Ask RedWeek / July, 2022

How do I avoid travel chaos in 2022?

I'm seeing lots of headlines talking about travel chaos and mass flight cancellations this summer. I'm using my timeshare later this year - can I do anything to avoid issues?

The travel industry is experiencing unprecedented complications this year, as the world simultaneously attempts to recover from the pandemic and continues to embrace "revenge travel" since the beginning of 2022.

We previously reported on airline complications during spring break, when "National Unmasking Day" occurred and airlines saw the first notable spike in travel bookings for the year. During that time, many airlines struggled to maintain consistent service and adequate staffing. Canceled or delayed flights, over-capacity issues, and difficulties finding alternative trips caused unhappy customers with ruined travel plans.

As we are now in the dead of summer 2022, we have seen that these service issues persist across nearly all airlines, with some standing out in the news more than others. The root of the issue is simply that there is an uptick in travel, all the while airports and airlines struggle to fully replenish staff since the layoffs and shortages of the pandemic.

Flights are still being canceled last minute, luggage is being lost at record rates in the US, and travelers are experiencing a previously unanticipated host of stressors related to planning their vacations.

So, what does this mean for timeshare owners-and more importantly, is there anything you can do to prepare for these inconveniences?

If you are locked into your week for the year, the stakes of your flight getting canceled are that much higher for your trip. Although there's not much any of us can do to fully prepare for or avoid the mass flight cancellations and volatility of the travel industry this year, here are some things to consider trying that may offer a modicum of protection:

Avoid Peak Travel Times

When selecting your week, whether it is to rent out on RedWeek or use yourself, avoid holidays and peak travel times whenever possible. Those are the times that are most likely to sell out flights and become overbooked and/or understaffed, and avoiding them altogether may spare you from a canceled or rescheduled flight. Read up on travel trends specific to your destination of choice, try to avoid weeks where there are tournaments or conventions that will likely contribute to travel spikes.

Examine Cancellation Policies

This is a great time to take extra care while reviewing and setting up cancellation policies for your timeshare, as well as for any flights you choose to book. Call your resort to see if they are offering any exceptions due to the current travel landscape, and hopefully you can extend that flexibility to prospect renters if possible as well.

Consider Drive-To Resorts

If you are still deciding where to go this summer and fall, this is a good time to consider domestic resorts you can drive to. With gas prices on the rise and flight availability in decline, a rental within reasonable driving distance is a particularly smart choice. If you're in the U.S., popular stateside destinations are Florida, California, South Carolina, and Arizona.

Pad Your Vacation Time

This is obviously not an available option to everyone — especially those who are only allotted a certain number of vacation days — but if you are able to book your flight a day or two before your resort check-in, it may be a wise option that could prevent a headache. If your flight does get delayed by a day, you won't be late for check-in. If your flight arrives on schedule, then you may have to find hotel accommodations for one night before you head to the resort. So, again, not an option for everyone, but it's a clever idea if you do have the flexibility!

Don't Check a Bag

Lastly, once you've got everything booked and you're ready to go on your trip, try not to check a bag right now. Not only is this a great travel tip regardless of what the current climate looks like, refraining from checking your bag will save you a particular kind of stress during this year's travel surge mayhem. Luggage is being lost at alarming rates this summer, and bringing only carry-on bags will prevent it from happening to you. If you must check a bag, consider purchasing an AirTag so that you can track your bag's location from your phone.

Comments (5)

    Avatar for Ronnie E.
    Ronnie E.
    Jul 26, 2022

    The fact is, when you have ownership in a timeshare it is based on the calendar year and your week is your week. If you can’t get there, we’ll; that was that for the entire year and you are done. They don’t give you another week because someone else owns that week and you’ve spent your money and your dues for the upkeep of your unit and you don’t get to enjoy it. Especially international timeshares. That is not the fault of the resort it is the fault of the airlines. What you did not address in your tips and tricks are the people who are locked into a certain week every year based on the timeshare calendar. They simply get screwed. This article was no help .

    Avatar for David F.
    David F.
    Jul 26, 2022

    My timeshare is from Saturday to Saturday, so instead of leaving on Saturday I plan to leave on the Wednesday before, and instead of going home on Saturday, I plan to leave on Monday. Off days to travel can and will get me home. Last year I was in Puerto Vallarta and after spending 4 hours at the airport, American Airlines told me that the plane was cancelled. The airline put me up in a hotel for 2 days as I awaited a plane to go home. Finally they re-routed me to Mexico City which turned out to be a real nightmare, but I did go home.

    Avatar for David R.
    David R.
    Jul 26, 2022

    Except for travel outside the US, we always fly in the day before and spend a night at or near the airport. We usually book a return flight for later in the afternoon as too often mid day flights are cancelled. So far we have been lucky and no issues. Since we usually go to a different timeshare then ours, the major problem is if we miss getting there, we lose our week traded and seems the exchange companies could care less. However on a short trip to visit family, our scheduled flight was cancelled and the did rebook on the later flight which meant we arrived later then planned and screwup our plans for that evening.

    The real issue is First there was COVID and now thanks to the Government Stupidity, the recovery has been a disaster. This has hurt many smaller places and even the larger places are having problems trying to recover and often service suffers.

    Avatar for Digna C.
    Digna C.
    Jul 26, 2022

    From 2019 through 2022 my husband and I owned 2 flex week timeshares in Cabo, using them once in the spring, once in October. A few years we combined them into 2 long weeks, although we both preferred to stay the first week in boutique or independently owned hotels, or try a different resort. It all worked out well for us. Was it luck? or good planning? I don't know. The one troubled year and stay was when my daughter's dog mauled both my legs the afternoon before our departure. We used to drop off our dogs at her house, and suddenly, one afternoon, after we'd spent a couple of pleasant hours visiting when we took our dogs, her dog attacked me from the rear, knocking me down. It was nearly impossible to tear him from me, until my daughter beat him with a metal chair. After a few hours in the ER with my husband insisting we cancel the trip and me refusing to, I called the airline, explained my predicament and was guaranteed they'd accommodate my need for a different seat and a wheel chair. I did the same with the resort. To complicate matters, American Airlines sent my luggage, from the LAX direct flight, to Narita airport and I didn't get it back until 2 weeks after returning home. Positive: I always carried a large purse with meds, personal items, cosmetics and a change of underwear - a habit formed after 40 years as a road warrior. There was enough room to change my seat to a front seat so I didn't have to bend that leg (always travelled first class), and the resort had a wheel chair at my disposal. I had called the car rental and they gave us a van so I could sit in the middle seat instead of front. Most of the first week was spent in the suite and there was no pool time, but we still enjoyed our vacation and got to eat at every restaurant at that resort to avoid the in/out of the van - besides I couldn't walk anyway. At the resort giftshop I bought 2 long pool style dresses to help cover my bandaged legs, and my husband bought extra medical supplies at the local Walmart. I was able to sit by the pool but had to keep legs in the shade. The resort MD checked on me twice. Not a bad vacation in spite of the problem. Sadly I sold the timeshares as my husband can't travel now

    Avatar for Vartan K.
    Vartan K.
    Aug 29, 2022 (edited)

    Unfortunately, this article does not help 99.99 % of Time Share owners. You have not addressed any of the real issues affecting Time Share owners.