Who knew that the sight of long TSA security lines and packed flights could bring joy to a traveler? Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but after two long years of being stuck at home, we’re psyched to see summer travel back in full swing.
So with the Summer Solstice officially kicking off the season, we thought it would be helpful to share some of our favorite tips and tricks for a hassle-free summer journey.
We suggest following these 5 tips to make summer traveling easier this year:
- Update Your Travel Docs
- Check For Travel Restrictions
- Book ASAP
- Consider Travel Insurance
- Pack Light
1.) Update Your Travel Docs
First things first. Since there’s a lot of us who haven’t traveled for a while, the first thing you need to do is make sure your travel documents are in order. International travel is now open, so, most importantly, check to see if your passport is still valid. There is a huge backlog right now for renewals. Standard processing takes 8-11 weeks, while expedited processing is around 5-7 weeks. Pro-tip: make sure to make a copy of the photo page of your passport just in case it is lost or stolen. But please, keep it separate from your passport! You should also check to see if any country-specific visas you may have needed expired during the pandemic. Finally, if you are planning to travel overseas, you may want to check out these tricks and tips to make your long haul flight more comfortable.
For domestic summer traveling, you’ll just need a current drivers license. However, looking to the future, by May 3, 2023, every adult will need a REAL ID driver’s license from your state (or a TSA-approved alternative, like a US Passport) to board any domestic flight. Find out more about REAL ID here.
2.) Check For Travel Restrictions
As of June 12, 2022, the CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from the virus before boarding their flight. This is a significant development since finding testing centers in foreign countries is not always easy. Some are either too far from your hotel or too expensive. In Paris, as recently as last Fall, finding a testing center that takes in foreigners was nearly impossible. Plus, you need to learn how to say, “I need to schedule an antigen test tomorrow,” in French.
For summer traveling from the US, most countries have dropped the need for any type of health documentation. But you still should check to make sure you don’t need a Travel Health Certificate (THC) to enter the country you are visiting. Popular destinations like Australia, Japan, and the Bahamas still require some type of THC for entry. And if you are still a bit nervous about Covid and flying, check out our top tips for staying healthy during your flight.
3.) Book ASAP
We’ve heard it from Knackpackers all over: we’re sick of being stuck in our homes for the past twenty-four months. As a result, the pent-up demand for summer traveling will be huge. According to the US Travel Association, more than 28% of travelers plan to spend significantly more this summer over their 2019 travel budgets for marquee trips due to higher prices and accumulated savings. Also, many travelers who canceled plans for 2020 and 2021 have simply rebooked those same trips for 2022. If you’re like us and haven’t booked or rebooked your summer travel yet, many travel experts recommend that you do it NOW. And always, book your flights first when you plan your trip. Flexibility on your departures and arrivals can make a world of difference in price and it’s much easier to plan your lodging, cars and restaurants to fit your flight schedule (not vice versa). Finally, one of our favorite tips to get cheaper fares is to book flights for summer traveling for the end of August/early September (yes, that’s still summer!).
4.) Consider Travel Insurance
Before COVID, most travel insurance policies didn’t cover pandemics, but, luckily, that is no longer the case. While we’ve never been big fans of travel insurance, COVID changed our thinking, especially for summer traveling. If you’re still on the fence about travel insurance, check out this great article from the Better Business Bureau on whether travel insurance makes sense. If it does, here are a few sites where you can read reviews, compare various policies and receive quotes.
5.) Pack Light
The team here at Knack hates to check bags. We live and die by carrying everything with us on our flight. So, for summer traveling, with its associated delays and cancellations, we always pack light. We shared our favorite techniques for packing light (with a Knack Pack of course) in a recent blog post. We cover the right type of clothing, toiletries, and packing techniques to ensure that you and your things never end up in separate destinations.
Once you do make your plans, drop us a line at email@example.com and tell us where you are going to go this summer. Better yet, tag a pic of you and your Knack Pack with #knackbags when you get there!