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How to avoid flight planning fails for your next cruise

 

Success! Your cruise is booked and you're already planning your vacation wardrobe. But how are you going to get to the port?

Make sure to book your travel without running into any of the common flight planning failures. Follow these tips for smooth sailing:

 

Choose a flexible flight plan

There are two convincing reasons to book air travel directly through the cruise line: convenience and savings. These air packages are likely the cheapest option going, but they don't always let you choose your itinerary. Plus, the cruise line may not confirm the booking until a month or two before the ship is set to embark. If you're concerned that you won't like what the cruise line chooses for you, consider paying the extra fee to have a flexible plan.

Alternatively, you may want to book your flights independently. While you probably won't get as stellar of a deal on the ticket price, you'll have control over picking the travel path, flight times, airports, airlines and seating assignments. Plus, you can purchase tickets as soon as you book the cruise for the peace of mind that all your travel plans are set well in advance.

 

Give yourself plenty of time between connections

Missed flight connections are one of the most common flight planning failures for cruise goers. It can even be an issue when booking air travel directly through the cruise line, which is more reason to choose the flexible plan or book independently.

If you have a domestic connection, try to leave at least an hour of room between flights. Double that for international connections, especially as some airports will require you to go through security and border patrol before making your way to the connecting gate.

If you can't avoid a tight connection, save yourself time with a few flying hacks, such as:

  • Use the restroom on the plane before landing so you don't have to go in the airport.
  • Choose a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible.
  • If you have a physical ailment, book assistance with the airline before flying.
  • Book every flight with the same airline, or at least those located in the same terminal, to ensure a shorter distance between gates.

Get to the port early

Avoid the palava of missed connections altogether by planning to arrive in the port a day or two early. That way, if there any flight delays or cancelations, you have plenty of time to make another flight. Plus, most ports are beautiful oceanside cities that are worth exploring, so why not extend your vacation by a few days?