August 11, 2017

What Not To Do When Preparing for a Family Vacation

We spend so much time helping our travelers prepare for their family vacations that, admittedly, sometimes we wait until the last minute for ourselves, make mistakes, and have plain bad luck. Here are a few mishaps of the TFA staff.

Personally I have had two experiences where my luggage didn’t make it to the destination with me.  Both were results of delayed flights and barely making a connection.  Both times my itinerary left the hub city quickly and headed to a remote part of the country.  Meaning, it took several days for that luggage to catch up with me.  Of course TFA includes travel insurance with all of our departures.  And this insurance includes an allowance for buying necessities in the case of baggage delay.  However, it is not always easy to find what you need in a foreign country, not to mention being so busy that first day there is no time for shopping.  This happens.  My advice?  Be sure and pack a change of clothes and plenty of extra socks and underwear in your carry on.  And your toothbrush.  Always.

And then be sure and plan ahead for long airport layovers.  We all had a good laugh at the expense of our very well-traveled co-worker Moo.  She recently returned from a very busy weeks’ vacation.  She efficiently packed everything in her checked luggage keeping her carry on light thinking how nice it would be to not have to deal with all that “stuff” during her layovers.  Until of course she had a six hour layover at the airport in Madrid, with a dead phone and iPad, and needed the adapter that was carefully placed in the checked luggage!   The best part is she has done this at least 4 times before.  Needless to say, she has acquired quite of collection of adapters if anyone needs to borrow one.

Oh and perhaps the most important reminder of all— check the dates of your flights.  The best example of “do as I say not as I do” happened just last month.  A colleague in our sister division had been juggling a busy personal life, including home renovations and a family wedding, with a busy work schedule, finalizing summer departures before heading out on one of the trips herself.  Her last task of the busy day in the office before going to the airport for her overnight flight she proceeded to check in online.  Until the words “ALREADY DEPARTED” stopped her in her tracks.  Apparently the flight was the night before.  Luckily some quick thinking and a helpful attendant from the airline got it resolved with just a change fee.  This one could have been much worse!

Traveling is an experience and unfortunately sometimes things happen.  Having the right attitude, being flexible, and finding the humor in mishaps helps take the sting out when it does.   But better yet, learn from our mistakes and don’t do what we did!