Traveling is much harder than it used to be.

Before Covid, we could make plans to go somewhere, book our tickets, get on the plane, and successfully follow a scheduled itinerary.

Post-Covid, you’re lucky if you get an on-time flight. And count your blessings if there’s only a slight delay.

I recently traveled to Switzerland to visit my sister, and we were delayed on every leg of the journey. But we made it.

Traveling isn’t what it used to be.

On our trip to Switzerland, we made the conscious decision to just take a carry-on. We heard too many stories of people’s bags getting lost.

There are countless instances of angry people starting a scene. I get it—so many inconveniences have become a part of travel, interrupting schedules everywhere.

Because of this, traveling since Covid has been a frustration for so many. But the truth is, all of the inconveniences of travel today are circumstances we couldn’t have foreseen.

No one knew Covid was coming, and we had no idea the impact it would make on our day-to-day lives. There’s really nothing we could have done to prevent the aftermath of Covid. But there are certainly things we can do to make life better in the current circumstances we find ourselves in.

I don’t have all the answers. But I do have some suggestions on how we can make traveling after Covid a little more enjoyable for everyone. 

Don’t expect the same service we had before.

There are staff shortages due to the “Great Resignation” and people out sick because Covid still isn’t over. Because of this, there are not enough people to do all the work that is necessary to keep things running the way we’re used to.

But that’s what we want because that’s what we’re used to. We want the same service we had before. And hotels and airlines are still trying to run the same schedule they did before with fewer employees.

We are quickly learning that it’s impossible for flights to be on time when every airline is short-staffed. Travel can’t run efficiently with tired and overworked employees.

We can have a better experience by recognizing that travel isn’t what it used to be. We’re not going to have the same number of flights and a variety of times to choose from. It’s no longer a realistic expectation.

If we can remember this, we can learn to be grateful for what we do have available. And thankful that travel is happening again. We just have to adjust our expectations.

Be kind to the people who serve you.

Too many times, I have seen travelers in the airport yelling at the people who are trying to check them in.  

These people are on the frontlines of every battle. Every time an announcement is made that a flight had been delayed or canceled, these poor workers take the brunt of it. They are being yelled at from every direction.

We have to remember that it’s not their fault. They have no control over the situation and couldn’t fix it if they wanted to.

Yet, they are doing all they can to make the best of a tough situation.

In the middle of a great resignation, we need to be kind to the people who actually show up to work. These are the people who make it possible for us to eventually get to where we’re going.

Our kindness to them could make a big difference. It can also help them feel appreciated and valued for the service they are giving.

Most importantly, it could serve as an example to others who maybe aren’t as kind as they should be.

While traveling, practice patience.

Before we got on our final flight to Switzerland, I went to a pizza stand to order my kids pizza. The guy taking my order said that the kind I wanted wasn’t ready. I asked how long it would take, and he said 10 minutes.

I told him that we had to board our plane in 15 to 20 minutes, but I still wanted the pizza.

He told me he wasn’t going to charge me until he knew for sure that the pizza was ready before we had to board. I didn’t want to wait in line again to pay for it, so I asked him if he could just take my payment for the pizza now.

He refused on the grounds that I would be really angry with him if I paid and didn’t get my pizza. I could tell that he was afraid of being yelled at. Sadly, it was something that he probably experienced on a daily basis.

Even though I asked him just to take my payment, he kept saying, “I just can’t have anyone pay until the pizza is ready.”

So I asked him if I could pay for a pizza that they already had ready. That way, he could give me that pizza if the pizza I wanted wasn’t ready in time. He agreed to the deal and took my payment.

I could tell that my patience with him was a breath of fresh air to him. I could literally sense the relief in his voice, and he was kind in how he interacted with me because I was kind and patient with him.

It’s silly to get angry with things that are outside of our control. If we can learn to manage our own tempers, it can go a long way in helping others do their job.

Learn to be flexible.

Itineraries and schedules are important, but if our schedule is dependent on everything running smoothly, we’re setting ourselves up for a miserable experience.

If, on the other hand, we allow room in our schedule for a little flexibility, traveling will be a lot less stressful.

Don’t schedule things at the time you’re supposed to arrive at your destination. Leave yourself some wiggle room, knowing that you might miss out because of circumstances beyond your control.

Start off with a positive attitude and recognize that plans might change, and that’s okay.

Our willingness to be flexible while traveling can absolutely help us to have a much better experience.

Kindness really does matter.

The lessons I’ve learned while traveling after Covid have inspired me to go into my next travel adventure with a renewed sense of patience, kindness, flexibility, and more realistic expectations.

I am determined to go with a positive attitude from the very beginning and recognize that there is no need for me to become angry over circumstances that are beyond my control.

It’s a good reminder that we need to be kind and understanding because everyone is really just trying to do their best in a really tough situation.

We need to recognize that life isn’t easy for anyone. Everyone is going through something—things we may not even know about. Recognizing this makes it easier for us to treat others with kindness.

After all, isn’t that how we would want to be treated?

Kindness matters—even at the airport.

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