Travelling during the winter months can be tricky. There are potential delays due to snowy weather and seasonal holidays such as Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day which pose a heightened level of stress and worry. Travel insurance is vital to have for the winter season for these reasons, so make sure your policy covers things such as cancellation and travel delay. However despite the winter travel bringing a range of added things to think about there are in fact some benefits - the planes are generally less busy, the skiing and snowboarding resorts are in their prime, and there are some fantastic deals to be had! To help you plan your next winter trip, we've rounded up our top sanity-saving tips and advice below.
Book Your Flights Early (and Wisely!)
Many of us know that when it comes to arranging a flight, it is cheaper to book it in advance than it would be the day before. Similarly purchasing a direct flight is usually more expensive (albeit more convenient) than it would be to book one with a stop-off. Many of us would love to be able to choose a flight at the time of day that suits us best; however it is common to find that there are flights that depart during the night time or early hours of the morning. As much as we would prefer to get those few extra hours of sleep, one of the benefits of flying at these unsociable hours is that the airports are likely to be generally less busy. Furthermore, if the plane is cancelled or delayed, you have a greater chance of being able to catch another same-day flight than those who had booked later in the day.
If you are lucky enough to be able to choose your airport when considering your flight options, it's a good idea to pick one that has the most flights going to (and coming back from) your destination. This way there is a wider range of alternative options if the weather decides to take its toll.
Book Your Accommodation Early!
Booking a hotel in advance is a good idea if you're looking to prepare yourself for the unexpected. There are many hotels that do not charge you for making a reservation until you've actually arrived at the front desk, so if your plane is cancelled or severely delayed you can at least be sure you have a place to rest your head that night. When severe cancellation or delays occur, many other weary travelers will be looking to do the same thing and hotels can book up fast. Being the early bird in these kinds of situations can really help, as if you wait too long you may not be lucky.
Leave Plenty of Time!
This is probably the most obvious one but often the most overlooked. When planning your journey to the airport, make sure that you leave plenty of time to get there. Unexpected things such as breakdowns, travel delays and cancellations can cause havoc to your journey, so it's always better to give yourself plenty of leeway and over-estimate your travelling time. Better to be super early than super late! If you have a long way to travel to the airport or fear unexpected delay, then a good alternative is to make the most out of an airport hotel. There are a wide range of options available and enable you to get a good night's rest as well as the positive feeling having already completed part of your journey.
Check the Weather Forecast!
On the pathway to becoming a savvy winter traveler, it is important to check the weather forecast on a regular basis in the run up to your holiday. Even though it may look sunny at your destination, your connecting airport may be buried in snow so remember to check this part of your journey too. If you are waiting to board your first flight and you find out that your connecting airport is about to be hit by a snow storm, call your airline provider as soon as possible. Always ask what the current circumstances are and see if your connecting flight is able to be re-routed. Another good idea is to keep an eye on airline's social media channels as these often are a great way of keeping up to date with news as it happens. Airlines Jet Blue and Delta tweeted with news and updates of Hurricane Sandy to help their passengers, so it just goes to show how important and useful social media can be.
The Domino Effect!
Following on from checking the weather forecast, it is helpful to understand how the domino effect works. For example, your outbound flight is cancelled but you unfortunately have to wait until the next day for a new one. As a result, it means that you also miss your connecting flight, to which you won't be there for your pre-booked taxi from the airport. Getting there one day later means that you also have paid for a hotel room for one night you won't be there, and so forth. Being better prepared enables you to avoid these kinds of situations as much as possible, but it's important to be aware of the potential knock on effect.
Have Travel Insurance!
Having a good quality level of travel cover can help in many situations, although it is important that you read the policy wording before you depart to check what is and isn't covered. All of our Alpha policies are clearly laid out and packed with helpful information regarding all aspects of your trip. It's always a good idea to make a note of important contact numbers and email addresses, just in case you need to contact us.
Some More Tips!
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