COVID was not kind to the travel and hospitality industry and as things open up and flights resume, the fallout, staff shortages and changing restrictions have many people extremely frustrated.
Simon Chen, CEO of Eight Black Airport Shuttle, is more than a seasoned traveller. As the owner of a shuttle service that works at the airport, he knows the challenges firsthand. Today he shares his top eight tips for surviving travel in this post-COVID world.
Chen’s number one tip is to exercise patience. The staff at airports, the shuttle drivers, the hotel operators and everyone else involved in the hospitality industry have a vested interest in you having a great trip.
The long lines, the delayed flights and the cancellations are far beyond the control of the boots-on-the-ground staff. So, when frustrations mount, keep in mind that those serving you are doing their best against massive odds.
2. Turn it into an adventure
There are many things you can do to help yourself; at the top of the list is turning the travel experience into an adventure.
A delay? Well, that means you can explore the restaurants or gift shops. If the delay is for several hours, put your belongings in a locker and go see the surrounding city. Chen urges travelers to change their mindset and have more a “go with it” attitude, using the setbacks to explore places and services they usually rush past instead.
3. Stay informed and be proactive
The regulations for COVID, which places are safe for travel and even weather advisories change frequently.
Chen’s advice here is to keep yourself informed. All the information you need is readily available online and on your smartphone. Knowing what documents or tests or weather gear you need before your trip is up to you, not the hospitality staff.
4. Pack light
Instead of hauling a big suitcase, Chen encourages travellers pack light.
Take a carry on. Buy toiletries when you land. Wash your clothes instead of packing extra ones. Use the hotel’s hair dryers instead of bringing your own. Baggage literally and physically slows you down, so enjoy your adventure with as little baggage as possible.
Chen’s tip for packing formal wear is to take the plastic sheets that come with your dry cleaning and fold your clothes around them. He says it’s a secret for crease-free clothing in your suitcase!
5. Go paperless
Your flight tickets, accommodation confirmations and more can all be handled virtually.
Carry a smartphone and go paperless. Use the apps that make your life easier.
6. Avoid major airports and fly direct
Chen likes the Denver airport’s efficiency and wishes more people would use the smaller, less busy airports like this one. He also flies direct wherever possible, removing the hassles of running for flights after a delayed landing mid-trip. If you have to make a connection, fly early. The earlier the flight, the less chance of delays.
7. Get to know the services ahead of time
Before you go you should have the following information in a file or on your phone:
- the location of the embassy (for international travel),
- the nearest hospital to your hotel,
- the approved shuttle services at the airport,
- if Uber operates in the area,
- details of public transit,
- eateries that cater to your special dining needs (for example, vegan, gf or vegetarian).
Where possible, pre-book your taxis and shuttles. Also get familiar with Google translate. It is your best friend in any country outside of your native language.
8. Pre-screening programs
Travel a lot? Check out programs like CLEAR®, NEXUS and Global Entry. These programs help you avoid long lineups and extra screening.
Chen hopes these eight tips will make your next journey enjoyable, wherever it leads.
Remember, life itself is an adventure, so don’t get bogged down in the details as the world adapts to its new reality.
When you need reliable shuttle service in Boulder County, rely on Eight Black Airport Shuttle. Chen and his team are here to get your next adventure on the road.