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Posted by Victor Crew on

Holiday Travel Tips for the Pandemic

This year holiday season travel is going to be very different. Some will stay home instead of visiting far flung relatives. But for those choosing to travel here are some tips.

Expect the unexpected. While this is probably good advice for travel in general it is more important than ever to be ready for changes in your plans. Pandemic updates come daily. Expect shifting quarantine rules. Expect canceled or delayed flights.

Choose an airline who have flexible booking policies. Many airlines have adjusted their policies to allow no-fee ticket changes, but double check! Free changes could be limited in number. Certain types of tickets may not have special privileges. You may also owe the difference if you change to a more expensive flight. Again, check before booking!

Also, “free change” doesn’t mean you’ll get a refund if you cancel. Some airlines are offering vouchers for canceled flights but many are not going to simply hand you back your cash.

Don’t choose a high-risk itinerary. While normal holiday travel is rife with delayed and canceled flights, this year could be much worse. Try to leave earlier in the day before delays get a chance to build up. Try to get longer connection times between flights. Choose small airports for connections and if you can those with a lesser chance of crazy weather.

Choose itineraries with longer connection times.

Select smaller (and less crowded) connection airports and, if possible, those with less risk of severe winter weather.

Know the quarantine rules for your destination. If you need to get tested before you leave, make sure to get that done in plenty of time.

Lastly, if you want to fly trouble-free it is highly suggested you follow all safety protocols required by airlines including wearing a mask.

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

Tips for Sleeping on Planes

Whether it is for business or pleasure, when we fly, we want to feel rested and ready when the flight is over. On longer flights getting some rest might figure into feeling good when one lands. While there are many distractions on a flight that might keep some up, others just don’t sleep well while flying, quiet plane or no.

Over the counter medications or alcohol may help some people relax and sleep, however these will usually leave one groggy after waking.

Fliers should do their best to be comfy. Wear loose fitting and, if you need them, warm clothes. Try to use the restroom before falling asleep. Undo your belt and other restrictive accessories. Let your neighbors know you want to try and sleep through the flight.

It is best to bring one’s own comfort items like pillows and blankets as these are becoming more and more rare on flights. Noise canceling headphones, music, white noise, noise generators or some television episodes downloaded from your favorite streaming app help some people sleep.

The cues of your nighttime routine can help your brain prepare for sleep. Try sticking to any of them you can during the flight. Make your routines portable, not only for the plane, but your destination as well. Likewise, following your rituals will prepare your brain for sleep in an unfamiliar place and time zone.

The most important thing to remember is that if you can’t sleep, it is best not to stress out about it. Relax as much as you can. Even just lying back, shutting your eyes and letting your mind wander can be restful.

Posted by Victor Crew on

Google Feature Updates for Travelers

Google is already an essential part of many travelers’ tool kits. Here is an overview of the ways in which Google will be improving their travel tools in 2019.

Google Lens now lets a user scan a menu and get user images of the various dishes. It will also now read the menu to the user in either the original or into a translated language. Lens is also collaborating with museums to give users more information about the exhibits and displays they are viewing in real time.

Google Assistant voice interactive travel booking feature will come to web users. The service will now try to create a reservation itself using its own format and this will be facilitated by data in the Google user’s account.
Google’s advances in thing like automated captions for video, instant speech to text transcription and voice recognition for those with speech impairments have some folks thinking that Google’s demoed, but not released instant language translation technology might be coming closer to a reality.

Google Map updates will include things like position tracking via the camera. The recommendation engine will also be getting an update to suggest things like current and upcoming events as well.

For travelers who use Google heavily as a tool 2019 looks to be an exciting year.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

It is too early to defrost the turkey, but IS it too early to book your flight?

As far as the airlines are concerned, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Rates for particularly popular itineraries are already on the rise. And even if price isn’t an issue, booking your preferred trip will become increasingly difficult, according to USA Today.

Thanksgiving Day is almost always the cheapest day to fly for the holiday. This should be no surprise. But how do the other travel days surrounding the holiday compare?

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after—avoid flying on these days if at all possible. They are the busiest travel dates and most expensive. The price of this itinerary has been rising since late August and is currently increasing on average by $1.50 a day, which jumps to about $2.50 a day in October. This could add up to almost $200 in additional fare per ticket.

A cheaper itinerary would be the Tuesday before and the Monday after Thanksgiving. If you don’t have to worry about school or work schedules, try flying the Saturday before to the Monday after and you may see exceptional savings.

Jody Victor

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Jody Victor: How Many Reasons Do You Need to Travel Off-Season? – Here Are Eight Good Ones

MSN Travel recently presented some great reasons to travel in the off season. While some are no-brainers we might need reminding of, others are not so obvious.

1. Lower destination costs. Lodging and attractions are often much less expensive during the off season.

2. No crowds. While the world offers all kinds of experiences for travelers, many of them will be far more enjoyable with fewer people around. Or if you just aren’t a fan of crowded spaces, traveling in the off season may be for you.

3. Lower travel costs. Plain tickets and even gasoline for your passenger vehicle may be less expensive during the off season.

4. Spontaneity. During high traffic times travelers mostly have to book months in advance. During the off season there is often last minute availability.

5. Traveling during the off season often allows travelers to experience cultural events that don’t take place during high traffic periods.

6. Interacting with locals. All of those folks who make their living from the tourism industry will have more time to interact with travelers during the slow parts of the year. Perhaps giving tourists a more authentic and personal travel experience.

7. Better photo ops. During the low tide of travel attractions will be less crowded allowing photographers better opportunities for that perfect shot.

8. The road less traveled. Some attractions will be closed on the off season, forcing travelers to look off the beaten path for experiences.