holiday weekend

What to Know Before Traveling for 4th of July Weekend

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We're just days away from the 4th of July weekend and millions of Americans plan on traveling.

For those flying, we've been sharing stories of travelers dealing with delays and cancelations across the country. Since Memorial Day, there has been more than 20,000 flights canceled and 173,000 flights delayed.

Airlines are blaming high demand, unpredictable weather and a shortage of pilots and flight attendants.

You have rights as a customer when your flight is canceled or delayed, but do you know what those rights are? To hear more, we talked to travel TikToker and airline employee Natalie Houston (you can find her @adventuresofmattandnat on TikTok.)

As you prepare for traveling this holiday weekend and beyond, here are some tips from a travel agent about what you should know.

It's all about being prepared. One travel agent we spoke with said the more prepared you are, the more enjoyable the experience will be. But no matter how prepared you are, you may face delays and cancelations.

"The more prepared you are for that scenario, the less traumatic it will be in the airport. So you know, pack lots of snacks, make sure you have a good book, or you know, a series downloaded. If you have kids, make sure they have lots of things to do in case they're at the airport,” said Largay Travel President & Co-owner Amanda Klimak.

Klimak is the co-owner of Largay Travel out of Waterbury. She also recommends that if you have the option to carry-on your bag, do so and pack essentials like snacks and medications toward the top of the bag so you don't have to dig through your entire bag.

AAA is predicting 47 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their home this holiday weekend.

If you are not flying this weekend, but want to plan a trip this summer, here are some other things to know.

“There is the end reward when you are traveling. But a few things that you can do is book the first flight in the morning. That way, if things do go awry, you have lots of options throughout the day. Hopefully they can get you rescheduled. If something cancels. if you're going on a cruise or attending an event like a wedding, try to fly a day or two earlier. You'll just find that if things go wrong, you have that backup plan," Klimak said.

If you are not flying this weekend, but want to plan a trip this summer, here are some other things to know.

Now if things do go wrong, you could unfortunately be stuck in line waiting to rebook or on hold on the phone for several hours.

Having a travel agent helps because they'll do that hour-long waiting on the phone for you.

"Some of my advisors have two, three, four phones on their desk, and they're holding on multiple airlines at once. But you know, you have to understand that if you can make change online, if you can do things without actually using, you know, calling into a call center, maybe use that chat feature, text messaging, if it's offered, use those things because they are there to make it easier for you and keep that call volume low,” Klimak said.

But if you're on your own, sign up for text alerts about your flight and the moment there's an issue, try calling while also standing in line. If the feature has a chat feature or text messaging, it's even better and you can try and get help that way, too.

Airline workers, hotel workers and rental car workers are stretched thin right now so remember that kindness goes a long way.

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