Can you believe the summer is finally here? After the long hard winter suffered by most of the world that is North of the Equator, many of us are breathing a long awaited sigh of relief. For those in the opposite hemisphere, Winter is just beginning. Either way no matter where you are, travel plans are likely high on your mind as you welcome this brand new season and a chance to relax a little bit. This is the season that is the highest season for travel as well, as when we have a little bit of spare time on our hands that’s often the first thing we get up and do. Either we go visit loved ones, or we travel the world to enlighten our spirit of adventure in the carefree season of Summer. What travel plans are beckoning you this summer? Before you start dotting any lines, make note that the Summer 2014 is going to kick off with a big fat Mercury retrograde. We already started talking about that and how you should use that energy to your advantage in love this summer. But since Mercury is the planet that rules short journeys and communications, you also need some practical tips on how to overcome this energy when you are making travel plans. If there is ANY time of the year where your travel plans are going to go awry, it will be during Mercury Retrograde. So, knowing that a lot of you are going to start flight checking or road tripping we thought a few handy tips on summer travel under Mercury Retrograde would help. This period has already begun, on June 7 and will end on July 1. This is the timeframe when the energy will be the strongest, on July 1 the energy will peak as Mercury makes a complete station, or stops, before it begins to turn direct. So expect this first week of July to have some travel wrinkles as well. Now that you know when, here’s how to deal with it.
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1. Flights: Book in Advance, Buy Insurance
I always buy travel insurance when I am traveling during Mercury retrograde, because that always ends up saving me money in the end. I have a running joke that Mercury retrograde usually costs me about $500 a cycle, whether that’s a car repair, computer upgrade, flight changes, or last time it was a phone upgrade. Buying insurance when you are traveling ahead of time will save you that cost in the long run. Booking ahead will also combat any flight snafoos at the end of the day. If there is any time when a regular old standby flight is going to land you on a 16 hour layover, it will be during Mercury retrograde.
2. Ground Transportation: Have Two Plan B’s
Many people think that flying in North America is very easy, and that you can land anywhere and just grab a car or a taxi and get wherever you want. Usually you can, but what might cost you $10 bucks in the sticks of Maine will cost you $75 in downtown New York. Before you are flying anywhere, research and have contact information of at least two options in ground transportation. Whether that is a friend that is picking you up, a rental, or an airport limo or taxi service. You may never use that information. But there is literally nothing worse than landing and needing to be somewhere within an hour and being 3 hours away from everything. Research that info and have the info on hand to avoid the panicked moment that often happens at the baggage claim during Mercury retrograde.
3. Mobile Devices: Backup Your Backup Plan
Communication and messages are also affected during a Mercury retrograde. And have you ever been travelling and been without access to a phone? It is panic inducing if you haven’t, and it can and it will happen during a Mercury retrograde if you don’t plan ahead. Double check with your mobile provider that you have roaming, an international plan, or have access to something if you don’t. Many mobile providers have temporary add ons now for vacations or travel purposes alone. Research that and have that plan in place BEFORE you leave home. I know a lady who travels with two cell phones during Mercury retrograde. Her standard every day one and a prepaid dump phone that she keeps topped up in the event of an emergency, and she says that she has wound up using that phone every time she travels under a Mercury retrograde. You just never know when your battery is going to go out, your roaming doesn’t activate. Have a backup plan for the backup plan and you won’t spend your entire flight worrying if you will have a signal to call your ground transportation service.
4. Travel Documentation: Keep it All in One Place
When we travel, we have a tendency to accumulate. One bag for this, one bag for that, another bag for this. And if you have kids? Ten bags for this, ten bags for that, another ten bags for, oh you have no idea. It sounds like it is too much common sense to say have all of your travel documentation in one place, but it is very easy for one very important piece of paper to slip out of place at the wrong moment during a Mercury retrograde. Pick up a little folio, or have a decent sized pocket on one of your carry on or personal items bags that stores every single piece of paper and travel documentation you need in one place. Passports, I.D., driver’s licenses, health insurance or cards, citizenship or birth certificates, flight information, flight itineraries, travel insurance, reservations, the list goes on. If you have a piece of paper recording an event in your travel, keep them all in one place. Border agents will want to know you have a return ticket for example, some will want to know you have health insurance coming into a foreign country. Every piece of paper that you need for travel, keep it in one place. Choose that place before you travel, and don’t change it, then it will always be there. Simple.
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5. Double Check Email Reservations by Phone.
In this day and age we literally can do just about anything online. From booking your flight to your ground transportation to your hotel room, you can have that done in minutes from your phone without talking to a single person. There’s nothing wrong with that. But during a Mercury retrograde, the chances of getting wires crossed during those transactions is high. I will never forget the time I booked a hotel room online, and it was closed the day I showed up for my reservation. It was the biggest and most famous hotel in the little town I was visiting, and some freak act of nature or something shut it down for just that one day. These things do happen, and under Mercury retrograde, a little more often. If you book something online, pickup the phone for that 30 second phone call and just confirm that all is good for any reservations you will need immediately after your arrival when travelling.
6. Plan for Delays.
Whether you are road tripping or flying or taking a train to your destination of choice this summer, expect delays. Not only should you expect delays and prepare yourself for their discomfort, but plan for them. Put extra stuff to do and eat snack wise in the kids travel back packs, and do the same for yourself as well. Mercury loves stalling us during Mercury retrograde, and the weirdest delays are going to come your way. Your taxi will get stalled in bumper to bumper traffic. Your train will be delayed because something was stuck on the tracks. Your road trip will take a detour when a tractor trailor turns over on the highway. Again, under Mercury retrograde, these things will happen at a higher rate of frequency during Mercury retrograde. When you have planned for them to happen, they are a lot less uncomfortable.
7. Schedule a Checkup for the Car
If you are road tripping or driving your own vehicle during your Summer travel, make sure your wheels are up to snuff for it. Get that oil changed, check the tire pressure, fill up the tank, top up your fluids, make sure the insurance is all good, attend to whatever niggling thing your car wants you to attend to or you can bet your bottom dollar the niggling thing will crop up during your travel. All of it. Also make sure you have a GPS on hand, and a backup wouldn’t hurt. Don’t think you are overthinking a thing during Mercury retrograde. It’s also not a bad idea to make sure that your emergency preparedness car kit is just that as well. Invest in AAA or CAA if your trip is going to be a really lengthy one. Once again, you may never need it. But if you do, you will be glad that you did.