Picture this — you’ve spent months planning the perfect vacation and it’s finally time to go!
You get to the airport, you’re excited, and…you realize your bag is way over your airline’s weight limit. After getting charged an extra $100 for checking a heavy bag, you go get in the security line when you find out you lost your ID! Now, you get a notification that your flight is delayed 3 hours and you are going to miss your connecting flight. What do you do now?
Okay, even if you have bad luck it’s very unlikely that all of these things will happen to you in one day, but these are some of the catastrophic events that can really impact your vacation. So, let’s take a look at the BIGGEST travel mistakes you can make and what to do if they happen to you!
1. Forgetting ID Before Your Flight
Sometimes things go missing when you travel and unfortunately this includes your ID. To get through security at the airport, you must have a valid form of identification (see a full list here) so that TSA agents can verify who you are. So forgetting or losing your ID on the day you’re trying to fly can seem catastrophic to your plans, but it doesn’t HAVE to be.
Now, this isn’t the easiest process, however it is likely that you will still be able to fly without your ID in these circumstances. According to the TSA website, “the TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity.” After that process, if your identity is confirmed, you can enter a screening checkpoint which may include additional steps like a putdown or an in-depth screening of carry-on items.
If your identity is verified through this process, you should have no issues getting on your flight. If you already know you lost your ID before you get to the airport, make sure you get there very early so there is plenty of time for TSA to verify your identity. TSA specifically recommends arriving at least 2 hours before your flight.
You will not be allowed to move on to the screening checkpoint if TSA cannot confirm your identity, you do not provide the proper information, or you do not want to participate in the identity verification process.
2. Forgetting Your Passport Before a Cruise
Chances are if you’re going on a cruise, you know you need a passport to board the ship. However, things happen and things get forgotten, but is there a solution to getting on a cruise ship without a passport?
This is one of the toughest travel mistakes to solve but it is doable. If you travel to the destination the cruise in leaving from a few days before the cruise sets sail, one thing you can do is have a family member or friend at home ship your passport overnight to you. Sure, it will cost a decent amount of money, but at least you will have your passport.
Other than that, there is not much you can control in this situation. You can work with your cruise line to explain the situation and see if there’s anything they can do for you.
Keep a picture of your passport and birth certificate on your phone and your cruise line might be able to get you on the ship, but again, this up to the discretion of the cruise representative you are working with. On top of taking pictures, it’s a good idea to make color copies of the photo page of your passport and your birth certificate just to have in case of emergency.
3. Not Checking Your Cell Phone Plan
If you’re going on a cruise or other international trip, this next mistake could affect you. Before you go, take a moment check your cell phone plan! For those of us who want to stay connected to home or the world while on vacation, this is a super important step to make sure you aren’t getting charged a lot of extra money — vacation is already expensive enough!
When not already included in a plan, the costs for roaming and international calls vary by cell provider, but tend to be very pricey. Check which plan you have with your provider and explore any additional costs you may incur on your trip. Depending on how much you want to use these features, you might want to temporarily change your plan.
4. Not Packing Essentials in a Carry-On Bag
In case you haven’t noticed, flying has been a hassle lately. On top of thousands of cancelations around the country, bags are being mishandled more than ever across airlines right now. That means more lost or damaged luggage that YOU have to deal with — which makes where you pack certain things even more important.
If your checked luggage is lost, you don’t want to be stuck without your essentials. When packing make sure that the things you can’t live without make it into a carry-on bag. This is especially vital for people who need to take medication at a certain time every day, however here are a few other things we recommend packing in a carry-on in case of missing luggage:
- Essential medication/prescriptions
- A change of clothes
- Phone charger
- Money in some form (cash, credit card, etc.)
Having these things with you at all times should ease some of the stress when it comes to dealing with lost or damaged luggage.
If you’re looking for a great carry-on bag to use, check out the Asenlin Travel Backpack on Amazon. There are several different compartments in the bag and plenty of storage to pack everything for a quick trip.
It’s currently on sale, too! It’ll cost you $49.48 instead of $79.99.
5. Not Booking Enough Time Between Flights
As we mentioned above, there have been countless flight cancelations recently all over the world. This is for a number of reasons including pilot shortages and restricted airspace so it’s something you will want to keep in mind when booking flights. With all of the cancelations and delays, it is possible that you can miss your connecting flight, but you don’t have to if you set yourself up for success.
Sometimes things are 100% out of your control, but pay close attention to your layover time when booking flights. If you give yourself a short layover window, you’re more likely to miss your connecting flight.
Another option is to book a direct flight. Sometimes taking connecting flights can be much cheaper, but if you dig for some flight deals (which tend to pop-up all of the time), you’ll probably find an affordable nonstop flight option depending on the destination.
6. Not Checking Visa Requirements/COVID-19 Requirements When Traveling Internationally
If you’re headed out of the country, remember that each country has their own specific visa and COVID-19 vaccination requirements for foreign visitors. The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting people around the world — we’ve spotted many travel destinations in the CDC high-risk category. Several destinations require that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 or require proof of a negative COVID-19 test. For a full list of COVID-19 travel requirements around the world, click here.
Some countries do not require any sort of visa for vacationing tourists while others do require some sort of visa. You can see a full list of visa requirements by country here.
Make this a major part of planning your trip or you could risk not being allowed in the country you are trying to travel to.
7. Forgetting to Notify Your Bank of Travel Plans
There is almost nothing worse than when you walk up to pay for a snack or a souvenir on vacation and your card gets declined. Unlike some of the other mistakes on this list, this is an easy fix that you can take care of before your trip!
Although you may not have issues using your debit or credit card when you travel, it can’t hurt to call your bank and let them know you’ll be traveling out of town. That way when a charge pops up from across the country, the bank won’t even question it — you should have smooth sailing buying all of the fun things on your vacay.
Okay, okay, this might sound like a travel tip you hear all of the time, but overpacking can cost you some SERIOUS cash. While there are some airlines with free checked bags like Southwest Airlines, just about every major airlines has fees for bags over a certain weight limit.
Below is a list of 7 major airlines and their fees for overweight bags:
- Southwest Airlines — $75 per bag weighing 50-100 pounds
- American Airlines — $100 per bag weighing 51-70 pounds, $200 per bag weighing 71-100 pounds
- JetBlue Airlines — $150 per bag weighing 51-100 pounds
- Delta Airlines — $100 per bag weighing 51-70 pounds, $200 per bag weighing 71-100 pounds
- United Airlines — $200 per bag weighing up to 70 pounds, $400 per bag weighing 71-100 pounds
- Spirit Airlines — $59 per bag weighing 41-50 pounds, $99 per bag weighing 51-100 pounds
- Frontier Airlines — $50 per bag weighing 41-50 pounds, $100 per bag weighing 51-100 pounds
So what can you do to make sure you won’t get charged an overweight luggage fee at the airport? We recommend using this Portable Luggage Scale from Amazon to weigh your luggage before getting to the airport. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to ensure you won’t have to pay extra to check your bags.
This luggage scale is just $11.98. You simply hook a handle from your bag on the scale and lift to see the weight of the bag.
It’s very rare that a perfectly planned vacation goes…well, perfectly! But we hope these tips can help you roll with the punches. We’ll continue keeping you updated on the latest travel updates and news, so stay tuned to DFB for more!
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What is the biggest travel mistake you’ve made recently? Let us know in the comments!
The post 8 Catastrophic Travel Mistakes and How to Solve Them first appeared on the disney food blog.