The best tricks for the travel apocalypse

Airport workers stand by passenger baggage lines set up outside Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain June 19, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

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NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Planning to squeeze some travel out of the rest of the summer? Good luck, you’ll need it.

Flight cancellations have already soared beyond last year’s total. Delays affected 890,000 flights in the first half of the year. Prices have soared as pandemic-weary travelers are desperate to go anywhere. Baggage “graveyards” are piling up at airports around the world and missed connections are on the rise.

Welcome to the travel apocalypse.

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“It’s definitely the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Meena Thiruvengadam, founder and editor-in-chief of the site Travel With Meena (travelwithmeena.com). “Now is definitely the time to be more strategic.”

To help you navigate travel hell, we’ve tapped top experts for advice on discounts and how to avoid potential disasters.

USE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT CARD

Have you tried so far to get airline compensation for delays and cancellations? Even if you succeed, you may end up tired after a long battle.

“My best trick for navigating the travel apocalypse is to always book travel with a credit card that offers travel coverage,” said Brian Kelly, founder of popular travel site The Points Guy.

“When airlines go out of business, it’s much easier to get compensation with your credit card than with understaffed airlines.”

GO TO BRING

Minimize the chances of things going wrong and save money by limiting yourself to one handheld device. Checking a bag increases the chances of your things being lost, delayed, stolen or damaged.

The first checked bag is usually around $30, and the second is $40 with most carriers. The benefit of a “free” checked bag makes the airfare go up.

“Traveling light will make it easier if you have to rebook flights for whatever reason and give you a lot more flexibility,” said Thiruvengadam. “It will also minimize the chances of your bag getting lost or stuck in one of the world’s many airports.”

THINK CRUISE

Cruises offer attractive deals as virus-phobic travelers avoid large groups in small spaces.

According to the site Cruise Critic, the average starting cost per person in August is $108 per night for the Caribbean, $56 per night for the Mexican Riviera and $125 per night for the Mediterranean, with the lowest starting rates far below

“There are so many deals right now because people are still a little nervous about taking cruises,” said Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and content strategist.

“One of the best value cruise lines is MSC, an Italian-owned line. Check out these rates: $498 per person for a seven-night voyage from Miami to the Caribbean. That’s $71 a night and includes all your food..”

THINK TWICE WHILE BOOKING ONLINE

Most people book travel online, which leads to a couple of “classic mistakes,” said CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.

The first is that the algorithm can show you flight connection times of just over half an hour, because a computer doesn’t know any better and assumes that everything will be fine and on time (highly unlikely).

“This is not just ridiculous; it’s suicidal,” Greenberg said.

The second mistake is to think that Expedia, Travelocity or any other site shows all available options.

“You may have to do the unthinkable and have a conversation with someone, whether it’s a travel agent or the airlines themselves,” Greenberg said.

“Because what they see on their screens isn’t always what you see on your screens. If you’re just looking online yourself, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”

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Editing by Lauren Young and Richard Chang Follow us at @ReutersMoney

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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