A new series from the beloved Jane Trippit asks: This is MoyseTripIt’s vice president of product from Concur, For her best advice when traveling today. Jane spends her time focused on solving the problems of busy travelers, and as an avid traveler, she is intimately familiar with the current state of travel and how to best prepare for the changing landscape.
Check out her latest tips on how to approach air travel to Europe, booking vacations and more. Need advice? Submit your questions for Jane at the end.
Dear Jane: I consider myself a seasoned traveler, but air travel seems like the Wild, Wild West right now. Any tips to make it less scary? – Not my first rodeo
Dear Not My First Rodeo: Expecting and preparing for chaos is the best thing you can do now (and for the foreseeable future). Book your trip early in the day and build in buffer days, especially if you have a big event you’re going to (maybe a wedding), or an appointment (like a cruise departure). That extra time will save you a lot of stress in case of delays or even cancellations. Build that buffer time into your layovers, too. While two hours used to be the gold standard, I’d now recommend planning on three or more to be safe. Get to the airport early (lines will be long, so consider CLEAR and/or TSA PreCheck or Global Entry), and try to get everything going. Remember that airport staff shortages are contributing to more lost luggage, so carry the essentials with you and know what to do if your bag is misplaced. I know it can be hard to keep your cool, but a good attitude, respect for everyone and some patience can go a long way.
Dear Jane: I know I want to travel on vacation, and I usually don’t book my travel until closer to my trip. But I am worried about the rising cost. Is it wise to book now or wait? – Now or later
Favorite Now or Later: If you know where you want to go, I’d say book your trip now. I can’t predict what will happen with costs, but you’ll be safer booking a flight (especially if airlines cut routes or airports cap passengers). With many airlines waiving change fees and some even expiring travel vouchers, booking in advance is more comfortable than ever. Don’t forget to add your flight plans to TripIt. If you’re a TripIt Pro customer, you’ll be notified if your airfare drops after booking, in which case you’re usually eligible for a refund. If you’re open to a destination, keep an eye out for travel deals and book fast if there’s a deal. These deals are usually short-lived, but are a great way to save big on your trip.
Dear Jane: Everyone I know seems to be going to Europe right now! What was the deal? – European Wanderlust
Dear European Wanderlust: I feel the same way! Three different friends of mine were in Italy last week! Why, well, we know Americans have a long love affair with Europe, and especially now, as travelers make up for lost time and lost travel due to the pandemic, more and more Europe is on their bucket list. Another reason we see people going to Europe is that the dollar is so strong; For the first time in nearly 20 years, it has reached parity with the euro. It basically means selling in Europe! Unfortunately, Europe is also struggling with a dramatic rebound in travel amid labor shortages and extreme weather events. Keep this in mind when choosing where to go, and see my response to My First Rodeo Not My First Rodeo on how to go on a trip there.
Dear Jane: Travel restrictions and requirements related to COVID-19 seem to be disappearing around the world. Should I consider Covid “over” when traveling? – What is the protocol?
What is the favorite protocol?: While you are right that travel restrictions and requirements continue to be lifted, I am sorry to say that COVID-19 is not “over”. If true, I think many would agree that it may never happen. While it’s great that we have tools to help avoid serious illness or death, catching COVID-19 is still a risk, especially while traveling and in crowded places, and one you shouldn’t take lightly. I, for one, will continue to wear masks on planes and in crowded indoor venues, and believe it or not, masks are still required in many parts of the world. So my advice is: don’t be afraid to travel (unless you are actively infected, in which case please follow CDC guidelines), just do it – bring and wear a mask, pack some tests, make digital copies of your vaccines or negative tests. Record, research the infection rates and requirements at your destination (including what happens if you test positive while there), and stay on top of existing restrictions and requirements (and likely continue to evolve).
PS TripIt makes it extra easy!