A big part of a successful trip comes down to preparation. I’m sharing tips to help reduce your stress for your next flight.
This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company). I have received financial compensation. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The following tips are things that you can do to prepare ahead of time to make your travels easier.
1. Get TSA Precheck
If you travel often this will help you reduce your time in line for security. With TSA Precheck you can avoid taking off your shoes, belt, and jacket. You can also avoid scrambling to make sure that your laptop and liquids are in extra bins.
2. Check-In Prior to Your Flight
Avoid check-in lines by checking in for your flight online or through an app. I prefer to download my boarding pass and upload it to Apple Wallet on my iPhone.
3. Leave Enough Margin Before Your Flight
Make sure that you have plenty of time to allow for unexpected hiccups that may come up between your home and your departure gate.
Traffic, parking at the airport, transfers, shuttles, and security lines can add extra stress if you don’t plan ahead for them.
Give yourself extra time and you can avoid feeling rushed and have enough time to relax before your flight.
It’s recommended that you arrive 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours early for international flights.
Boarding typically begins 30-45 minutes before your flight takes off and the gate closes about 15 minutes before takeoff.
4. Download the App for the Airline that you are Flying on Before Your Flight
The airline app can keep you updated on flight delays and gate changes. Many airlines also offer in-flight entertainment through their app but you need to download it before your flight takes off.
5. Don’t Forget your Earbuds
Most planes use traditional aux-cord for watching in-flight entertainment.
This can be frustrating to discover if your headphones don’t work with the plane. Many times you can just use the app for in-flight entertainment. Another option is to purchase a cheap pair of headphones to use on the flight from the flight attendant.
6. Have a plan for your luggage
Carry-on or checked luggage?
There are pros and cons to both choices depending on your flight. Many travels prefer to only carry on to save time and avoid lost luggage but sometimes they might have to gate check their luggage if they are on a smaller plane.
If you have multiple transfers within a tight time constraint you might want to check your luggage so that you don’t have to worry about rushing through the airport with it.
7. Use Credit Cards with free checked bags perks
Apply for a credit card for the airlines that you use most. I have several airline credit cards that I earn points with everyday purchases and I also don’t have to pay checked bag fees which saves me a lot of money.
8. Pack Snacks for your trip
Avoid being “hangry” with lots of accessible snacks in your carry-on or purse which will also save you from overpriced snacks at the airport.
9. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Save money and the planet by bringing your own water bottle to the airport. You can fill up your water bottle after you go through security.
10. Tie a Colorful Ribbon on Your Luggage for Easy Identification
Most of our luggage is black which can make it a challenge when you are trying to identify it at baggage claim.
You can find your suitcase quickly in a line up when you put a colorful ribbon or tag on it. That’s especially helpful when traveling with a family or group.
11. Pack an Extra Empty Bag in Your Suitcase
Concerned about going over the luggage weight limit?
Pack an extra tote bag in your luggage and you can quickly make an adjustment and avoid over-limit fees. The tote bag can also be really useful for day trips or carrying items to the pool or beach.
12. Make Sure That You Have Purchased Travel Insurance Ahead of Time
Unfortunately, travel doesn’t always go as planned. You can avoid a lot of stress and additional expenses by protecting yourself with travel insurance that covers flight delays.
What happens if your plane is delayed for bad weather?
Depending on the weather, how many other planes are available, etc, there is a good chance that you might be stuck at the airport. Delays and flight cancellations can prolong your trip and really mess up your perfect trip.
I would know because my boys and I experienced this while traveling during Spring Break. What was supposed to be an easy connecting flight turned into a multi-day disaster because of severe weather that impacted multiple airports and flights.
We not only lost time at our destination but we were also stuck at the airport. Our new flight continued to be rescheduled and then later canceled throughout the day.
Does the airline have to pay for your meals or hotel when your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather?
When your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather you are not entitled to anything from the airline …except a seat on the next available flight…which may be hard to find if multiple flights have been delayed or canceled.
And in our case, we learned that every hotel within a 20-mile radius was booked. We were on our own and it was on our time including meals. hotel, and the ride shares to and from the hotel.
How Allianz Can Reduce Your Travel Stress With SmartBenefits
What are SmartBenefits?
Allianz Global Assistance is one of the first travel insurance providers to offer proactive claim payments for flight delays. They launched SmartBenefits in July 2018. They are included with their enhanced plans available for any trips booked through their travel agency partners.
By detecting delays and automating claims, their goal was to make it faster and easier for customers to get paid after a common travel disruption. They are rethinking how travel insurance works, making it more proactive in protecting travelers soon after their plans are impacted by a loss or delay.
Proprietary technology and new automated claims capabilities enable Allianz Travel Insurance customers enrolled in SmartBenefits to receive proactive claim payments within minutes of a qualifying flight delay. Also, their most popular plans include a new fixed-amount payment option that allows travelers to file other travel delays and baggage delay claims with no receipts.
How Do SmartBenefits From Allianz Travel Insurance Work?
Proactive Payments for Flight Delay
By actively monitoring customers’ flights for qualifying delays of three to five hours (depending on the policy benefit) Allianz automatically files a claim for the customer and offers three convenient payment options.
Customers can typically receive fixed payments of $100 per person impacted by the delay on their debit card within minutes of entering payment details. Direct deposit payments can be available in as little as 24-48 hours.
Alternatively, customers can automatically receive a check in the mail without even lifting a finger.
They’ve made claims for travel and bag delays easier by giving customers the option to receive a faster, fixed-amount payment for their inconvenience, without the effort of uploading receipts.
A complete claim is filed online or through the TravelSmart™ app by entering basic data points to verify coverage eligibility (e.g., proof of loss or delay).
The customer is then notified of their claim approval status typically within seven days and may receive $100 per person impacted by the delay. Customers who provide receipts may qualify for a higher daily amount of reimbursement.
You can’t predict the unexpected but you can plan for it.
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