Expert Secrets on Avoiding Holiday Revenge Travel Chaos

These six travel tips are here to help you survive the holiday travel season.

After a near two-year travel hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, many travellers finally feel comfortable packing a suitcase and travelling domestically and overseas once more.

Now that borders have reopened and travel restrictions lifted, tourists and business travellers are making up for cancelled plans and missed adventure opportunities by booking trips to see loved ones and big international trips. This has put unprecedented pressure on the travel industry, particularly airlines, as they scramble to meet the demand with a now under-resourced workforce.

With the number of people traveling now close to pre-pandemic levels, holidaymakers and business travellers alike must contend with flight delays and cancellations, lost luggage, and chaotic airport lines – with little signs of it slowing down as we head into 2023.

World Travel Protection’s Regional Security Director of North America, Frank Harrison, offers helpful tips to help survive a trip during revenge holiday travel season. Brush up on these before you brush the dust off your passport.

#1. Prepare for flight delays and cancellations

If you’re a frequent traveller, dealing with flight delays or cancellations becomes inevitable. If you’re a holidaymaker, the travel disturbances of revenge travel season can really put a damper on your trip.

“Those heading to the airport may have to contend with a little chaos before that long-awaited holiday cocktail,” admits Frank.

While much is out of your control, there are a few ways to prepare for flight delays or cancellations that can reduce the stress of travel.

      • Avoid booking events, tours and activities during the first few days of your trip in case flight delays impact your plans.If attending major events like a business conferences, New Year’s Eve party, concert, or organised tour, consider arriving a few extra days earlier to cushion the impact of travel delays.
      • Schedule a little extra wiggle room into connecting flights or other travel, such as meeting a cruise departure or train journey.
      • Where possible, take a direct flight rather than a connecting flight – even if it’s a little more expensive to book.
      • Book a morning flight: setting your alarm for 3am can hurt, but studies show that early morning flights are less delayed than other times of the day. Additionally, if your flight does get cancelled, you have a better chance of being pushed to a later flight that same day.
      • Sign up for an airline’s frequent flyer program – you’ll often get priority over those passengers who don’t.
      • Read the fine print: familiarise yourself with your airline’s cancellation and rebooking policies. Airlines typically offer compensation for flight cancellations and longer delays. Find out what you’re entitled to and request it – it may be vouchers to spend on food while you wait, or credit towards future travel.
      • Sign up for alerts for your flight and download the airline app on your phone: this will ensure you updates on your flight status and any changes that may occur.
Upset Woman Lost Baggage While Traveling By Plane

#2. Be smart with your luggage

“Lost or delayed luggage has impacted many thousands of travellers this year – and made global news headlines in the process as some airline passengers wait weeks to be reunited with their belongings,” says Harrison.
Help to reduce the drama of lost or delayed luggage during revenge travel season with these travel tips:

      • Pack essentials in your carry on, including a change of clothes to suit the weather at your destination, medications, basic toiletries and anything else you might deem ‘essential’.
      • If you’re travelling somewhere cold, bring your thick coat onto the flight with you.
      • Consider purchasing luggage tracking devices such as AirTags and SmartTags, so you can locate the whereabouts of your luggage in the event it is lost or delayed.

“Lost or delayed luggage has impacted many thousands of travellers this year – and made global news headlines in the process as some airline passengers wait weeks to be reunited with their belongings,” says Harrison.

#3. Get travel insurance

“Travel delays, cancellations and luggage mishaps sting – but even more so if you end up out of pocket as a result. Now more than ever, travellers should consider protecting their trip with travel insurance. Having the right coverage may help in the instances of trip cancellations, lost and delayed luggage, travel delays and more – including overseas medical costs if you fall ill,” explains Harrison.

Suitcases multicolor stacked ready for transport one above the other

#4. Know what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled

So, your flight has been cancelled. What do you do now?

      • Head to your airline agent’s desk as quickly as possible to talk to a representative who can advise your travel options
      • Keep all your receipts of out-of-pocket expenses incurred as you may be able to file a claim with your travel insurance and/or airline for compensation.
      • Be flexible with your schedule to get where you need to go, more quickly

“Travel cancellations are stressful, and the often chaotic atmosphere of an airport can escalate tension, particularly when faced with long lines for customer service. Try to be patient with any staff – revenge travel season has had a huge impact on workers too, so a little kindness and understanding can go a long way. Also, it might just help you get the assistance you need more quickly,” reminds Frank.

#5. Refresh yourself with helpful travel tips

“For many of us, it’s been a while since we stepped into an airport or took an overseas holiday. Whether it’s finally time to take that bucket list adventure, you’ve rebooked a getaway that you had to postpone during the pandemic, or you’re reconnecting with family you haven’t seen in years, you might be a little rusty at remembering how to make post-lockdown travel more seamless,” admits Frank.
Helpful travel tips include:

      • Ensure your passport is valid (most countries usually require a minimum of six months validity) and if a visa is required for travel.
      • Obtain the right travel authorisation documents well in advance, for example the ESTA when flying in the United States, or ETA for Canada.
      • Understand your destination country’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements and ensure you have all necessary paperwork or digital copies.
      • Check-in for your flight online, and save your boarding pass to your phone.
      • Arrive at the airport an hour or two earlier than you might usually, so long security or customs lines don’t impact your travels.
      • Ensure any liquids in carry on meet the size requirements, and pop them into a clear bag for the security scanner.
      • Have any electronics (such as laptops and tablets) easily accessible for scanning.
      • Consider easy to slip on shoes to make the security process a breeze.
      • Use TSA approved locks for suitcases.
      • Pack compression socks if you need them for a long-haul flight, and remember to get up and move around the cabin and practice in-flight exercises to reduce your risk of DVT.
      • Learn a few basic phrases in your destination’s language before you depart – and consider pre-booking airport transfers to reduce stress when you arrive.
Jolly elegant male is giving documents and ticket to smiling female at registration point at airport

#6. Practice good hygiene to reduce risk of illness

“The reality is that COVID-19 and its variants still linger – and whether it’s COVID, a cold or a case of gastro, nobody wants their travel plans interrupted by illness. Particularly plans that have been on hold for years,” explains Harrison.
These travel tips will help you stay healthy:

      • Consider wearing a mask on the plane, public transport and other busy public areas
      • Research any mask requirements at your destination – they remain in place in some countries, or perhaps may be more culturally required.
      • Travel with basic medications such as ibuprofen, anti- diarrheal, cold & flu, antihistamines if you experience seasonal allergies etc.
      • Stay well hydrated. Find out if you should drink the local tap water before you do. If it’s recommended to stick to bottled water, be sure to use that to brush your teeth and request no ice in drinks served at restaurants and bars unless you can be sure it is safe.

“Nobody wants their travel plans interrupted by illness. Particularly plans that have been on hold for years,” explains Harrison.

Ready to tackle the holiday travel season?

Whether you’re travelling for business, leisure or manage a travelling workforce, expert assistance is invaluable when it comes to business travel health and safety. At World Travel Protection, we invest heavily in our travel risk management tools to ensure 24/7 assistance is available for our clients and those in their care.

Looking to lower the travel risks for your business or leisure travellers?

We value the safety of your travellers as much as you do, and we also understand how to support you in providing duty of care for travelling personnel.

To learn more about how our World Travel Protection team can help you manage travel risks and make your employees’ or customers’ safety a priority, schedule a demo of our Travel Risk Management Solutions today by filling out the form below.