When you travel for pleasure, you probably plan your travel arrangements as far in advance as possible. Rates are lower, schedules are more accessible and hotel rooms are more plentiful. Plus, you may get discounts for booking early.
But what happens when you’re obliged to jump on a plane at the drop of a hat? Major family life events have a way of happening when you least expect them. If you find yourself having to make rush travel arrangements, here are a few tips to help you deal with the stress and avoid some major mistakes and fees.
• Getting a rush passport. If you have to travel internationally, you’ll need a valid passport. Normal processing can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Mark your application “EXPEDITE” and you’ll pay $60 extra and can still expect to wait 2 to 3 weeks for its return. There are several online sites that offer 24-hour passport processing, with additional service fees. You’ll have to provide proof of your travel itinerary to access these 24-hour services.
• Accessing fast cash. For emergency travel spending, you may have to rely on credit cards or even a pay advance. In lieu of carrying cash or traveler’s checks, consider getting a prepaid Visa card that carries purchase protection and security benefits.
• Bereavement fares. Airlines offer reduced fares when an immediate family member dies, or death is imminent. You’ll have to provide some documentation and call the airline directly – bereavement fares usually aren’t available over a ticketing website.