The busiest travel days of the year are upon us. Aviation trade group Airlines 4 America, forecasts some 24 million people will fly during the Thanksgiving holidays, with planes reaching 90 percent capacity on the busiest days: today, Sunday, and Monday. Here, eight strategies for getting through the terminal without losing your patience—or your mind.
Travelers across the country had their plans disrupted by last week’s Super Storm Sandy. From being stranded in a powerless New York City, to getting stuck in airports far away from home, their plights yielded some lessons on how to prepare for disaster and what to do when it strikes. And travelers take note, these tips may be useful sooner than expected; a nor'easter is expected to hit the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic this week.
• Use an excellent travel agent, especially if your trip is particularly complicated or important. (See Travel + Leisure’s favorite agents here.) These travel experts can save you time, headaches, and heartache by taking care of all the rerouting and rebooking on your behalf.
Q: What do I do if I lose my passport in a foreign country? —Amy Lin, Bridgewater, N.J.
A: Start by contacting the closest U.S. consulate or embassy to report your lost passport and have it invalidated to prevent identity theft. Ask what time the office opens, then visit first thing in the morning to submit forms DS-11 and DS-64 (available at travel.state.gov) and a copy of your outbound itinerary. If your passport was your only form of documentation, an interview may be necessary to confirm your identity. After paying a $135 fee and a short wait, you’ll be issued either a new passport that is good for 10 years or a temporary one that expires after three months, which should get you home without completely ruining your vacation.
Q: Is it out of the question to travel to the Caribbean in October?
A: While the odds of a hurricane in the region increase in the fall, the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are hit much less frequently. To be extra safe, T+L A-List agent Scott Kertes suggests a cruise, since ships can steer away from inclement weather. And it doesn’t hurt to buy some travel insurance before packing your bags.
If you want to make absolutely sure that your tip is distributed evenly, follow this rule of thumb: leave $5 to $10 for each day in an envelope at the front desk. Note your room number and dates of stay on the envelope, and that you’d like it divided among all your housekeepers.
Have a travel dilemma? The trip doctor is in. Send your question to Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Travel + Leisure's news editor, I've spent nearly a decade working behind the scenes to deliver the strategies you need to make the most of your travels. Now it's time to speak with readers directly. In my new role as T+L's Trip Doctor, I'm here to answer your most pressing travel dilemmas, from how to save money in a time of rising airfares to what apps and websites you really need to make your life easier.
Tomorrow afternoon, in honor of our upcoming June hotels issue, I'll be hosting a live Facebook chat to tackle your thorniest hotel questions—just in time for your summer getaways. Want to know when to book a hotel room online to get the best rate? Curious about which guest-rewards programs give you the most bang for your buck? Want to know the tricks for getting a room upgrade, or how (once and for all) to tip your housekeeper? Log onto Facebook.com/TravelandLeisure tomorrow, April 24, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET to send your questions my way. And look for our new Trip Doctor column in Travel + Leisure's June issue.
P.S. If you can't make the chat, you can always reach me at TripDoctor@aexp.com and by following @afarles on Twitter.
Travel + Leisure is now accepting applications for our annual Global Vision Awards. Do you know of a travel company or organization that's changing the world for the better—preserving cultural heritage, saving environments, or giving back to the communities we travel through? Please drop us an email at email@example.com or encourage a representative to fill out this year's application, available here (travel companies) and here (other organizations), and return it to us by April 6, 2012.
Long after the meal is eaten, the china remains. Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates (Artisan Books; $35) by Shax Riegler, a former Travel + Leisure editor, is a revealing portfolio of porcelain spanning centuries and continents.
What happened when the quintessentially Parisian photographer Brassaï turned his lens on New York and New Orleans? Brassaï in America 1957 (Flammarion; $49.95), an album of 150 photos (some unpublished) that shows the beauty and eccentricities of these cities—and the spell they continue to cast.
The colorful, annotated paintings collected in Paula Scher MAPS (Princeton Architectural Press; $50) offer a world informed by the graphic designer’s poignant and incisive commentary.
With more than 3,000 paintings from the 13th to the 19th century, the Louvre’s collection of European art is unparalleled. Each and every work is reproduced in The Louvre: All the Paintings (Black Dog & Leventhal; $75).
Jean Govoni Salvadore, a former public relations executive with TWA and Italy’s Villa d’Este, has been something of a Zelig in postwar Europe. Her photo-illustrated memoir, My Dolce Vita (Glitterati Incorporated; $30), recounts six decades of shoulders rubbed during her travels around the globe.