Stress-Free Summer Travel
Life is stressful — your vacation shouldn’t be. After all, most of us go on vacation to escape the stress of daily life. But given the economy, rising unemployment and seemingly constant changes in the airline industry, it almost seems like we’d be better off throwing in the beach towel and staying home.
Almost, maybe. But not quite. Followers of The Window Seat know if there is one thing I really can’t stand it is a certain word that begins with a “s” and ends with a “taycation.” Especially now, when the deals are so good and it’s unclear how long they’ll last.
We’d love to hear from you — what stresses you out on vacation and what do you do to solve it? Discuss.
Following are common scenarios and my suggestions to combat the stress. Not much of a reader? You can also watch me discuss these tips on CBS Up to the Minute.
1. We’ll miss our flight.
- Check in online before your flight. Every major airline allows you to check in on their web site up to 24 hours before your flight. This will save you lost of time on lines at the airport. You can also choose your seat so your family gets seats together.
- Use the correct lane at security. Every airport security checkpoint in the country has family, casual traveler, and expert lanes. Families that need a little more time to have their liquids checked and get the kids and stroller through the metal detectors won’t feel pressured by expert travelers behind them. Expert travelers who are familiar with the rules can breeze though their lanes.
2. We’ll have terrible weather and our vacation will be ruined.
- It is hurricane season, so choosing a destination with a weather guarantee is in your best interest, especially if you’re traveling to the Caribbean. For example, Couples Resorts will issue a credit for a later date if a hurricane interrupts your trip or prevents you from taking it.
- If a hurricane or similar weather event impacts your destination, most airlines will waive change fees and allow you to reschedule your visit for a later date, typically within a week to 10 days.
3. My luggage will get lost or items will be stolen.
- Ship your luggage – look for sites like The Luggage Club and have your luggage (including skis, golf clubs, baby strollers, bikes, surfboards and bags) picked up at your home and dropped off wherever your travels take you.
- Use a TSA-approved lock to protect your belongings. Wordlock is one TSA-approved lock that allows you to secure your belongings with a word combination instead of numbers – easier to remember and the TSA will not have to cut your luggage lock.
4. We’ll book a vacation and then the price will go down and we’ll lose money.
- Choose companies that have some sort of price-protection plan. For example, Travelocity’s PriceGuardian automatically refunds you up to $500 if someone else books the same vacation after you for a lower price.
5. I’ll lose my job and we won’t be able to afford the trip after all.
- Choose an airline or destination with a job-loss refund guarantee. For example, JetBlue’s ‘Promise Program’ gives you a refund on your ticket if you experience involuntary job loss before your trip.
My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.
How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.
Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.
Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.
First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.
First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.
Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.
My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.