Even without a pandemic, vacation trips are not for the faint of heart.
Millions are expected to travel this month, with the threat of volatile weather and the omicron variant continuing to stress people eager to end the second year of the pandemic.
To help travelers prepare, CNBC Travel asked industry insiders this question: What’s your one solid tip for travelers in December?
Travel planning tips
“Plan the arc of the trip. Imagine a journey like a story with a beginning, middle and end. For example, plan to have the nicest hotels in the end and build on a great grade. Then for entry and exit, plan out ways that you can keep things running smoothly. Maybe it’s arranging private transportation after a long flight so you don’t have to navigate public transportation in the middle of jet lag. Whatever your solid arch, plan to prepay it. “
—Sarah Groen, founder of the luxury travel company Bell & Bly travel design
“When planning Greek island hopping, keep in mind that the Greeks themselves tend to stay on one island rather than cram as many as possible into a single trip. Think thematically: Santorini has breathtaking scenery, but beaches are better in Mykonos … [but] Islands like Tinos and Syros offer great food and culture at significantly lower hotel prices than Mykonos. Crete has a lot of variety, but a car is essential. ”
—Anthony Grant, American writer based in Greece
Tips for flying on vacation
“Choose early morning flights that are usually less crowded. Avoid the last flight of the day if possible, especially in the winter months, to reduce the chance of missed connections or delays due to cancellations or weather. … Choose Hand baggage On your next trip, you’ll skip the lines when you arrive at the airport and don’t have to wait for your baggage to land when you land. “
—Anna Brown, PR manager at Expedia US
“Put a change of clothes in your hand luggage. Be prepared for the worst. … In the event of bottlenecks at airlines and increased travel, there is an above-average probability that your luggage will be lost. Do not travel with your gifts. … Consider shipping gifts direct to the final address. “
—Mark Hoenig, co-founder of the digital travel company VIP traveler
VIP Traveler’s Mark Hoenig recommends avoiding connecting flights, even if that means driving and parking at a different airport. “Each additional airport increases the likelihood of baggage loss, delays and cancellations.”
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“Buy your tickets ASAP. As people postpone their international travel plans due to Covid concerns, domestic flights tend to get more crowded and expensive. To speed airport security, don’t wrap gifts in case they do.” need to be checked. “
—Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of Travel Insurance Marketplace VisitorCoverage.com
Tips for renting holiday homes
“Look for vacation rentals with the most flexible cancellation policy so you can leave your stay at the last minute for any reason.
Guestys COO Vered Schwarz recommends that people who want to travel longer look for houses with large closets, washing machines and dryers, and workplaces with ergonomic chairs, good lighting and fast WiFi.
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“Short term hospitality brands are featured on major booking channels, but they also have their own direct booking websites. Bookings of stays directly with the brand are usually associated with a discounted rate. And many of them … offer co-working spaces and digital concierge services. … are examples of such brands Casita, D Alexander and Central. ”
—Vered Schwarz, COO of the vacation rental software company Guests
Tips for family celebrations
For travel in the run-up to Christmas: “I recommend traveling with family and friends, who are the people you will be spending the holidays with. If for some reason you need to be quarantined after you get home, you are already with the family or friends you want to vacation with. “
—Matt Berna, general manager North America for travel companies Undaunted travel
Harvard research fellow Stephen Kissler recommends keeping vacation meetings small and performing a Covid rapid test immediately before the meeting.
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“Ventilation remains really important. This is one thing that I think is overlooked and underestimated. When the holidays are approaching, I definitely plan, no matter how cold it is outside, my windows will crack 4 to 6 inches … [and] Tests should be done immediately before the meeting, ideally an hour or two in advance, maybe in the morning. ”
—Stephen Kissler, research fellow at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, in an online discussion on December 9th with Elana Gordon from the public radio show “The World”
Hotel booking tips
“Many of the best hotels block online reservations for the main ‘festival’ season … and manage them directly through their human team. It is worth asking your travel agent for help as they often have the relationships to do that Achieving the impossible when everything seems to be right. ” sold out.”
– Henley Vazquez, co-founder of the travel company Outside
“Independent boutique hotels and locally owned businesses need love more than ever because they don’t have the privilege of large conglomerate financing to stay afloat. With that in mind and in the holiday spirit, give something back to the destination. “Revisit by focusing your vacation on staying in these locations and supporting local vendors.”
—Brandon Berkson, founder of the travel company Hotels above par
Tips for traveling with young children
“Plan some time off for your babies and toddlers on your vacation trips… Children don’t always feel good when they’re constantly on the move. Allow some time each day to just sit, relax, play with toys and be with your children.
Fran Maier, CEO of BabyQuip, recommends that babies and toddlers keep the same sleep routine when traveling. “If your child usually sleeps in a large crib, don’t try to push them into a pack and play and expect them to sleep well.”
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“Children need frequent human breaks and planned activities to let their thoughts run free while playing creatively. Pack enough toys to keep the kids busy when preparing meals, talking to adults, or just taking a break. ”
—Fran Maier, CEO of baby equipment rental BabyQuip
Tips for renting a car
“Many car rental companies offer contactless pickup where you can simply walk into the parking lot and get in your car. Use the Skip Meter filter on Expedia to find these options and avoid waiting in line . “
—Anna Brown, PR manager at Expedia USA
“When you reserve a rental car, you are booking a ‘Pay Later’ plan … which gives you the flexibility to cancel and rebook when a better deal is available. Rental rates can change several times a day. AutoSlash plays the system by continuously checking the price of your rental and notifying you when they find a lower price. “
—Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of the rental car price tracking company AutoSlash