Anyone who has ever travelled has some horror story about it. From long delays, cancelled flights, lost luggage, and the like; as fun as vacationing is travelling can oftentimes be a total nightmare! On this past trip, so many things went wrong for everyone who was travelling to the wedding! I figured I would share some small tips that I learned. (Side note – this adorable sweatshirt is from Old Navy! Talk about the PERFECT travel outfit! Find it here!)
It all started with the weather! Typically, travelling in March you are mostly in the clear for large snowstorms, however, this March was not the case. The week before rumblings began of an epic snowstorm heading to New England; I prayed and begged others to pray for this storm not to happen. The last thing I wanted was the five day trip to be shortened or worse cancelled, and miss the wedding all together. When it came to the weekend before, many of the guests going to the wedding decided to start making arrangements to go earlier. So, the calling began.
Tip 1: Just Keep Calling!
We flew with Delta, and honestly they could not have been better! Shout out to them (and their in-flight tvs with free movies)! My mom decided Saturday afternoon, after hearing that my aunt and uncle had pushed up their flight, to see what she could do about us taking an earlier flight. There was a weather advisory already out for Tuesday and Wednesday, and when she called there was a 2 hour wait! You are able to leave a message to hold the place in line and they will call you back. In the end she called 3 times! Each time she got a different response, so just keep calling until you get the answer you want!
Tip 2: Do Your Own Research
Our original flight was from Boston to JFK, then to St. Thomas. So, when you call the airline, this is the flight path they are looking to reschedule you on, and the only path they will likely say they won’t charge you for. My mom (the former travel agent!) looked online for other flight options for us, and when she spoke to them, told them of other flights we could take. We lucked out because we are located near two airports, but even checking different layover paths could give you more options in rescheduling. She found a flight from Providence to Atlanta on Sunday night and then a connection from Atlanta to St. Thomas the following morning. The first person wanted to charge us $1,000 to do this, nope try again. The second person said $1,000 per person, oh hell no! The last person, after a long wait and explaining the situation, booked us on this flight free of charge!
Tip 3: Pack a Carry-on
Many people say this, but packing at least one night’s worth of clothes in a carry on is a lifesaver! We checked our luggage straight through to St. Thomas so for one night we only had what was in our carry-ons. Needless to say, I was the only one with the necessities! My carry-on must haves: underwear, change of clothes, pjs, flip flips (or another pair of shoes), scarf, sweatshirt (airports are cold!), toothbrush, contacts/glasses, sunglasses, kindle/book, earphones, and a swimsuit (if you’re going somewhere warm!). The added bonus of this is if your luggage is lost you have something to tie you over until it is returned!
My luggage in this picture I found at TJ Maxx for $40! The carry-on I borrowed from a friend, but it is a Jessica Simpson bag also from TJ Maxx!
Tip 3: If they lose your luggage…hello, shopping spree!
As luck would have it, the groom’s luggage was lost on the trip. I told you my family experienced every travel hiccup on this trip! He actually kept it a secret until it was finally returned, so that everyone would not have been freaking out about it! Needless to say, he got some pretty nice clothes out of the deal! The airline will reimburse for what you buy, so might as well find some nice new things and make the best out of a bad situation.
Tip 4: Read the fine print and reviews when booking an Airbnb.
For our (surprise) two extra nights we booked an Airbnb instead of a hotel. This actually worked out perfectly because we were able to book it the night before we were to arrive. It was on the other side of the island (from where the hotel was) in a small resort. The views were breathtaking! It had a wraparound porch with 365 degree views. It was a short (but very steep!) walk from the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Resort and its wonderful private beach. We had a couple lunches and cocktails at the restaurant, too! The downside was that the bed situation was a little misleading. It was a king sized bed and a pull out couch with an air mattress. Not totally comfortable for four people, but we made it work. My brother is an Airbnb pro, and his tip is to look for places with 4-5 stars and multiple (like more than 10) reviews. Usually, you can’t go wrong with those. Also, keep in mind your location and transportation. We were lucky because my aunt and uncle rented a van and drove us everywhere, but if not we would have been pretty stuck without a car.
Tip 5: Relax and it will all work out in the end.
As stressful as the rebooking, lost luggage, flight delays, and other arrangements were, in the end the trip was so wonderful those moments seem inconsequential compared to the fun we had. When things happen, the best you can do is just roll with it and know you’ll have a good story to tell. And, hey, you could end up with a few extra nights in paradise…
(Our view from the Airbnb…I told you it was amazing!)