This summer, everyone from airlines to hotels are anxiously awaiting the long-anticipated rebound of international travel.
But even as travelers and the tourism industry prepare for a great summer holiday, global events will impact this travel season as things like the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine are still impacting staffing, fuel costs and supply chains worldwide.
If you're planning to hit the road this summer, here are 6 things to keep in mind as they will impact your travels — no matter what passport you hold or where you plan to visit.
Arrive early for your flight
Around the world, security and customs organizations are facing a staffing crisis. Many staff members moved on to other jobs at the height of the pandemic when travel was virtually frozen, and now they're racing to rehire in order to keep up with the demand.
That rehiring and subsequent training doesn't happen overnight. From Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom to Toronto's Pearson International Airport in Canada, we've seen long waits for security and customs.
To make sure you don't miss your flight, you need to get to the airport well in advance and, if you have a layover, it might not be prudent to leave security unless you have plenty of time to go back through lengthy security lines.
Budget for higher food prices and airfare
The war in Ukraine has impacted the food supply worldwide, but especially in Europe. Just this week, the Bank of England's governor told MPs to expect "apocalyptic global food-price rises sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine."
In addition to impacting the supply of food, rising gasoline costs will also impact the delivery of it.
Expect that no matter where you're traveling in the world, restaurants will need to pass those cost increases on to consumers. Keep that in mind when making your travel budget.
Along with increased demand, the rising cost of jet fuel will impact how much you pay for your plane ticket. In April, the United States saw an 18% increase in airfare month over month. Plan in advance or consider postponing your trip until after the peak summer season.
Expect reduced or changed amenities due to staffing shortages
Worldwide, countries are dealing with staffing shortages. When the pandemic hit the hospitality and tourism industry, a lot of workers left those industries for other jobs.
Many of them never returned. Now worldwide hotels and airlines are struggling to find workers.
As a result, some places have reduced amenities and capacity to not overwhelm their staff. At hotels, you may see reduced hours and services like house cleaning skipping days in-between room refreshes.
Check transit options
In Ireland, they’re facing a shortage of taxi drivers and Uber isn't really a thing there. In the United States, the lack of drivers can mean long waits for rideshares like Uber or Lyft and in some places, there’s still a shortage of rental cars.
Whether you planning to travel by train, car or ferry, don't wing it. Make sure to research your connecting transit. In some cases, you may want to make a reservation in advance. Also, make sure you know if your destination requires a mask on public transit (or just keep one in your pocket or travel bag just in case).
COVID-19 can still derail your travel
While the number of cases has dropped making it possible for countries to roll back travel restrictions, keep in mind the pandemic is still ongoing and there's still a lot of uncertainty associated with it.
Make sure you research entry requirements (which may be different than your own). Bring masks. Consider packing a home COVID-19 rapid test. Have a plan of what you will do if you need to quarantine.
To give yourself a little peace of mind, also consider buying travel insurance that does not exclude COVID-19 for coverage. Look for policies that allow you to "cancel for any reason" as well as "trip interruption for any reason," which can be helpful if you have multiple destinations on your itinerary.
Travel has rebounded so expect that when you travel this summer there will be a crowd of other people doing the exact same thing.
Since it's been a while since all of us have hit the road, a reminder that when you travel, be flexible and patient with other people. Crowds of travelers, increased prices, and reduced staffing combined with weather delays and canceled flights can create a stressful environment for travelers.
If you find yourself in this sort of situation, take a deep breath and work to de-escalate the situation.