No matter where you are in the world tonight, you know that traveling right now pretty much sucks. And let’s be honest, I can’t really write a travel blog without covering some of the topics that will follow.
Between new edicts (political), protests, and changes in policy (airlines), there is so much to research and keep up with. This can make it so easy to just say screw it and stay home, or, for those contrarians, want to get out in the world to witness the change.
I am not going to argue one way or the other here – I have plenty of viewpoints on each of the matters listed but that’s not the point of this blog (I may be willing to chime in if anyone wants to know in the comment section). Instead, I’m going to talk about what has changed, what you may want to look further into, and how you should plan around it all.
1. Short term (which could become long term) travel and immigration ban into the United States.
This was an executive order that’s popped up in the past week which is wrecking plans for travelers, green card holders, residents, and families of all the above who are traveling from one of the ‘banned’ countries. It’s actually crazy the amount this has effected travel around the world and it’s only been a few days. If you or your family has been effective – or you are one of the many who want to get involved due to political or civil rights motivations – really do your research. It’s important to know all your rights, the rights of those detained, the numbers of multiple protection agencies (many groups and lawyers are currently working pro-bono). Of course, this has spread to other travel related delays which I will cover in a few points.
2. Airlines that will not fly into certain states because of their political standing.
States like California have banned state-funded travel to states that have instituted anti-LGBT+ laws. Basically, this can reduce the number of flights heading to these states which may affect ticket prices. These bans cross airlines and were set in place to decrease travel and tourism revenues of the states in the hope that economic fallout will send a message about equal rights. I do not know how this has worked out, but seeing as states have done this, there is some possibility (currently theoretical) of countries around the world looking at similar bans for the US (though really unlikely). There are plenty of petitions around the world asking their governments to ban specific people traveling into their countries.
3. Nation-wide airport protests.
We’re bouncing back to the bans. In the wake of the executive order this week, huge crowds have gathered at airports nation-wide protesting the ban and trying to help the refugees that have been trapped within the airports. Whether you support the protesters or not, you should definitely be aware of the slow down happening if you need to use the airports. Give yourself longer time frame to get to the airport and through security. Security may be growing as lawyers and other civil workers move through security to do what they can closer to those detained, while getting through the protest and into the security line can also take longer. Pre-print or load your ticket onto your phone so you have less to deal with when checking your bag and have everything ready when you go through security – we’ve talked about all the mishaps that can happen many times.
4. Taxi-cab (and others) boycott airports
In a similar vein, cab drivers – as many of them are immigrants or the children of immigrants – have boycotted picking up and dropping off at airports. This maybe a short term, reoccurring, or long-haul boycott – only time will tell. While some cab-alternatives are more than willing to get you to the airport, others are standing with the cab companies (even pledging thousands of dollars to help finance civil liberties groups). My only political statement here is remember that your purchasing power is political, so who you choose to spend your money with is who you are siding with in these kinds of fights – it really is as simple as that. Again, the tip here is all about giving yourself time and planning ahead, also keep an eye out on what is happening so you can change your travel plans if need be.
5. Baggage policy changes
Now we’ll step away from politics. Before the US changed hands, multiple airlines (you should research this as the trend is growing) have started charging for carry-on items for economy passengers – carrying on a bag can now cost you $25 dollars, plus a $25 at-gate checking fee (That’s a $50 charge guys). This doesn’t count for personal items, ie a purse or bag that first under your seat but anything that has to go in an overhead bin will be charged these fees. So, now you’ll have to debate costs: stay economy and pay fees (plus regular bag check fees) while packing smart; or move to a more expensive ticket and get the perks including carry-on luggage, more space, food (in some cases), and in-airport luxuries (ie lounges).Again, this is across multiple airlines and seems to be expanding so research, research, research!
So that’s it. The world is changing fast and, no matter where you are, where you are going, or what side of the battle lines you may fall on, you will inevitably feel the ripples of those changes. Be prepared and stay safe out there.
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.