Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! May has been a very busy month, and I find myself surprised at how quickly it flew by – do you feel the same? Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial beginning of summer is here, and vacation is on everyone’s minds.
This month, I was in Europe on a whirlwind 3 country/1 principality trip to Italy, Monaco, France, and Spain along the Mediterranean Coast. Since May 1st, my clients have traveled to, and are currently in, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Hidden Gem Travel clients will span the globe this summer, so I plan to be in the office (except for a week in Scotland).
With so much ground covered recently in Europe, I have helpful suggestions for your summer travels, particularly international. These tips are especially important with travel predicted to be at record-breaking levels for the next few months of 2023.
Read on for the scoop on important tips for your travels this summer…
Pack your patience – know that planes will be full and don’t let the hassle of air travel negatively impact your vacation. It’s out of everyone’s control (like the weather).
Give yourself plenty of time to get through the airport, especially if you’re traveling Thursday through Monday.
Connecting airports – plan for ample time to change planes. Lines for passport control can be long, and your incoming flight could be late. When you’re in your connecting airport, don’t be lured into having a bite or browsing the shops before you get a sense of how long it will take to get to the gate of your next flight.
Heads up if you’re flying out of JFK – a long construction project has begun that is creating serious traffic jams. Drive off the main roads to get to the airport. Tip from my driver 😊
My fingers and toes are crossed that the issues we had with flying last summer won’t rear their ugly heads this summer.
💎Hidden Gem Tip: If a trip abroad is on your bucket list, let’s talk about the best destination and itinerary for you.
Pack light, re-wear anchor pieces, and limit the number of shoes (but be sure to bring comfortable, broken-in walking shoes for tour-heavy itineraries). You will regret having more in your luggage than you need, especially if you have to unpack more than once while on your trip. Plus, you’ll have room for local purchases and souvenirs. I followed my own advice on my recent trip and was able to stock up on some fantastic items from Rome, Provence, and Barcelona (score!).
Know your airline’s restrictions for weight and size (including carry-on luggage) especially if you’re traveling on a European airline. This information is readily available on the airline’s website.
Put Apple Air Tags or other luggage tracking devices in your checked bags. It’s comforting to know that your bag is near you and, worst case, where it is if it didn’t make it on the plane. Pack a change of clothes and all essentials in your carry-on bag.
I use packing cubes to keep my clothing organized in my checked luggage. They are easily purchased on Amazon if you don’t have them.
Your Fellow Travelers
In Europe especially, you’ll be in close proximity to many other eager travelers in popular places and will experience queues. Wake up early and tour in the morning. Relax in the afternoon out of the heat.
Before you leave for your trip, make dinner reservations for restaurants you know you want to dine in. Your hotel concierge is a great resource both before and while you’re in your destination for dining recommendations and bookings. Hidden Gem Travel clients have my help with this service pre-travel if desired.
Outsmart the pickpockets. Not to be alarmist but they are out there and talented like magicians. Someone on my recent trip had her passport and wallet stolen from her zipped cross-body bag while trying to board a crowded train. Consider wearing a waist pack under your shirt with the zipper facing your body with your money and IDs.
Private guides with skip-the-line tickets are your best bet for a no-stress, high-quality tour. Small group tours offered by quality companies can also be good choices.
Be flexible and expect the unexpected. Itinerary changes can happen despite careful planning. These changes can relate to crowd avoidance or a myriad of other reasons like government announcements, poor weather conditions, etc. My motto is “It’s all good, I’m on vacation.”
💎Hidden Gem Tip: Things happen! Make sure you’ve purchased travel insurance to protect your vacation investment. Hidden Gem Travel clients are given quotes making the coverage purchase easy.
Think Ahead for 2024
If you know generally when you can travel next year, think ahead and begin the planning process this fall for next spring and summer. You’ll get the best pricing and availability by booking earlier than everyone else. Yes, travel in 2024 is expected to be at high levels once again. While your family is together this summer, discuss where everyone wants to travel and what schedules look like. You’ll be glad you did.
Wishing you and your family continued good health,