Now that the new year is upon us and thoughts of cruising and travel are dancing in our heads, we're here with some tried-and-true tips to make things go smoother for you in 2022. Happy travels!
1. Book your trip with a travel agent
Trying to do it yourself can be daunting. Here's an article that explains the benefits of using an agent.
2. Get to the airport early
This is especially true these days. Getting to the airport with time to spare will help you avoid delays, get through TSA, take COVID-19 rests and hanle other unforeseeable problems. Go ahead, make it easier on yourself.
3. Enroll in TSA Pre
Take the hassle out of long security lines by enrolling in TSA Preferred Traveler and Global Entry. It was the best money I ever spent: TSA costs $85 for a five-year enrollment. Once enrolled, you don’t have to remove your shoes, hat, coat or bottles and you usually breeze through the line. You can also sign up for Clear, which costs $179 a year and expedites your trip through a separate security line.
4. Do your homework
If you booked a cruise or tour, make sure you Google the destinations you’ll be visiting. Learning about an area can help you decide what excursions you might want to book. Or if you want to go it alone.
5. Brush up on foreign languages
Learn the language when visiting a foreign country. It can ease the way. You can learn greetings, how to say thank you, how to order menu items and more. Go to a site such as Babbel for a free trial.
6. Survey your carry-on items
Make a check list of important items to pack in your carry on such as face masks, anti-bacterials, passport, medications, extra toothbrush, hand wipes, eyeglasses, mobile devices, camera and emergency clothing in case your luggage gets lost.
7. Resolve to be patient and polite
Travel in these times is stressful enough, so try to be pleasant, especially on flights. Things can go wrong. Don’t blame airline attendants for delays — it’s not their fault. You do catch more flies with honey.
8. Practice good etiquette
Make sure you behave properly and practice good etiquette on airplanes, ships and during tours. Take your place in line. Don’t save lounges on the ship’s deck if you’re not there. Be on time for ship shows and excursions. Don't do personal grooming in public spaces.
9. Leave a generous tip
Unless part of the price or fare, always tip those who serve you such as tour guides, bus drivers, stateroom attendants, waiters in restaurants.
10. Take the plunge
Go ahead, take that first cruise. Don't procrastinate any longer. Life is short and cruises are stress relievers. Recent reports suggest that even in rare instances where cruise passengers get infected by COVID-19, the symptoms are mild. Cruise lines have been rigorous about testing and sanitation, making ships safer than other vacation choices such as hotels.
11. Consider a multi-generational cruise
Plan a multi-generational vacation to catch up with relatives and spend quality time with them. Life is short ... a cliche but oh, so true.
12. Spoil yourself
Take time for yourself to get a spa treatment, manicure, pedicure, new hair style or other bodily indulgence. Cruise ships have top spas and salons, so make use of them.
13. Stay healthy
Keep up your exercise routine and healthy eating habits even when on a ship or tour. Walk, swim, go to the ship or hotel gym ... but just do it. Sure try different foods and even desserts but do it in moderation.
14. Consider splurging
Splurge on first class upgrades or fares. Believe me, it's often worth it — life's too short to be cramped and uncomfortable. It's especially smart (if pricey) to go business class or first class on long hauls.
Speaking of splurging, go for that top suite or as close to the top as you budget allows. There's nothing like living large.
16. Give up smoking
Puffing is frowned upon these days. No other explanation needed.
17. Take a travel pillow
Take a pillow with you if you're going on a long flight and flying coach. It will make economy seating more comfortable.
18. Keep a positive attitude
Keep a positive attitude no matter what unforeseen problem arises such as flight delays, etc.
19. Pack light
Pack light so you can maneuver easier. You will usually need only half of what you think you do.
20. Get vaccinated and boosted
Most importantly, get fully vaccinated against COVID because you will need proof of vaccination before you're allowed to board a ship and enter certain destinations overseas, plus Hawaii, where you either need to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to starting your trip or be fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine.