The best hacks for the travel apocalypse

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

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NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Planning on not traveling for the rest of the summer? Good luck, you’ll need it.

Flight cancellations have already exceeded last year’s total. The delays affected 890,000 flights in the first half. Prices have soared as pandemic-weary travelers are desperate to get anywhere. Baggage “graveyards” are piling up at airports around the world as missed connections increase.

Welcome to the travel apocalypse.

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

To help you navigate travel hell, we’ve reached out to top experts for advice on discounts and how to avoid potential disasters.

USE THE RIGHT CREDIT CARD

Have you tried to get compensation from the airlines for delays and cancellations? Even if you succeed, you might find yourself exhausted after a long battle.

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

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

GO FOR IT

Minimize the risk of things going wrong – and save money – by limiting yourself to one carry-on. Checking a bag amplifies the risk of your belongings being lost, delayed, stolen or damaged.

The first checked bag usually costs around $30 and the second $40 on most carriers. The benefit of a “free” checked bag increases the price of the plane ticket.

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

CONSIDER THE CRUISE

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

According to the Cruise Critic site, the average departure 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 departure rates well below.

“There are so many deals going on right now because people are still a little nervous about going on a cruise,” said Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and content strategist.

“One of the most economical cruise lines is MSC, an Italian company. Check out these rates: $498 per person for a seven-night voyage from Miami to the Caribbean. That comes to $71 a night — and includes all your food . .”

THINK DOUBLE WHEN BOOKING ONLINE

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

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

“It’s not just ridiculous, it’s suicidal,” Greenberg said.

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

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

“Because what they see on their screens isn’t always what you see on your screens. If you’re just looking at yourself online, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”

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Editing by Lauren Young and Richard Chang Follow us @ReutersMoney

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The opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which is committed to integrity, independence and non-partisanship by principles of trust.

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