25 Jan Don’t Get Trapped by Travel Delays!
Part 1: How to avoid business travel delays
For most of us east of the Mississippi River, there’s a pile of snow on the ground right now. Are you going insane with cabin fever or braving the elements for corporate travel? If you can’t stay tucked away in your hotel room, please keep up with weather and road conditions in your local area before leaving. Winter weather can spell danger for travelers! After you’ve made your winter safety plan, your next question will how you’ll avoid bad weather delays. First, how are you traveling?
If you’re driving: If you’re hitting the road, please don’t panic at the first sight of snow. Here’s how to make the best time:
- Help your neighbors — Traffic held up because of one poor soul with spinning tires? Assuming the wind chills aren’t subzero and you’re dressed in plenty layers, why don’t you get out of your car and help him/her push the vehicle? I’ve been in too many holdups with a long line of stalled cars that could have all been prevented by the kindness of a stranger.
- Avoid construction at all costs — The Waze app helps you navigate while providing up to date info on heaviest traffic sites, police traps, and construction–which is especially helpful when road conditions are already slowing you down.
- Dial 511 –– If you’re not as keen on relying on your mobile device, some states offer traffic information when you dial these three magic numbers.
- Keep your tank full — It’s hard to believe how many people are comfortable with leaving home on less than a quarter tank of gas, even when bad weather strikes. It’s catastrophic enough to wait in a long line of taillights; it’s worse to also become stranded. If you’re running out of time when winter driving, don’t drive around shopping for the cheapest gas when you’re already running out. Just pull over at the closest gas station and put ten dollars into your tank.
If you’re flying: CNN Travel estimates that 80% of flights are punctual, but that’s not good enough! Here’s how to hack the system so you’re on time, every time.
- Plan the best departure time — According to Business Insider, the early bird catches the plane: flights scheduled between 6 and 10 am generally have delays of ten minutes or less. The best day is crucial, too. If possible, choose Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays for taking off.
- Be choosy about your airport — Certain airports notoriously cause the most delays, like Newark, LaGuardia, and O’Hare. Keep an open mind about other options in the city, like smaller, “spoke” centers. More on that below.
- Beware the hub — The hub and spoke model uses a system where local airlines offer flights to a centralized airport hat carries passengers to other spokes or international destinations. Obviously, airports that serve as hubs will likely catch more flights than their smaller counterparts. International travelers are luckiest during delays because airlines give them priority in a pinch, especially since airline hubs cater to travelers that have the furthest to go. In short, prepare for backed up flights unapologetically messing with your travel plans.
- Get TripTracker or Gate Guru — Kind of like the Waze of airlines, these free apps offer detailed flight information to take the guesswork out of your flight plan so you can know which flights will leave late, and how late. Gate Guru also lets you know what gate amenities you could get.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and learn what you should do if you get snowed into your hotel room.