How to Take Advantage of Federal Holidays for Travel in 2024.

How to Take Advantage of Federal Holidays for Travel in 2024.

Federal holidays are a golden opportunity for travelers. With extra days off work and a long weekend at your disposal, these holidays offer the perfect chance to embark on memorable adventures. In this travel blog post, we’ll explore strategies to help you make the most of federal holidays and transform them into unforgettable travel experiences.

Combine Holidays with Paid Time Off (PTO):

The key to making the most of federal holidays is early planning. Federal holidays often create extended weekends, providing an extra day or two for your trip. Combine your federal holiday with additional PTO days to create a more extended vacation. This combination allows for more flexibility in your travel plans and opens up the possibility of international adventures.

Embrace Flexibility:

Flexibility is critical when planning travel around federal holidays. Be open to adjusting your travel dates slightly to take advantage of better deals or availability. It’s essential to secure your accommodations and transportation well ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Consider destinations that are within a relatively short travel distance. Opting for nearby cities or attractions minimizes travel time and maximizes your time exploring your chosen destination. Alternatively, you can use the extra time to explore a more extended itinerary or to travel farther.

Maximizing time off in 2024:

In JanuaryNew Year’s Day is on a Monday. If possible, take a PTO on January 2 and enjoy a 4-day weekend. 

Martin Luther King is also on a Monday, so once again, enjoy a 4-day weekend by taking a PTO on Tuesday.

In February, for Presidents Day, take a PTO the Friday before for another 4-day weekend.

In May, for Memorial Day, take a PTO on Friday for another 4-day weekend.

In June, take 4 PTO days during the week of Juneteenth. Take the Monday and Tuesday before, and the Thursday and Friday after for a possible 9-day summer holiday.

In July, for Independence Day, Take a PTO on the Friday after for another 4-day weekend.

In September, for Labor Day, take a PTO the Tuesday after for a 4-day weekend.

For Indigenous Peoples Day/Columbus Day in October and Veterans Day in November, you can enjoy a 3-day weekend. Also, taking a PTO the Friday after Thanksgiving is another opportunity for a 4-day weekend.

Finally, Christmas will be on a Wednesday, so taking PTOs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will give you a 9-day break.

Federal holidays offer precious opportunities to satisfy your travel bug and explore new horizons. If you are a savvy traveler, you can maximize your consecutive days of PTO to plan vacation time. By planning, embracing flexibility, and making the most of long weekends, you can time your vacation days to coincide with weekends and federal holidays. So, seize the moment, pack your bags, and embark on journeys that will leave you with cherished memories in 2024. Happy travels!

Travel during the Christmas holidays.

Travel during the Christmas holidays.

Travel during the Christmas holidays can be stressful with extra crowds and often densely packed airplanes.  With COVID, holiday travel takes on an even more stressed environment. However, it’s also a chance to visit family and friends, and maybe spend the holiday in a new destination.  The holidays are celebrated worldwide, and they may not be as meaningful in some destinations. However, foreign travel allows travelers to experience Christmas celebrations shared across the globe.  Here are a few tips that may help you navigate traveling during the holidays with less stress.

Pre-trip planning

Plan accordingly and know your flight times. In addition, prepare for extra airport crowds.  Most airlines advise getting to the airport 2 hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.  Typical airport rush hour times are between 5 am to 7 am and 4 pm to 6 pm.  If you plan on traveling around those times, adding some extra airport travel time would be wise.

TSA Pre-check/Clear

Another way to plan for holiday travel is to pre-register for many travel programs that help the travel process go more smoothly.  TSA Pre-check helps to expedite screening at the airport.  It sure helps not to have to remove shoes, belts, laptops, or light-wear jackets as you go through security.  Clear is another program that can help expedite the screening process.  Unlike TSA Pre-check, verification is done through eyes or face, making for a touchless process.

Travel registration

Many foreign destinations now offer travel registration.  Part of any travel research is the know before you go tips available on many country websites.  This research helps travelers know of any visa requirements, but in this time of COVID, it is beneficial also to be aware of any health travel guidelines for your destination.

Travel insurance

As with any travel you purchase, travel insurance is vital for any unexpected travel delays or interruptions.  Now more than ever, it’s essential that your travel insurance include COVID medical insurance.  Travel insurance not only protects the traveler in the event of a COVID infection, but many foreign destinations now require it before allowing entry into the country.

Embassy registration

Many travelers are unaware of the protections they can receive from their government when issues arise in a foreign country. US citizens can find helpful safety and general information about foreign destinations on STEP, The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  It also helps the embassy, friends, and family contact you more easily in an emergency.

These travel tips can be helpful all year round, but especially during the travel holidays, it’s essential to be well prepared. Are you planning on traveling this holiday season? Are you prepared and ready? I’d like to know.  

https://step.state.gov

https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

https://www.clearme.com

Traveling to Thailand-The Thailand Pass

Traveling to Thailand-The Thailand Pass

COVID has created many changes in traveling, and I’m happy that many countries have started to open their borders to travelers.  As I’ve mentioned before, now more than ever, traveling takes planning.  As of November 1, 2021, Thailand has reopened to travelers with a no-quarantine option.  Here are a few tips if you plan to travel to Thailand.

No quarantine.

No quarantine entry does not genuinely mean quarantine-free.  Thailand is happy to accept fully vaccinated travelers under three programs. Test and go, Sandbox, and Alternative quarantine.  In any program, travelers must complete at least a one-day quarantine.  With the Test and Go program, travelers must stay at least one night in an approved hotel and wait for their pre-paid COVID test results to return as negative.  Only a negative result will allow the traveler to move around inside Thailand.  With the Sandbox program, travelers must stay in a sandbox destination within Thailand for seven days before moving through other parts of Thailand after a negative COVID test result.  With the Alternative program, travelers must stay for 7 to 10 days in an approved hotel and test negative before being free to leave the hotel.

Thailand pass

The Thailand pass is required for all travelers to Thailand, both citizens, and foreigners.  It ensures that travelers meet all the entry requirements before arrival in Thailand.  It is free to apply for the Thailand Pass, but the system is rather cumbersome and rigorous. Some service providers can complete the process for travelers for a fee, and I highly recommend it for those who do not want the stress.  The response time is from 3 to 7 days to get a response, so I highly recommend preparing well in advance.

Thailand Pass requirements.

The requirements for the Thailand pass include 

  • Passport
  • Proof of a WHO-approved vaccination
  • Proof of at least $50,000 U.S. of COVID insurance
  • Payment confirmation of one night’s stay at an approved hotel
  • Copy of flight booking
  • Copy of visa, if required

Travel requirements

  • To be able to travel to Thailand, travelers will also need,
  • A negative PCR test to be taken at least 72 hours before departure
  • Payment confirmation of the PCR test you will take after arriving in Thailand
  • Thailand’s MorChana App to record the results of your rapid test
  • Cannot have visited any of the countries not on the approved list within the past 21 days.

In short, travel to Thailand is not as easy as it once was.  The new Thailand Pass online registration system is not very easy to navigate.  I found that some credentials had to be formatted correctly for the system to accept them. For example, some documents could be PDF, but others needed to be in Jpeg format.  Even though I am an experienced traveler, it took me three tries before I could complete the process, in addition to two phone calls with over an hour of holding time.  

Post-COVID travel has proven to be a bit daunting. Has it stopped you from traveling? I’d like to know.

https://www.tatnews.org/2021/10/quarantine-free-thailand-reopening-for-vaccinated-tourists-from-1november-2021/

COVID-19  travel restrictions.

COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Recently a friend traveled from Washington DC to Egypt. She discussed with me the harrowing experience of trying to get a required Covid test for travel. With recent federal guidelines, the need for Covid testing has increased, and availability has decreased. As the holidays are a busy travel season, it stands to reason travelers needing testing during the holidays will also surge.  Here are a few things to think about regarding Covid testing and the holidays.

A surge in Covid testing

Many of the issues involved with the current availability of Covid testing affect the recent executive order requiring Covid vaccination for federal employees. Companies with over 100 employees will be required to comply with the order or face significant fines. As expected, there are many questions regarding the order and implementation that need an answer.  However, the demand for Covid testing has risen, and so travelers need to prepare.

Thanksgiving travel

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s usually one of the busiest times for people to travel.  In 2020, many suggested curtailing travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, and many ignored that suggestion.  In preparation for the upcoming busy Thanksgiving travel season, the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act may require all passengers on domestic airlines to either be fully vaccinated, tested negative, or fully recovered from Covid.

Preparing for holiday travel

In essence, travelers should be aware of travel restrictions and Covid guidelines.  They should know where their Covid testing sites are. Find out if they need to have Covid symptoms or can test as a precaution. Research the timing of their test before seeing friends and family as exposure varies. It’s also good to know the different Covid test options, PCR or antigen.

As with any travel experience, preparation is critical.  Stay safe this holiday season and if you choose to travel, do it safely.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/09/09/executiveorder-on-requiring-coronavirus-disease-2019-vaccination-for-federal-employees/

https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=09C19B4C-EB814CD1-B793-486B573EA1D1

https://ebonytravelers.com/know-before-you-go-covid-testing/

Covid Restrictions and Holiday Travel

Covid Restrictions and Holiday Travel

Recently a friend traveled from Washington DC to Egypt. She discussed with me the harrowing experience of trying to get a required Covid test for travel. With recent federal guidelines, the need for Covid testing has increased, and availability has decreased. As the holidays are a busy travel season, it stands to reason travelers needing testing during the holidays will also surge.  Here are a few things to think about regarding Covid testing and the holidays.

A surge in Covid testing

Many of the issues involved with the current availability of Covid testing affect the recent executive order requiring Covid vaccination for federal employees. Companies with over 100 employees will be required to comply with the order or face significant fines. As expected, there are many questions regarding the order and implementation that need an answer.  However, the demand for Covid testing has risen, and so travelers need to prepare.

Thanksgiving travel

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s usually one of the busiest times for people to travel.  In 2020, many suggested curtailing travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, and many ignored that suggestion.  In preparation for the upcoming busy Thanksgiving travel season, the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act may require all passengers on domestic airlines to either be fully vaccinated, tested negative, or fully recovered from Covid.

The World and Covid

Preparing for holiday travel

In essence, travelers should be aware of travel restrictions and Covid guidelines. They should know where their Covid testing sites are. Find out if they need to have Covid symptoms or can test as a precaution. Research the timing of their test before seeing friends and family as exposure varies. It’s also good to know the different Covid test options, PCR or antigen.

As with any travel experience, preparation is critical.  Stay safe this holiday season and if you choose to travel, do it safely.

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