Try these tips to avoid disaster – NBC Boston

The world is open again and vacationers are making up for lost time.

Traveling can be stressful at the best of times, but it looks like the summer of 2022 will be defined by airline delays and cancellations, ongoing COVID requirements, and astronomical gas prices.

“Everything is very busy. Flights are booked, hotels are booked, demand is high across the board,” said Jamie Lettis of Boston Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

NBC10 Boston asked Consumers’ Checkbook for their top strategies for staying out of trouble on your summer vacation and setting yourself up for success.

First, give yourself plenty of time.

“Plan for delays and cancellations,” Lettis said. “Give yourself a day or two more. If you go on a cruise and the boat leaves, the boat will leave without you. And sadly, it doesn’t matter that you’ve been canceled three times and been to four different airports.

If you can, fly nonstop, even if it’s more expensive. You won’t have to worry about connecting flights.

A cat has disappeared after a long flight from Germany to Boston.

Don’t check a bag if you don’t have to. This will save you time and hassle if your baggage is lost or your flight is changed. And always pack a hand luggage with everything you need for a day or two.

“If you’re flying and taking medication, you’re wearing glasses, bring them in a carry-on bag,” Lettis said. “Put in the essentials or put a toothbrush, a change of clothes or pajamas in it. Just something that can tide you over until you can get your bag back in the event of an accident.

Know your reimbursement rights. For travel within the United States, you are entitled to a full refund if the airline cancels your flight or makes a significant schedule change to your itinerary that you do not agree to. Ask for your money.

If you’re traveling internationally, check the Department of State’s website for each country’s travel warnings and alerts, COVID testing requirements, entry, visa, and exit requirements.

Take photos of your ID card, vaccination card and passport and email them in case they are lost or stolen.

And if you have one, always pay with a credit card instead of a debit card.

“This credit card will give you an extra layer of protection,” Lettis said. “If the merchant doesn’t resolve the dispute to your liking, they give you, we call it a super weapon, to use to get that money back when you’re entitled to it.”

Whether you’re flying or driving, plan ahead and book all the must-do activities so you don’t get left out.

And if something goes wrong, complain, but do it effectively.

“The first thing is to just be gracious. Don’t argue,” Lettis said. “You just want to speak in a firm manner, but you also want to speak in a polite and gracious manner, like you would in a commercial transaction. If you walk in and argue and yell, you probably won’t get the action you want and certainly not as quickly as you could get it.

And finally, consider taking the road less traveled to avoid the crowds this summer. And don’t let a bump in the road ruin your vacation.

“Keep in mind that traveling is an adventure, and that’s one of the reasons we love it,” Lettis said. “So keep your eyes on the prize. Right? If your flight is four hours late, but you’re off on that amazing tropical vacation you couldn’t wait for, you know, enjoy a cocktail, some snacks, read a book, relax. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

And if you really want to actively demand that travel companies do better, join Travelers United. The nonprofit organization fights for travelers and works with the U.S. Department of Transportation, FAA, Congress, and other travel regulators and stakeholders to ensure the voice of consumers is heard.