, add an extra hour to your itinerary to clear security.