Know Your Rights: A Guide to Stress-Free Travel
Written by: Jane Moore of FitWell Traveller
Traveling can be a stressful undertaking even when you are looking forward to the destination, whether it’s a family vacation or romantic getaway with your beloved. Taking road trips with children, spending time in busy airports…it’s enough to jack up anxiety and stress levels for anyone.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ease the stresses of travel. With a little planning and preparation, you can get through anything. Read on to find out the best tips for traveling so you can worry less about the journey and focus on the exciting destination.
Depending on the length of your trip, you may be able to get away with only bringing along a carry-on so you won’t have to deal with the hassle of checking bags. Make sure you know the baggage rules of the airline you are using. Some allow one free carry-on while others charge a fee. In addition, every airline has size limits that a carry-on can’t exceed. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will be able to bring your carry-on onboard, as space is limited. To avoid the dreaded gate-check, board early by purchasing priority boarding or use frequent flyer miles to earn elite status.
Pack smart–only the necessities, roll up t-shirts and sweaters instead of folding them, and think about what you’ll need rather than over-packing “just in case.” If you have to check a bag, do so ahead of time rather than waiting until you are waiting in line to board.
Prepare for the airport
Make sure everyone in the family wears comfortable shoes that will slip on and off easily during security checks. If you’re traveling with children, have them carry a backpack for the plane ride with essentials similar to what you’d send them to daycare with, like a change of clothes, healthy snacks, and comfort items or medications.
Once everyone is settled don’t get too comfortable, as there is a possibility that you may be asked to give up your seat. How is this legal, you ask? When you purchase a ticket, you are consenting to the airline’s “contract of carriage,” giving them the right to remove you from the flight for whatever reason, such as being overbooked or needing to make room for a crew member. Airlines typically ask for volunteers before randomly selecting passenger to get off. However, the Department of Transportation requires that you receive a payout depending on how long it takes you to get to your destination.
If you’re traveling with kids, pack each child a small bag full of things they enjoy, such as a book, a tablet, and art supplies, and don’t forget the snacks. If you have a long trip ahead of you, map out a route that will allow you to see some sights and make a few stops where there are interesting attractions or a nice place to rest. Keep an eye out for important safety signs and rules, such as warnings against swimming or feeding the wildlife. It might take a bit longer to arrive at your destination, but it will be easier to get through the trip with strategically placed stops.
Take the worry out of being away from home
Traveling means you’ll have to leave your house closed up and exposed to burglars, so make sure you tell your neighbors that you’ll be going out of town so they can keep an eye on things while you’re gone. Don’t shutter up every window and leave a few lights on timers to avoid attracting unwanted attention to an empty house. Also, don’t announce your travel plans on social media, especially if your account isn’t private.
If you have a dog, traveling will be much easier if you can leave him at home. Not only that, but he might deter unwanted visitors, especially if you have a “Beware of Dog” sign outside. Kill two birds with one stone by hiring a pet sitter to come to your home and take care of your pet while you’re away. That way you’ll have someone there to watch over your four-legged family member and your home.
Keep the kids close
If you have little ones, you know how bulky and unwieldy a big stroller can be. In a crowded airport, it’s even worse. Keep that one at home and invest in an inexpensive umbrella stroller, which will be much easier to maneuver through the throng. You might also consider a harness for toddler-aged children to keep them close. Should you lose track of your child, inform the first airport employee you see and have them call airport security.
Don’t let the stress of traveling give you a rocky start to your vacation. Keep these tips in mind for happier travels and a better trip!
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