The best travel apocalypse hacks

Airport workers stand next to rows of passenger luggage arranged outside Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, June 19, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

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NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Are you planning to do some travel for the rest of the summer? Good luck – you will need it.

The number of flight cancellations has already exceeded the total number of the previous year. In the first half of the year, 890,000 flights were delayed. Prices have skyrocketed as pandemic-weary travelers are desperate to go somewhere. Baggage graveyards are piling up at airports worldwide as missed connections increase.

Welcome to the travel apocalypse.

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“It’s definitely the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Meena Thiruvengadam, founder and editor-in-chief of Travel With Meena website (travelwithmeena.com). “Now is definitely the time to be more strategic.”

To help you navigate travel hell, we asked top experts for tips on discounts and avoiding potential disasters.

USE THE CORRECT CREDIT CARD

Have you made it this far to claim airline delay and cancellation compensation? Even if you succeed, you may end up exhausted after a long struggle.

“My best trick for navigating the travel apocalypse is to always book trips with a credit card that offers travel protection,” said Brian Kelly, founder of popular travel site The Points Guy.

“When the airlines collapse, it’s a lot easier to get compensation from your credit card than from the understaffed airlines.”

GO AHEAD

Minimize the chances of something going wrong – and save money – by limiting yourself to carry-on luggage. Checking a bag increases the likelihood of your belongings being lost, delayed, stolen or damaged.

The first checked bag usually costs around $30 and the second $40 on most airlines. The benefit of a “free” checked bag adds to the fare of the flight.

“Traveling light will make it easier if you need to change flights for whatever reason and give you a lot more flexibility,” Thiruvengadam said. “It will also minimize the chances of your luggage getting lost or stuck in one of the many airport heaps around the world.”

Consider a cruise

Cruises offer enticing deals as virus-phobic travelers avoid large groups in confined spaces.

According to website Cruise Critic, the average starting cost per person in August is $108/night for the Caribbean, $56/night for the Mexican Riviera, and $125/night for the Mediterranean — with the lowest starting prices being well below that.

“There’s so much on offer right now because people are still a little nervous when it comes to cruises,” said Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and content strategist.

“One of the cheapest cruise lines is MSC, an Italian-owned cruise line. Check out these prices: $498 per person for a seven-night trip to the Caribbean from Miami. That’s $71 a night — and includes all your food.”

THINK TWICE WHEN BOOKING ONLINE

Most people book travel online, which leads to a few “classic mistakes,” said Peter Greenberg, travel editor at CBS News.

The first is that the algorithm could show you flight connection times of just over half an hour – because a computer doesn’t know any better and assumes everything is going smoothly and on time (highly unlikely).

“Not only is this ridiculous, it’s suicidal,” Greenberg said.

The second mistake is to think that Expedia, Travelocity or any other site shows all the options available.

“You may have to do the unthinkable and actually have a conversation with someone, either a travel agent or the airlines themselves,” Greenberg said.

“Because what they see on their screens isn’t always what you see on your screens. If you only look online yourself, you are doing yourself a disservice.”

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Edited by Lauren Young and Richard Chang Follow us @ReutersMoney

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which is committed to integrity, independence and freedom from bias under the Trust Principles.

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