If you think everyone is traveling right now, you’re not wrong.

According to AAA, 1 million more people traveled for Memorial Day weekend this year than in 2019.

“… [this] Not only does that mean we are crossing prepandemic levels, but [it] The summer travel season ahead promises to be a very busy one, said Paula Tweedle, senior vice president of AAA Travel.

In fact, AAA is predicting this will be one of the busiest travel seasons in two decades.

Unfortunately, if history is any indicator, high travel demand brings with it a host of hassles and headaches — including staffing issues and long lines — that can make flying or hitting the road anything but relaxing. Travel can be unpredictable, but we can help you avoid some of the most frustrating problems.

Here are seven travel mistakes to avoid on your next trip – and advice on what to do instead.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Assuming all travel plans are set

Before the coronavirus pandemic, many travel reservations were of a “set it and forget it” nature. Once you receive an email confirmation about your flight, accommodation, tour or other booking, you are usually good to go.

However, the pandemic changed this significantly.

Under normal circumstances, Airline schedule changes can potentially switch you to a more desirable route or flight time. However, if that schedule adjustment happens too close to departure, you could be left in the dark.

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Several airlines have announced network changes over the past few years. Flight changes can now take effect within days of the announcement, leaving affected passengers little time to make alternative arrangements. If you need to buy last-minute airfare from another carrier, that’s another big-ticket, unexpected expense.

Tips to avoid these problems

  • Log in to view your flight bookings (and hotel or vacation rental reservations) at least once a week so you can flag and address any potential disruptions as far in advance as possible.
  • If you’re planning to stay in a vacation rental, book a refundable hotel stay as a backup. However, be sure to set a calendar reminder to cancel your reservation before the cancellation deadline.
  • Do not rely solely on third-party sources for reservation information. If you used an online travel agency, check the status of your reservation directly with the airline or accommodation.

Planning on common lines

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

With summer travel demand increasing, Long lines and waiting times are getting longer at airports (as well as hotels) across the country.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to avoid spending more time than necessary at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, and we have tips to help you speed through checking into your hotel room.

Tips to avoid these problems

  • Plan to spend extra time at the airport, especially if you plan to check bags. In fact, if possible, you might want to try bringing only carry-on.
  • If you are using carry-on bags only, use online check-in. This way, you can skip the counter and go straight to the security line.
  • Apply for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or Clear for faster security and use a credit card that covers the registration fee.
  • Check in for your hotel stay using an app, as many hotel chains will provide you with a digital key and allow you to skip the front desk altogether.
  • If you have hotel elite status, look for an elite status check-in line — these are usually much shorter. You may also be eligible for Hotel Elite status based on the credit cards you already have in your wallet.

Packing everything in your checked luggage


Even under the most ideal travel circumstances, there is always the possibility of flight delays or cancellations.

Issues within the airline’s control – such as aircraft maintenance – that often result in food and/or hotel vouchers, courtesy of the carrier. However, if you feel delayed due to things like In the event of weather events or problems with air traffic control, the airlines are not obliged to compensate you at all. The only thing worse than being forced to spend the night in an airline’s hub city (possibly at your own expense) is doing so without your personal belongings.

It is still entirely possible that everything will go smoothly. Maybe you’ll have plenty of time to make your connection, and upon landing, your luggage will be out on time and you won’t need to take the airline’s checked-bag guarantee. That’s not always the case, though.

Tips to avoid these problems

*Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG company.

No planning ahead with your rental car

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When the While the rental car shortage of recent years seems to have finally cooled, you should still start the booking process early.

Increased demand may still lead to higher rental prices, and there is still some residual shortage of cars. During high season, popular locales have no availability at all.

Even if you snag a relatively affordable rental car, you may encounter some obstacles when picking it up, such as long lines at airport car rental counters. Also, keep in mind that if you leave things too late, the car you end up with may be older and have higher mileage than you’d like, so balance your expectations accordingly.

Tips to avoid these problems

  • Book your rental car early – ahead of your flight and accommodation options – to lock in the right price and inventory.
  • Add your rental details to AutoSlash, which will automatically find better prices for you.
  • Join a car rental company’s loyalty program and see if your credit card includes elite status. This can not only help ensure that a car is waiting for you but also allow you to skip the line.
  • If all else fails, consider a car-sharing service like Turo, explore off-airport rental locations, or check with local car dealerships in your destination — some dealers offer loaner car rentals to the general public. You can also explore getting a car through Uber or Lyft, as both companies operate rental services.

Rely on ride-hailing services

Stuart Cahill/Media News Group/Boston Herald

If you don’t want to worry about renting a car or parking fees, you may be inclined to use services like Uber or Lyft.

Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on these services. Sometimes, there are no available cars nearby. Or, you could find yourself waiting a long time or falling victim to the dreaded “surge pricing,” when prices suddenly double or triple during peak travel times, such as rush hour.

Tips to avoid these problems

Not having reservations for everything – even national parks

Natalie Behring/Getty Images

Gone are the days of rolling out of bed in your hotel room, getting into your car and driving around spontaneously. National Park.

The most popular national parks—including Glacier, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, and Arches—require advance reservations to enter during peak periods, and you may need to apply for a permit or enter a lottery to experience their most legendary hikes. . Even those that don’t require reservations may have limited capacity, meaning you should plan an earlier-than-usual wake-up time to guarantee entry.

Related: Visiting a national park this summer? Better plan ahead

Tips to avoid these problems

  • Take the time to map out your entire trip, especially if you plan to visit a theme park or national park.
  • Check the website of the national park you plan to visit regularly and stay up-to-date on things like permit requirements, park conditions, and road closures.

Assuming everything will go wrong

The final mistake you want to avoid is actually the direct opposite of everything written above.

Don’t assume everything will go wrong if you decide to travel this summer. Sure, there’s a lot more you can Went wrong, but for every horror story of last-minute canceled flights, rental car shortages and Another (perhaps not as famous) story about $27 beers at the airport, things going perfectly well and everyone having a great time on vacation.

Bottom line

Despite the things that can go wrong, it’s still possible to have a relatively painless travel experience. If you prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and expect something in between, chances are you’ll be fine.

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