Flight cancellationshigh gas prices and inflation have already ruined countless vacations this summer.
With no quick fix in sight and nearly 48 million Americans planning to travel at least 50 miles from home this Independence Day weekend, according to AAA, the holiday weekend might feel like a really long one in more ways than one. Setting expectations now and planning ahead can help soften the blow of spending more time and money on travel than expected months ago.
Here are five things travelers need to know before heading to the airport or hitting the road for July 4th and beyond.
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1. Arrive at the airport even earlier than usual
The Transportation Security Administration and airlines recommend that passengers arrive at the airports at least two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours in advance for scheduled international flights.
It takes even longer to navigate airports and go through security on holidays, but that’s especially true now that “revenge travelersare finally resuming trips they postponed during the pandemic. The TSA screened 2.45 million travelers last Friday. That’s the maximum for any day since February 2020, before COVID-19 brought leisure travel to a halt.
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2. Know the rights and benefits when flights are canceled or delayed
Travelers should check their flight status well before leaving for the airport. If their flight is canceled for any reason or “significantly delayed” and they choose not to take another flight, airline customers are entitled to a full refund according to the directives of the Ministry of Transport.
Some airlines may offer travelers staying with them meal vouchers or hotel stays, depending on the circumstances of the disruption, but they are not required to do so. reimburse incidental expenses.
Tickets purchased with a credit card may have benefits of travel protection integrated. Travelers should check with their credit card companies instead of assuming they have to bear all costs out of pocket.
Travel insurance also covers extra expenses due to cancellations and unforeseen delays, but it may be too late to buy last-minute coverage for that weekend.
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3. Pack essentials in your carry-on
When flights are delayed or luggage is lost, the last thing travelers need is to go without medication or even diapers and phone chargers. Essential Pack in hand luggage in case the wait at the airport lasts longer than expected.
4. Plan to spend more money, especially on gas
Gasoline prices may be down, but they’re still high. Tuesday’s national average was $4.88 per gallon regular unleaded, according to AAA. That’s less than the $4.97 average a week earlier, but significantly more than drivers paid over Memorial Day weekend, when the the national average was $4.60.
Just over 50% of respondents interviewed by travel planning site The Vacationer say gas prices will affect their July 4 travel plans. And gas prices are not the only ones to rise. Inflation affects almost everything in travel and elsewhere.
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5. Hit the road early
The roads will be busiest in the afternoons and evenings this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to AAA.
For the best and worst times to go on the 4th of July weekend, Click here.
4th of July weekend trip: Here are the best and worst times to go on a road trip
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The 4th of July weekend could get ugly. Here are 5 ways to prepare.