How to prep for vacation so canceled flights don’t upend travel plans

If you're heading out on vacation this summer, a local travel consultant says there are a few things you need to know

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POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – According to AAA, over 44 million Americans will travel next week for the Fourth of July, including 2 million from Ohio. To stay ahead of flight cancellations and get to your destination on time, there are some things you should keep in mind before you start packing.

Every year, vacationers are stranded when one out of five flights is canceled in the United States, mainly due to inclement weather.

As we saw last week with Tropical Storm Cindy and the Southwest’s record-breaking heat wave, major weather can affect travel.

“Many times, clients don’t realize that even though your gateway may be Pittsburgh or Cleveland and we’re having a problem in Phoenix or having a problem in Texas, that those flights may be coming from there,” said travel consultant Kathy Pahamish. “The aircrafts may be coming so it will delay and cancel flights here.”

If you’re heading out on vacation this summer, Kathy says there are a few things you need to know.

First, check the weather in advance. If you’re traveling out of the country, is that part of the world in its rainy season or dry season? Also, is there a threat for tropical storms?

“To hear that there is a storm coming or something is happening, you want to go ahead and call the airlines and see if they’d let you change your flight or change your route,” Kathy said.

Make sure you know the fine print on your bookings. Find out if you will be able to get your money back if weather postpones your vacation.

“You also need to know, what are your cancellation policies? If you don’t buy the insurance, you need to know what rights you have as far as whether you can change dates or delay your trip.”

Have a rainy day plan. If you are traveling with family, it is always good to have a back-up plan in case something happens.

Check your passport before you head out. You’re only able to travel out of the country with at least six months left on your passport from the time you get home. If it expires before that, you will not be able to go.

Download the airline’s app. This will give you the latest access to your flight status.

Buy trip insurance. If you’re going to an area known for storms and tricky travel, get insurance to help get your money back in case anything happens.