Once you’ve gone to all the trouble to plan a trip, your plans should remain inviolable. But many variables can throw a vacation into turmoil, including unexpected flight changes, double-booked hotel rooms and botched reservations for trains, ferries and rental cars. Protect against disaster by confirming travel arrangements several days before leaving and carrying confirmations with you when you travel.
a) Sign up, when booking airline tickets, to have the airline phone, text or e-mail you when there are flight changes, delays or gate switches. These can arise quickly. A text alert can spare you a harrowing chase through the airport to find your flight.
b) Make a checklist, when you book your tickets, of what you need to know about the airline’s baggage policy, identification requirements and forbidden items. Check these rules again before you finish packing to see if the airline made any changes.
c) Verify lodging arrangements, via e-mail when possible, a day or two before departure. Make sure that the room you want will be available, with the correct number of beds, and verify the check-in and check-out times. Print out or carry a copy of the e-mail with you on your mobile device. If you rely on your mobile device, make sure it works where you are going; many mobile devices do not work abroad. Many, but not all hotels have Internet service. If necessary, you can use Internet kiosks while travelling in cities, but keyboards are different in foreign countries and Internet access may be more of a hassle than carrying paper confirmations in your luggage.
d) Check in with any tours you’ve booked a day or two before the tour to make sure that the arrangements are still in place.
e) Verify and print copies of rental car agreements and train and boat reservations. Before you leave, make sure that you have all documentation required by a rental car provider and that you’ve agreed about insurance and other fees.