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May 20, 2011

Summer Travel Tips for Singles

It’s almost summer, and the kick-off to the ‘lazy, hazy’ season is just around the corner. With the Memorial Day holiday weekend fast approaching, Singles Travel International offers advice for solo travelers heading into the busy summer travel season.

“Whether you’re driving to the beach or heading overseas, planning your next vacation with a travel agent is a smart move,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “Travel agents are experts in deciphering all the travel information and codes out there. It’s what they do every day, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience. And most importantly, they’re there for you before, during and after your trips and when the unexpected happens. Using a travel agent is more than just travel sense, it’s common sense.”

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide customers with useful travel tips for singles, below are recommendations to take the hassle out of summer travel:

General Travel Tips:

  • Develop a vacation budget. Overspending results in tension and anxiety about unnecessary debt. Plan to spend a certain amount per day, and stay within that budget.
  • Plan ahead. Make travel and lodging arrangements as far in advance as possible. While this might seem like obvious advice, many people end up making last minute plans which can mean fewer options and added anxiety.
  • Pack smart. Pack at least a day before you leave to avoid the stress of being rushed and give yourself the opportunity to remember and pack things you may otherwise forget.
  • Get some shuteye. It’s tempting to stay up late the night before a trip packing and clearing off your desk. But sleep-deprived travelers are cranky travelers. And cranky travelers are apt to find everything about travel irritating. So get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Eat a healthy meal before you start your trip, and stick to healthy eating habits as much as possible during your vacation.
  • Include exercise. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress so find time to exercise while you are on vacation.
  • Set boundaries. As much as you can, leave your job behind. Don’t check your work email or voicemail. If you have to take work with you, limit the amount of time you are working to one to two hours per day.
  • Be flexible. Realize that there are going to be some delays and bumps in the road on any journey and try to prepare yourself to roll with the punches. There is no point in getting stressed over minor things that are out of your control. Bring a “survival kit” stocked with earplugs, an eyeshade, healthy snacks, a charged cell phone and a backup calling card, sanitizing wipes, extra cash and some form of entertainment (books, DVD or music player, cards, etc.) to make unexpected delays more tolerable.

Air Travel Tips:

  • Book your ticket ASAP. If you must book last minute, remember the key to securing the best deal is flexibility in travel dates-ask your Singles Travel International reservation therapist to check into fares or consider flying into an alternate airport and renting a car. If your holiday vacation includes international travel, make sure you have appropriate travel documents.
  • Arrive early. Difficult airport parking, long lines at security checkpoints and the possibility of the airline overselling the flight and bumping passengers, should all be considered when deciding what time to arrive at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time. Need some incentive? Keep in mind that those who arrive earliest for an overbooked flight stand the greatest chance of staying onboard.
  • Keep a close eye on all your belongings. Just as airports are extremely crowded during the peak period with travelers, they can also be fraught with thieves working the airports. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a close watch over tickets, wallets, purses, and other belongings at all times.
  • Avoid getting bumped. 1) Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released. 2) Check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online. 3) Don’t be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early.
  • Remember 3-1-1. Regulations limit the amount of gels and liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin.
  • Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. You cannot carry sports equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as golf clubs and baseball bats. All electronic items are subject to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case to be X-rayed separately.

Car Travel Tips:

  • Plan itineraries and arrange accommodations well in advance. Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times. Your travel agent will help you get the lowest rate and make sure your rental car has room for all of your luggage and whatever souvenirs you bring home.
  • Get a tune up. Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have your oil changed and your brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked. The slightest deficiency in air pressure significantly reduces your car’s gas mileage
  • Get an early start to avoid holiday gridlock. Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps. The worst times to travel are after meals since most travelers postpone leaving until they’ve eaten with their families.
  • Choose public transportation. Many U.S. cities now offer public transportation. Chances are, if you are visiting a city this summer, it will be your fastest and most convenient bet for getting around your destination quickly and at low cost. Plus, it’s a positive step for the environment. Ask your singles travel agent about transportation options available at your destination. Many cities now offer Hop-on, Hop-off Tours that give you access to many sites at your leisure, are less expensive and you customize your own tour.
  • Buckle up.
  • Don’t forget Fido. Those who are traveling with pets should contact their singles travel agent for pet-friendly hotels along the way. Pet owners should also be reminded never to leave pets waiting in parked cars- temperatures can soar quickly during the sizzling summer months.

Here’s to a terrific summer vacation for everyone!

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