Now that Halloween is almost a distant memory this year and Thanksgiving is fast approaching and Christmas is right on its tail, I decided to bring this blog back to life with useful tips and information for those who are expecting to travel for the holidays. Also, I’m going to be using these resources as well for my travels to Seattle from New York. The truth be told, I haven’t decided on a date for my travel back west, but I am expecting it to be right before Thanksgiving.
Why right around that time? Isn’t it the craziest periods for traveling? Well, for starters, I don’t think the whole travel experience would be as crazy as New York would be when Macy does its annual parade on Thanksgiving day! Secondly, there’s really no way to avoid the craziness — it’s already started! The best way to get around it is to be prepared and know how to maneuver through the insanity that comes with so many holidays packed together in such a short period.
Traveling on a Budget
Sadly, with so many people deciding to travel at the same time during a season of problematic weather inclement that could leave you stranded at an airport in a place you don’t know anyone or have nowhere else to go, you would think traveling would be a bit cheaper and more flexible. Unfortunately, nope.
The flights are much more expensive and the airlines are much more overworked, tired, and less likely to be helpful than usual. So, how do I avoid the extra headache of having to deal with this? By making the extra time and being more patient when it comes to finding the best deals online.
My number one go to website for finding the lowest air fares would be Skyscanner.com. This website searches across so many different airlines and compiles them into a cute little graph for a much easier analysis for the human eye. More often than not, they do have the lowest fares; but, I would strongly suggest that you take the time and use that information for more in-depth research by going to the actual airlines’ websites and see if you could get a better fare. In addition, some of these low fares end up being expired before you can make a purchase — which happens a bit more than I like it to. So, I’d check out the airlines and see if they still carry the fares.
Another tip to consider is making your dates a bit more flexible — that’s to give you the ability to get the lowest fare possible — and set up email/text alerts. That’s a feature that I really like about skyscanner.com, they will alert me to newer and lower fares whenever they roll out and give me the chance to catch them within my date range of departure. I think it is a really cool feature. Most other travel websites such as Expedia or Orbitz have those too. Take full advantage of it as early as possible and you won’t have to worry about not getting the best deal out there.
Most importantly, traveling on a budget does not mean skimping out on the essentials like travel insurance. To find out more about why skipping out on this might be a bad idea, check out Christopher Elliott’s website of horror stories from customers who got the short end of things when they traveled.
Tips for the Deaf Traveler
Here’s a few things that have usually worked for me when I travel. From time to time, I tend to feel like carrying around a notepad and pens for communicating with people who cannot sign (see my “Talking Books” entry) can feel a bit more like a perk than not. By getting everything, I mean, everything in writing, I usually get what they promised me — even when they realize that it shouldn’t have been said. I find this truly beneficial especially when employees are overworked and start saying things to “shut me up” and then when I come back and hold them to it, they deny it and try to give me the run around. When I show them what they wrote, that usually makes them realize: I can prove it that they said it should I decide to request for a manager or superiors for assistance in resolving disputes. Oh yeah, it’s better to hold on to all of the written communication. Don’t let them keep the conversations because, then, they can get rid of them and you’ll have to deal with “He said and I said,” kind of situation which usually does not turn out well for you, the customer.
Along with having everything in writing, the most important thing about traveling in times like these is to be very patient. I cannot emphasize this enough. Patience usually means you’re not in a mood where you will get upset. Whenever you get upset, and that isn’t the last resort, you will most likely lose more than what you’re being offered in the first place and will need to deal with it during your holidays. Keep your cool by being extra patient. The holidays isn’t an easy time for either you or them, but by being patient and respectful will go a long way in your favor.
On top of all these tips and resources, don’t forget to have a blast during your holidays!