Traveler Tips to Navigate the Record-Setting Travel Season Ahead

The 2024 summer is shaping up to be the busiest travel season in history. Not only is there expected to be a surge of leisure travelers, but business travel is also on the rise.

TSA has prepared for this elevated summer travel season and recently broke the record for the most people screened on a single day, screening nearly 3 million travelers. Additionally, hotel occupancy and rates are up for the second month in a row. Meanwhile, major events such as this summer’s Olympics in Paris, France are also contributing to larger crowds in certain regions throughout the world.

With travel demand increasing, what can seasoned business travelers do to avoid the congestion? Below we have compiled the top tips for travelers to ensure upcoming business trips feel like smooth sailing.  

Prepare Before You Go

Although proper planning is sound advice for any trip, it’s especially crucial during the busy summer travel season. When a traveler is prepared, there is less chance of any unwanted surprises.

Confirm that passports and other required documents are renewed and up to date. For added peace of mind, work with a trusted provider who can verify travel requirements for specific destinations on your behalf. At Direct Travel, we partner with CIBTvisas. Our clients have access to their portal, and their highly trained specialists assist with visa and passport solutions.

It is best practice to create a detailed itinerary with schedule details, flight information, hotel accommodations, and a list of contacts. The itinerary can also include a packing checklist, especially if a trip requires any unusual items. To ensure equipment stays fully operational, download a map of the destination for use offline, and don't forget to bring a backup charger. 

Book An Early Morning Flight

Choosing the first flight of the day can be the best way to avoid a delay. The first flight has a major impact on the airline’s schedule, and it isn’t dependent on the plane before it.

Early flights are also less likely to be affected by environmental (i.e. heat-related) delays, which is especially important during the sweltering summer months. If travelers are headed to warmer or humid climates in the coming weeks, booking morning flights may prove to be even more beneficial.

Ditch the Checked Bag

When every second counts at the airport, avoid any additional steps where something could be delayed or go wrong. This includes waiting at baggage claim for a checked bag (or worse, waiting for a bag that didn’t make it to the destination.) The ideal solution for business travelers is to stick with a carry-on whenever possible.

Bonus tip: Include a tracking device like an AirTag in every bag, even carry-on luggage. This is an additional safety measure to ensure belongings stay accounted for at all times.

Enroll In Traveler Programs

Trusted traveler programs are an increasingly popular way to streamline the travel experience at U.S. airports, as well as when crossing international borders. Here is a quick breakdown of the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Programs:

  • TSA PreCheck provides streamlined security screening at U.S. airports. (Nearly 100 airlines now participate in TSA PreCheck, and it is currently available at over 200 airports.)
  • CLEAR accelerates traveler identification through iris or fingerprint scans. CLEAR recently expanded into seven new airports.
  • Global Entry streamlines the international arrival process, and is ideal for those who travel overseas. (Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck.)
  • NEXUS expedites the entry and exit process between the U.S. and Canada, and SENTRI expedites entry into the U.S. from Mexico.

These programs may help significantly decrease the time spent in airport security lines – an especially attractive option for business travelers who find themselves flying on a regular basis.

Consider Alternatives to Air

Airports are expected to remain very crowded all summer. If an upcoming trip is regional, consider traveling by rail or car. In fact, the rental car industry is recovering and the supply chain disruptions that previously affected vehicle availability are leveling out. Although demand for rental cars will still be high, expect an easier experience compared to recent years.

Enlist the Help of Your TMC

It can feel daunting to approach a busy summer of travel without assistance. Instead of managing it alone, enlist the help of your travel management company for quick support when you need it most. A trusted TMC partner can yield further benefits for both your business and its travelers.

At Direct Travel, we’re in pursuit of #ThePerfectTrip. If you’re eager for more information about how we can help simplify your business travel this summer and beyond, contact our team to get started.