How to avoid holiday travel mishaps

December 9, 2010

With the holiday season mere days away, so to is the busiest travel season. And, while of course everyone hopes their trips go smoothly, there's always something that arises unexpectedly. Having been a concierge for over 10 years, I have seen everything! People who are lucky enough to travel with zero problems often don't think this advice applies to them. But, in my experience, especially if you're traveling around the holidays, you're bound to hit a bump in the road at some point and better to be prepared!)

1.Flight Cancellation: I always stress that you should check your flight status 24 hours before departure. If you find out once you're at the airport, beg an agent at the airport to book a flight on another airline. Or, have your credit card customer service representatives rebook your flight in addition to the airport agent. If in fact there are delays or inclement weather on the way and you're staying at a hotel, tell the front desk to please not give your room away if at all possible in case you need to return.

2. Traveling with Gifts: The exorbitant baggage fees airlines charge make traveling with gifts rather expensive. Instead of traveling with your holiday presents, send them ahead of time via FedEx or UPS to your family-with a note not to open yet!-or the hotel. Most hotels will hold these for free (as long as you are staying there of course!).

3. Lost Wallet: Probably the most terrifying and frustrating thing that can happen, especially when you're out of town! But, you're in luck if you're staying at a hotel because the concierge is there to help. I've found that most commonly people lose their wallets in cabs. First, make a police report and wait 6 hours before canceling your cards. You can even ask your concierge to call and report. Cab companies are actually quite honest, so let the security manager know at the hotel and he will run the camera to get the correct cab number. Sometimes the bell men know who they put in a cab as well. Just try not to panic!

4. Late to the Airport: Between saying your goodbyes and making sure your kids have everything packed, it's too easy to be late to the airport. Not to mention, the security lines are at their worst during the holiday season. If you're running super late and only have 30 minutes to get to the gate, tell a TSA agent that you have to catch your flight and they will most likely let you go to the front of the security line. You just have to speak up!

5. Lost Luggage: Perhaps one of the most common and frustrating problems! Try to relax as chances are it will come back shortly. But, in the mean time, if your hotel's concierge is up to speed, he or she works with a certain department store and you may be able to get quite a big discount. I have saved guests a lot of money because of a good associate at a department store's VIP personal shopping department.

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