The Knack team has a lot of great travel planned for this summer and we can’t wait to kick-off the season by heading out this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who can’t wait. According to AAA, this Memorial Day weekend travel will be really busy with over 39.2 million people traveling 50 miles or more away from home.
While it’s too late to help make Memorial Day travel less stressful, and less expensive, through the usual suggestions of doing your research, booking ahead, and checking over your car, we thought we’d share some of our top Memorial Day travel mistakes that, if you address now, will help you have a more stress-free weekend.
Top Five Memorial Day travel mistakes that you should address now:
- Flying Thursday
- Being Unprepared for Flight Delays
- Driving in the Afternoons
- Packing Too Much in Your Car
- Ignoring Travel Insurance
Mistake #1: Flying Thursday
AAA is predicting air travel to be up 25% over last year (which is the second largest increase in over 10 years). So, an obvious mistake this year is to book your flights at the last minute. However, if you are late to the game and haven’t booked your flights yet, do whatever you can to avoid Thursday which AAA says will be the busiest air travel day. While you’re at it, you may also want to avoid traveling on Saturday too as it is predicted to be the most expensive day of the Memorial Day weekend to fly.
Mistake #2: Not Being Prepared for Flight Delays
With so many people flying, and airlines still struggling to meet the demand, there will inevitably be flights delays over Memorial Day weekend. Assuming that everything will be fine and not having a battle plan ready for a possible cancelled flight is a huge “no-no”. Here is Team Knack’s flight cancellation plan of attack before and after we get to the airport:
- Download the airline’s app. We tend to find that cancelations and delays are on the app before they are mentioned at the gate.
- Be ready to DM the airline on Facebook or Tweet about the issue. Most airlines have dedicated people monitoring social media real time. We find that we can get answers quicker on social than we can standing in line at the airport.
- Stand in line at the airport and get on the phone. The first thing everyone does when a flight is cancelled is line up at the gate or the airline’s customer service desk. We join the line too, but at the same time, we call the airline. Usually, we can get re-booked on the phone before we get to the head of the line. One other tip we recommend: if the quoted hold-time is long, we hang-up and try the airline’s Canadian toll-free number; it’s almost always quicker.
Remember, cancelations due to things the airline doesn’t control (like weather) do not entitle you to a refund or to travel on a competitor’s flight. However, we found that it never hurts to ask to be re-booked on the next competitor’s flight regardless of the cause of the cancellation. Just ask nicely!
Mistake #3: Driving in the Afternoons
Almost 90% of people traveling for Memorial Day this year will hop in a car. While driving seems to be the ultimate flexible method to get from Point A to Point B, make sure to avoid the roads Thursday between 1 and 8pm and Friday between noon and 7pm which, according to AAA, will be the busiest times to travel. So, get an early start: before 6AM and after 9PM are your best bets.
Mistake #4: Packing Too Much in Your Car
With gas prices getting closer to $5/gallon, another big driving “no-no” is packing a bunch of things that you “might” need on your car’s roof rack. According to the EPA, roof-top bins and racks cut your average fuel economy by up to a whopping 25% on the highway. And every 100 extra pounds of stuff you jam in your car reduces your fuel economy by 1%.
Mistake #5: Not Considering Travel Insurance
We’ve talked about our mixed feelings on travel insurance before, but with Covid possibly impacting our Memorial Day travel plans at the last minute, we firmly believe that not considering travel insurance is a big “no-no”. With that in mind, we first look for travel insurance that covers Covid-related cancellations. But since some of the Knack team has sunk a lot of time, effort and money into our Memorial Day travel, we were excited to learn about broader “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. While more expensive, CFAR coverage will typically not only offset losses up to 75% of your costs due to Covid-related issues, it will reimburse you for any other reason (can you say “last minute break-up” or “the deal blew up”?). The number of plans out there can be overwhelming, but we found a great recent Forbes review to be really helpful in narrowing down the choices.
While most travel insurance plans are geared for air travel, there is a trend for insurers to offer coverage for car travel also. “Road Trip” insurance typically provides coverage for non-refundable deposits on things like hotels and attraction tickets due to Covid-related cancelations or delays caused by things like traffic accidents or weather. Road Trip insurance can also cover certain out-of-network medical costs you incur on your car trip.
Mistake #6 (Bonus): Taking the Wrong Bag
If five mistakes to avoid aren’t enough, we’d be remiss to not throw in our personal favorite “no-no”: taking the wrong bag. Two of the key things that are important to traveling stress-free over Memorial Day are being flexible and packing light. That’s where the right bag is invaluable. Whether you are traveling by car or by air this upcoming weekend, packing a Knack Pack keeps you packing light and maximizes your flexibility.
Our most popular styles weigh less than 3 grande lattes but have almost 40 liters of room to bring all the things you need for a three day weekend. If you are planning to do a little work during your trip, the separate organization compartment keeps your professional items in easy-to-access pockets and the padded computer pocket suspends and protects your laptop against the bumps and shocks of travel. But the ultimate in flexibility is Knack Pack’s hidden expandable travel compartment that opens like a suitcase and easily carries 2-3 days’ worth of clothing. And best of all, when you get to your destination and unpack, the travel compartment compresses and hides away with a simple zip and your Knack Pack becomes a great daypack.
We hope you have a great time during your upcoming travels and take your Knack Pack! If you have any other personal Memorial Day travel “no-no’s” that you would like to share with other Knackpackers, please drop a note in the comment section below.
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