Tips for Travelers

With the holidays fast approaching and changing rules with respect to travel, you may have questions or concerns about your next trip. Keep in mind the following suggestions as you plan your upcoming travels:

Planning and Packing:

Consider using a travel agent – Travel agents can be an invaluable resource, and may also be able to assist you in the event you encounter problems during your trip.

Paper vs. electronic ticket – When flying, choosing a paper ticket over an electronic or “paperless” ticket may speed up your security check, and can assist in securing alternate travel plans in the event your flight is delayed, diverted, or canceled.

Is travel insurance right for you? – Coverage for trip cancellation or interruption is widely available for certain circumstances like illnesses and weather-related problems. These policies may also cover medical expenses and lost baggage. However, travel insurance policies vary -read the exclusions before you buy to see if they provide the coverage you need.

Packing smart – Pack light and take only what you really need for your trip. If you are flying, you and your bags may be subject to search. If you have any questions or concerns about bringing along particular items, it’s best to check with your travel provider in advance.

Getting There:

Remember to leave early – If you’re traveling by plane or another type of common carrier, new rules on parking, curbside baggage checking and passenger check-in mean that you’ll need to allow plenty of time to get through waiting areas and to your transportation.

Don’t forget your ID – Photo identification is now required for many forms of travel and Government-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses or passports, are the best. Keep them handy and remember that you may need more than one form of identification.

Know your itinerary – Keep your flight, bus, or train number handy along with departure and arrival times and phone numbers for your carrier in case you have questions or need to change your plans. There may be restrictions on changing plans, and fees are often involved. If you have a nonrefundable ticket but still need to change your plans, consider paying a rescheduling fee rather than canceling. You may have up to two years to complete your rescheduled travel.

Be aware of your rights – Airlines have specific duties when baggage is damaged or in the event of certain kinds of delays or cancellations. Don’t be afraid to ask for this information or to assert your rights.

If you want to file a complaint regarding a travel dispute or other consumer related problem, visit our website at or call the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s toll-free helpline number 1-800-441-2555.