I have a major international trip coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks. Today is November 1st and it’s the deadline that I set for myself to get the trip organized. The cruise and flights were booked months ago. In short, the fun part of the trip planning was done long ago, and now I must go through my checklist and make sure that all reservations and plans are in order. When I leave for the trip, I will have a sheaf of papers in my day pack whose pages I will use and discard in chronological order. I also have the identical information in files that I send to my email.
Here’s what will be in my stack of papers for this trip:
- Airport parking coupon and/or parking reservation.
- Airline boarding pass(es) for the departing trip.
- Information about what to do at the connecting airport(s).
- Information on how to get to our first hotel via public transportation.
- Printout of confirmation of first hotel reservation
- What to do on our first morning there, and how to get to the ship.
- Boarding documents for cruise.
- Information about what to do at the different ports.
- Reservation for the hotel post-cruise.
- Tourist information about what to do in Venice post-cruise.
- Printout of post-cruise hotel reservation and how to get there on public transportation.
- Confirmation number for the flight home.
I can print off anything I need for airport parking the day before we leave. The first thing I need to do is check my flights and make sure that nothing has changed.
I booked award tickets on the Delta website using SkyMiles obtained from spend on the SunTrust debit card (which I’ve since cancelled.) I found availability for two of us in coach roundtrip from Atlanta to Venice for 120,000 SkyMiles for both tickets. The schedules are not the greatest, but I had the miles and could use them on the dates that I needed.
The transatlantic portion of our flights will be on Delta, but the flights in Europe will be on KLM and Air France. I can check our Delta flights and seating assignments on the Delta website, but I need to check our seats and tickets on the other carriers. If I can’t get the confirmation numbers of my tickets on the connecting airlines, I WILL CALL and make sure that everything is Good To Go and that I have a confirmed ticket on these flights.
It is imperative that you check your reservations on connecting airlines, especially if you have booked a ticket on any Star Alliance airline via the United website. I’m not sure where the problem lies, but sometimes there is a communications breakdown between United and its partner airlines, and reservations get “lost.” It would be frustrating to show up at the airport somewhere in Europe, and have the people at the desk tell you that they can’t find your reservation. Checking a few weeks out, like I am doing now, and then a day or two before your flight, is a good idea to avoid problems.