Tips For Flying, Dealing With Delays And Cancellations And Maintaining Your Sanity During These Crazy Travel Times

Who loves flying these days? Raise your hand. In this current environment, it’s not likely I’m going to see many raised hands.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard a thing or two about some airline flight delays, cancellations, and the horror stories that follow. The statistics on airline flight delays and cancellations are staggering. According to FlightAware statistics, airline flight delays and cancellations for July 18, 2022 alone were 25,693 delays and 3,116 cancellations worldwide.



However, even with these staggering statistics, it doesn’t seem to be hindering us from traveling this year. So what does this mean for those of us who are still willing to fly the friendly skies? Well, it may mean that the friendly skies might not be so friendly anymore and many unwanted diversions can be expected…so be prepared.

Although no one has a perfect answer as to how we can avoid travel hick-ups, there are some steps we can take to possibly help avoid some of the delays and cancellations, or at the very least prepare yourself mentally to deal with unpleasant situations.

Here are some suggestions and tips for your next airline trip:

BOOK EARLY MORNING FLIGHTS

Many experts suggest that booking early morning flights may help in reducing the chance of flight delays or cancellations. If you think about this, it does make sense. Airlines can typically get their first flights of the day off on time which will likely help to avoid issues, rather than later in the day when problems begin to compile and disrupt flight schedules. An additional tip, if you have a specific event to attend and have some flexibility in your schedule, you may want to consider adding a “buffer” day to allow for unforeseen setbacks.

BOOK NON-STOP FLIGHTS

Whenever possible, it is a good idea to book a non-stop flight to your destination. The more layovers you have on a trip, the more likely it will be that something can go wrong. A non-stop flight might be a little more expensive, but it may be a cost that pays off in a big way.

Also, book your flight sooner than later. Due to airline shortages of staff, gas prices, and other variables, those last-minute airfare deals aren’t as common as they used to be and airfare prices only seem to be increasing as the travel date approaches.

APPLY FOR A TRUSTED TRAVELER PROGRAM {TTP}

Although this is not a quick process, it will benefit you in the long run to move forward and apply for a Trusted Traveler Program such as TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. Once approved, you will able to expedite the process of going through long TSA lines and also enjoy the benefits of alleviating some of the frustrations of TSA procedures such as removing your shoes and simpler international custom procedures.

DOWNLOAD TRAVEL APPS

Arm yourself with information. Staying informed on your flight status and other useful travel information can help you gain an upper hand should something go awry. Downloading travel apps such as FlightAware, LoungeBuddy, and Kayak, can give you immediate access to the information you need to get through unforeseen hurdles. Apps such as FlightAware allow you to track flights online, see a live flight map, and send you notifications on delays, cancellations and gate changes should your schedule change; an app such as LoungeBuddy can help navigate access to premium airport lounges that can provide a comfortable rest area should your flight be delayed regardless of the airline or class you’re flying; and should your flight be canceled and/or you need to stay overnight, an app like Kayak or Skyscanner can help you secure a new flight or hotel.

DRESS COMFORTABLY

This might sound like a very simplistic suggestion, however, keep in mind that with all the delays and cancellations that are currently happening, people have been camping out in airports for extreme hours, if not days.

You will want to be wearing comfortable clothing and shoes for the possibility of running around the airport trying to reschedule or catch a different flight; wear slip-on shoes for easy access through TSA; wear clothes that are loose, cool, and comfortable for possible long term delays that will have you sitting in the airport or on the tarmac for hours; and have a sweater, jacket or shawl on hand for temperature fluctuations.

This is definitely not the time to choose fashion over comfort. Being in a physically comfortable state will be much more beneficial for keeping a positive attitude and outlook should you be delayed for hours on end.

BE PREPARED TO DEAL WITH DELAYS

Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

Should you experience some delays, be prepared to deal with a situation where you might have hours of down time. And keep in mind that if you are delayed during off-hours or at a small airport, you may not have all the airport concessions available to you. Here are some suggestions to get you through a long delay:

  • Stay hydrated throughout your travels. Buy water after you pass through TSA to have on hand and to avoid dehydration.
  • Pack some snacks. Power bars, nuts, dehydrated fruits are perfect nutritious options that will pack easily. During stressful delays, no one wants to deal with a “hangry” person.
  • Prior to your travel, download your phone or tablet with your favorite music, books, movies and/or games to avoid boredom.
  • Inflatable neck pillows and a light shawl will help you stay comfortable in the waiting room seats or even after you make it on the plane.
  • Keep a few aspirin available and be sure to have any important medication with you.

Being prepared for a long delay will help to alleviate some stress and keep you in good spirits.

LUGGAGE: CARRY-ON, CHECK-IN OR LOST

If you’ve seen the news lately, it is a crazy reality the amount of luggage that gets lost. Carry-on luggage is always a smart choice for the convenience of not going through baggage claims and avoiding lost luggage. However, this option is not realistic for everyone. For those who do check-in their bags, there are a few things you can do that may be a saving grace should your baggage decide to go to Hawaii while you head to Boston.

It is a wise decision to pack a small carry-on bag that has some of your essential items in the event your checked-in baggage gets lost, such as important medications, contacts {keep solutions and any other toiletries in compliant sized cases}, valuables, or other crucially needed items, along with a change of clothing or at least undergarments. It may sound like overkill, but should the worst-case scenario happen you will have access to some essentials that can carry you through until your luggage arrives.

One of the biggest frustrations with lost luggage is not knowing where it is and when it will get to you. For that reason, many people have started using “luggage trackers” to help them locate where their luggage is in the event it doesn’t reach its destination. Mobile or GSM luggage trackers get around the GPS coverage problem by using the local mobile network to help track your luggage. They easily slip into your suitcase and monitoring is accessible through an app. There are many different forms of trackers that are easy to use, see Amazon for ideas that will work best for you.

KNOW YOUR CREDIT CARD BENEFITS

Many of us don’t take the time to study the benefits offered by our credit card companies. Credit cards can offer some great reward benefits such as building up points for travel but they can also offer some valuable travel insurance coverage. Each card will be different in what it offers, but it’s worth the effort to find out what your card covers and to know how they can help in the event your trip is canceled, delayed, or you encounter lost luggage. You might be very surprised at the benefits, services and reimbursements that are available. If you are a frequent traveler, it may be in your interest to compare credit cards geared towards travelers. The Points Guy does a good job in comparing some cards {here}. My personal favorite is the Platinum American Express.

PACK YOUR PATIENCE

Lastly, pack your patience! With so many factors that are out of your control, it’s imperative to know that keeping a calm and positive mental state will help guide you through any disruptions. By using some of the tips above and preparing for unexpected delays, you will be better prepared to keep your emotions in tact, reduce stress and navigate through any issues that arise. Happy {uneventful} Travels!

If you have your own tips or suggestions, feel free to add them in the comment box.

Snapshot: Skyview Los Alamos | Los Alamos, CA

From your cowboy roots to retro-chic…Skyview, you had me at “MOTEL” {the sign that is}. I have driven by it 100 times or more while traveling between Northern and Southern California. I am referring to the larger-than-life bright yellow and black “MOTEL” sign, located high on the hill right off Highway 101 in Los Alamos, just north of Santa Barbara. If you have traveled this stretch of road, you have most likely also seen it.

On this particular trip, I spontaneously decided to follow the sky-high yellow sign to see what the motel behind the iconic marquee was all about. The motel opened in 1959 and successfully operated as a roadside establishment for decades until the eventual abandonment and disarray of the property.

In 2016, the Nomada Hotel Group purchased the iconic motel with a fresh new vision for it. After a complete renovation, the motel reopened its doors in 2018 as the Skyview Los Alamos. The owners took great strides to meticulously renovate the entire property to offer all the current amenities while maintaining the original “bones” of the property and integrating some of the authentic 1950’s-era architectural elements already there. The interior spaces reflect a well-done retro, mid-century vibe with a modern rustic flair. Newly created outdoor common areas offer seating with fire pits, surrounded by a relaxing succulent garden.

The pool is a defining characteristic and the heartbeat of the property. The pool area has a fun, playful motif with its colorful umbrellas, “bubble” iron gate, and painted cactus art with the iconic motel sign proudly presiding over it all. {Insert Instagram moment here}

A pleasant surprise on this small property is the onsite restaurant, Norman. On this short visit, I only had time for a quick tour and a glass of wine at the bar; however, I look forward to returning to this boutique property so I may fully experience it and share it in all its glory.

If you find yourself in the Los Alamos area and you happen to see those large yellow and black letters that say MOTEL, turn off to stay the night or grab a bite to eat…either way you won’t be disappointed.


Sneak Peek: The Inn At Mattei’s Tavern | Los Olivos, CA

Something big is happening in the quaint town of Los Olivos. I’m excited to share the news that Los Olivos will be home to the first esteemed luxury resort on California’s Central Coast, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection.

I recently had the opportunity to tour this property under construction and received a glimpse into all that this revered property will offer…luxurious accommodations, authentic ranch-style farm-fresh foods, award-winning wines, pampered spa treatments, and relaxing poolside moments.

Over the past decade, California’s Central Coast has become a significant wine region producing award-winning wines and offering unique culinary experiences. However, the region provided no high-end accommodations for those seeking a refined luxury hotel between Big Sur and Santa Barbara.

In 2017 this changed when co-owners, Brian and Sharma Strange of Strange Family Vineyards and Deepak Kamra, purchased the town’s historic Mattei’s Tavern and partnered with the luxury hospitality portfolio group, Auberge Resorts Collection, to design and manage this area’s first ultra-luxury property.

What makes this project so exceptional is that the owners and Auberge Resorts have gone to great lengths to preserve the authenticity of Mattei’s Tavern along with four original cottages and have mindfully created an entire resort that seamlessly blends both worlds of old and new.

The new construction will include the addition of 63 new cottage-style accommodations that will showcase an elevated modern farmhouse design while reflecting the laid-back luxury of wine country living. Other property amenities will include multiple dining options, an outdoor pool, signature spa and facilities for special events.

In addition, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern is located steps away from the heart of charming downtown Los Olivos walking distance to restaurants, wineries and shopping.

I think this will the beginning of a significant shift for this area and will become the standard by which all others are measured. This has been a long time in coming, and when The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern opens this fall, visitors to the Central Coast will now have what promises to be a world-class resort destination in which to stay.

The hotel is scheduled to open mid Fall 2022, with the Spa opening in Spring 2023.

How A Spontaneous Leap Of Faith Led To The Opening Of A Luxury Hotel In Spain

Sometimes you hear a story that lifts your heart and spirit. A feel-good story that lights a little spark of hope and motivates you to believe you can aim a bit higher in your own life. This recently happened to me when I connected through LinkedIn with Christine Cunanan, Publisher/Editor of Travelife Magazine and Owner of La Esperanza Granada.

I do not personally know Christine, but I am always happy to connect with colleagues within my industry as you never know where it might lead…and little did I know that by connecting with Christine, I would discover this inspiring story of how her spontaneous leap of faith led her to purchase a private hacienda in Spain that she would transform into a small luxury hotel naming it La Esperanza Granada. And during these times, what a prophetic name it is as the meaning of La Esperanza is Hope.

Image Courtesy of La Esperanza Granada

While the majority of us amid the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic were in our sweat pants streaming Netflix, Christine Cunanan was on a flight when she had an out-of-the-blue idea to purchase a property in Spain. Arriving home from her flight and before even unpacking her bags, she went online and googled “properties for sale in Spain”. Upon finding a private hacienda online and purchasing it sight unseen, Christine renovated the property and had it operating as a small luxury hotel within a year. One short year after opening, the hotel has received glowing reviews, has recently been named one of the six best new hotel openings in Spain, and is currently a member of the prestigious L.V.X. Preferred Hotels and Resorts. Is anyone else besides me feeling a little lazy right about now?!

I am posting this story because I find it hopeful and inspiring. No matter how small or large our dreams are, shouldn’t we sometimes choose to take that leap of faith? Maybe one of us has a story like this in ourselves as well. I cannot begin to tell Christine’s story as well as she can, so if you want to read the full story of her journey, click the link (here). I hope you find it as uplifting and inspiring as I do. Happy Dreams my friends…and if you do have a similar story, please share it!

1 Hotel Opens in San Francisco

1 Hotel San Francisco, managed by SH Hotels & Resorts, has announced the opening of its hotel at 8 Mission Street, San Francisco. Prestigiously located on the Embarcadero and directly across the street from the iconic San Francisco Bay, the hotel is within walking distance of the historic Ferry Building, celebrated museums, Oracle Park, Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square, and SoMa.

Photo Courtesy of 1 Hotel

Formerly the site of Hotel Vitale, 1 Hotel completed a 25 million dollar renovation integrating the best of sustainable design and architecture with extraordinary comfort. The property’s 186 guest rooms, 14 suites, and wellness spa capture views of the Bay Area’s inspiring landscape, and stunning natural beauty.  This hotel will surely add a luxurious touch to the Embarcadero waterfront and be an urban sanctuary retreat for its guests and patrons alike.

Ride The Vines In Style | Paso Robles, CA

Did someone say “Let’s go wine tasting?”. Yes, please!

Wine tasting has become a popular pastime throughout California, as well as many other states with growing wine regions. With hundreds of wineries in any given region, businesses have become savvy in finding ways to attract visitors with such enticements as serene vacation rentals set among their rolling vineyards, delicious edibles, and of course, award-winning wines.

To elevate the experience, many people choose to hire a limousine service to shuttle them between the different wineries. A fantastic idea, but what if your experience could be taken to the next level? What if you could enjoy a chauffeured ride that is a more immersive and intimate experience? An experience that awakens your senses, kicks your adrenaline into gear, and provides the most unique way to see the scenic landscape?

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