Inclement weather has taken its toll on many travelers in the last few months and years, with tens of thousands of travelers being forced to arrange alternative travel plans because of erratic weather conditions, whether was flight delays and cancellations due to high winds caused by the “Nor’easter” sweeping through New York and Washington DC, the coastal flooding and other parts of the mid-Atlantic seaboard shuttering Amtrak, heavy snowfall in the Midwest or severe cold snap in the United Kingdom affecting travel plans.
While bad weather cannot be avoided, here are 11 inclement weather advisory travel tips to cope with it:
Skip the first and last flights
If you’re traveling during seasons with a high likelihood of inclement weather, you may want to avoid the first or last flight of the day since these flights have a higher frequency of being canceled, depending on the start and end time of the storm.
Take advantage of travel waivers
Often airlines will issue travel waivers that allow you to re-book your ticket away from the affected dates at no additional charge. You should take advantages of these when they post. Your travel agent monitors these, but you can, too.
Get travel advisories or weather alerts delivered to your phone
There are several apps that allow you to receive email or text message notifications from your airline about your flight’s status. A weather.com app can keep you updated about conditions. An all-in-one mobile solution such as Travel Leaders CONNECT, however, is an efficient way for travelers to receive text notifications about flight delays, cancellations or gate changes. Live travel agents are also available 24/7 through the same app to assist with flight disruptions or flight reservations.
Reroute a connecting flight
There are times the weather in your departure city and at your destination is clear, but weather in your connecting city is less than desirable. If that happens, a travel agent can help you reroute your connection flight through an airport with no delays.
Avoid booking flights at the ticket counter
If you must buy a new ticket, avoid doing so at the airport ticket counter, or else you will likely pay a higher rate. Call a travel agent to book you, even if you are standing in an airport.
Consider larger airports and travel light
If you suspect there may be severe weather threats during your time of travel, consider flying from a larger airport. Larger international airports will have a greater chance of more alternate flights, and they are also better equipped to clear runways faster or with de-icing of a plane. If you travel with only a carry-on, you’ll be in a better position to change flights quickly in the event of a cancellation.
Book a room early if you’re facing an overnight delay
If it seems weather conditions will keep you from getting to your final destination that same day, it is important to make a room reservation for an overnight stay as soon as possible. A travel agent who has built relationships with hotels should be able to help find you a room so that you’re not sleeping on an airport cot with stranded travelers.
Sign up for travel insurance
For those instances where you may miss a flight because you were stuck in traffic or your ship sailed without you when your flight was canceled or delayed, travel insurance can be your saving grace to recoup all or part of your travel investment. A travel agent can help explain your various options for the different types of travel insurance.
Stay on the main roads
If you’re driving between destinations, stick to major highways or well-traveled roads to facilitate other people coming to your rescue easily should you need assistance. Travel also during daylight hours or when car repair shops or convenience stores are more likely to be open. If you’re stranded in your vehicle for an extended period, run your engine for only a few minutes once or twice an hour to stay warm and conserve gas. While the car is running, be sure to slightly roll down a window to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside.
Pack an emergency travel kit
Whether you’re driving, flying or traveling by rail, prepare for possible delays with a few essentials. Pack a small bag with an extra sweater, gloves or small throw, as well as water and high-energy or high-protein foods such as granola bars or beef jerky. You may also want to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, a change of underwear and any needed prescription medications. Remember also a flashlight, extra batteries, or phone charger, a first aid kit and a good book.
Book with a travel agent
Weather-related travel delays inevitably happen at times, from heavier traffic on the highways to delayed or canceled flights. However, the unexpected challenges need not stress out travelers with a little added planning and some advice from a seasoned travel agent. Travel agents are trained to monitor situations like winter weather that may impact their clients’ travel plans. As result, they can work on alternative travel plans and can likely have those in place with the airline, hotel or car and driver the moment the need arises.
Source: Travel Leaders Group