Heeding the expert advice of our seasoned concierges can help ensure more seamless holiday travel this season. And who couldn’t use more stress-free holidays?
Given the volume of travelers expected to take to the roads, rails and skies this year (last year, more than 100 million Americans traveled between Thanksgiving and the New Year) travel challenges are to be expected. While flight cancellations, missed connections and lost luggage are commonplace at this time of the year, Aspire Lifestyles’ concierges are here to help.
- Plan ahead: The earlier you book, the more choices you will have. As the holidays near, rooms book up, airplanes fill, and prices skyrocket. If traveling with points this year, its urgent that travelers plan as early as possible because many brands reduce points inventory during the holidays.
- Evaluate alternative travel options: If your destination requires multiple airport stops, research schedules and pricing to all of them. Smaller airports often have less traffic (resulting in fewer delays) than larger airports and can cost less. Look into other travel options, such as driving or taking the train. Sometimes getting out of the airport and getting into a rental car, or onto a trainespecially if your only other alternative is a long layover or multiple stops during your flightcan save a tremendous amount of time and money. Finally, evaluate your ability to travel on off-peak days. While the day prior to a holiday is always the busiest, traveling the morning of the holiday – such as Christmas or Thanksgiving morning – results in smaller crowds and fewer headaches.
- Plan for the worst: Ensure that you have a clean set of clothes in your carry-on luggage, along with medications, contact lenses, and anything else you might need if your luggage gets lost or you are stuck in the airport longer than intended. If you plan to entertain yourself with electronics, dont forget your chargers, and pack a power strip. There are more travelers in most airports than there are electrical outlets, and many travelers want to charge their own devices. If you bring a power strip that you can use to not only charge your own devices, but those of your fellow travelers, you will help not only yourself but many others simultaneously.
- Dont travel with gifts: No one wants to show up empty-handed, or with a damaged gift, but traveling with your gifts can result in disappointment. Checked baggage can get lost, or can be subject to additional TSA screeningmeaning that your once-nicely-wrapped gifts will be unwrapped to check the contents. You can order almost anything online and have it shipped ahead of time to your destination, or arrive a few days early and do some shopping once you get there.
- Travel light with children: When you are traveling with children, travel as light as possible. Rent a car seat or booster seat from your car rental provider so you dont need to travel with one. If you are concerned about the safety of your children while in flight, look into other options such as the CARES harness. Ask your hotel if they can provide you with a rental stroller, or put you in touch with a company that will rent strollers, highchairs and more. While you want to ensure that you have enough diapers and food to withstand an unexpected layover, only travel with what is necessary. Ship diapers, wipes, formula and baby food ahead of timeyour hotel can hold it for you until you arrive.
- Bring your own technology: If you are visiting family without an internet connection or wireless access, or traveling internationally, plan ahead for how you will get online. Contact your mobile service provider to find out if your cellphone can be used as a mobile hotspot, or look into renting your own hotspot. In addition, dont rely on an app on your phone for directionsmake sure you have a stand-alone GPS system. While you can lose cellular access in rural locations or high altitudes, GPS will always work.
- Only travel with pets when necessary: While pets are family, and the holidays are for family, travel with pets can be especially hard during the holidays. Many airlines wont allow pets in the cargo hold during the winter months, due to the possibility of low temperatures. While driving with your pet in the car is easy, finding a pet friendly hotel during your travels can be a challenge during the busy holiday travel season.
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About Aspire Lifestyles
With over 25 years experience, Aspire Lifestyles is a global leader in B2B benefit solutions and concierge services. Our wide range of custom-build programs is designed to anticipate the needs of our clients most valued customers and delight them with every interaction. We have over 1,500 Travel & Lifestyle Concierges in 25 fully owned centers across 22 countries, on-hand 24/7 to assist in over 30 languages. From client services to training, marketing to product development, every Aspire Lifestyles location is fully staffed with the expertise necessary to ensure a best-in-class approach to innovative program design and delivery. As a testament to our strong values and heritage, Aspire Lifestyles won the Leading Concierge Service Award at Wealth APAC “ International Private Wealth Management (IPWM) Forum in both 2016 and 2017. For more information, visit www.aspirelifestyles.com.