May 11, 2021
Jay's Non-Stop Adventures Start in Cincinnati at
Hey, I'm Jay

When I’m not DJing on Cincinnati’s Mix 94.9, you can find me traveling the world and sharing my journeys here.

Ready to get back out there? Here are five things you should do right now.

The world is opening up, here’s how we can start to see it again. Above: Riga, Latvia, 2019.

There’s a phrase being tossed around the travel industry right now; “revenge travel.”

Basically, we’ve all been stuck at home for over a year trying to fill our time with Pinterest projects and watching way too many TikToks. So now that more people are getting vaccinated each day and the world has begun to reopen, the experts say a lot of us want to make up for the travel time we lost.

So… let’s go!

Here’s what you should know if it’s been a while since enjoyed a cup of joe from Starbucks across from Southwest’s gates 3 and 5 in the A Concourse. 

Don’t you miss hotel minibars? This was the most unique assortment of items I’ve ever seen in one at the Virgin Hotel in Chicago. (I definitely ate the astronaut ice cream!)

1. Plan Ahead… even if you’re a procrastinator!

I’m a huge fan of last-minute trips and spontaneous travel. (As in, we landed in Paris for 10 days in Europe and didn’t have a hotel booked yet. I swear it’s fun!)  However, as more destinations open up, demand will continue to increase as well. It could affect the availability of flights, hotels, tours, and tickets at your desired vacation spot. As we enter post-COVID travel, I highly encourage you to book early.  Keep an eye on the Jay’s Deals page each week for discount fares from CVG, many of which can be booked months ahead of your travel date.

Consider a new destination for your next trip. CVG has recently added Alaska Airlines non-stop flights to Seattle (with connecting options to the Pacific Northwest) and non-stop flights to Minneapolis on Sun Country, and they have a large network of destinations as well.

When travel planning to a destination, the rental car market is tight. For planning ahead, that is going to be a crucial element this summer.

Regardless of where you might end up, doing some homework will be helpful.  Travel restrictions are being lifted, but a helpful go to is the Fly Healthy Resources page on the CVG Airport website.  

When Berlin, Germany got a new airport, they turned Tempelhofen Field into a giant public park. So cool to ride a bike down a former runway.

2. Allow extra time… especially if you’re a procrastinator!

In addition to being a fan of swiftly planned adventures, I’m also sometimes late to stuff.  (I was even a tad bit late to my own wedding.) If a friend or family member in your travel group also suffers from chronic tardiness, it’s important to make it clear to them they need to take this seriously.  The plane doesn’t wait for you. CVG has some of the shortest (and friendliest) check-in desks and TSA lines of any airport I’ve visited.  However, during peak travel times, especially around holidays or during busy morning and evening hours, lines can form at ticket counters and security.  CVG has two parking options for your convenience – the CVG Terminal Garage and the CVG Economy Lot, so be sure to factor in the few extra minutes to load your bags onto the shuttle and make your way to the terminal. 

 

To avoid that awkward moment where we’ve just come back from a wonderful vacation but can’t remember where we parked, we always snap a quick photo of the sign near our car.

 

If you have an early morning flight, consider staying at the Cincinnati Airport DoubleTree Hotel to ensure you’ll have a stress-free day of travel.

 

Most airlines recommend arriving between 90 minutes and 2 hours before flights within the US, although actual wait times vary by carrier and time of day, so double-check with your airline before you head out. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s recommended to show up three hours before your flight.

An umbrella… like a mask for your head. Pictured here in use at Rundale Palace, the “Versailles of Latvia."

3. Yes, bring the mask.

While some states and vacation destinations have different mask rules than our area, CVG is required to follow Federal mandates in regard to health and safety measures. That means we still need to mask up at all times unless eating or drinking. All passengers who appear over the age of two must have a face mask. So, before your trip, consider having a little mask fashion show at your house.  It sounds silly, but it’s going to be on your face from the time you enter the terminal to the time you reach your destination. Take some time to pick out the masks you personally find most comfortable (and if you like taking Instagram photos while you travel – the most fashionable!) Make sure they follow all guidelines as well, for example, face shields are not acceptable. Here are the full details on mask requirements from the TSA. 

 

Keep up with the latest health and safety measures at CVG on the Fly Healthy section.

A selfie stick makes a great phone holder that keeps your screen at eye level and prevents neck strain.

4. Dress for security screening success!

Speaking of the TSA, there are some things you can do ahead of your trip to ensure your security screening experience is smooth.

  • Put your wallet, purse, phone, keys, passport, coins, and belts in a pocket of your carry-on bag. It will save you the time and worry of having to put it in the plastic bin and retrieve it after it’s scanned. Laptops and other large electronics still need to come out of their cases and go in the bin for scanning.
  • Bottled water is a no-no. Buy it after you go through security or bring along an empty reusable bottle. There are lots of places around the concourse to refill and stay hydrated, including DropWater, an eco-friendly water stop available in both concourses at CVG Airport.
  • Wear slip-on shoes. This will make it easy to pop them on and off during screening.
  • Be nice. Really. I know it can be frustrating if something in your bag or on your body flags you for additional screening (A microphone I used to travel with got swabbed sooooo many times!) They are just trying to do their job and keep everyone safe.

           

The TSA has a great checklist to use for your trip right here.

Mrs. Kruz has her in-flight essentials as we walk to the plane at the Siem Reap Airport in Cambodia.

5. Use technology to your advantage

So, you’re ready to plan a vacation, but the thought of it seems overwhelming? I totally get it. 

Here are some websites to check out to start your trip, checking out flights and 2021 travel, and beyond!

Want to fly but open to going almost anywhere?  The CVG Airport travel navigator will provide you a flavor of easy nonstop flights to destinations based on a city of interest, specific activities you might look be looking for, or just to see which airlines fly direct to what destinations. 

This is our guide to the world. It’s the largest travel review site and has everything from major hotels in large cities to small unheard-of diners in the middle of nowhere. I’ve had people say “well Jay, can’t they just fake the reviews to get you to go there?”  And my reply is always the same, “I don’t know, but when we’ve picked a hotel or restaurant rated at least 4.5 out of 5 with a lot of reviews, we have almost always had a terrific experience.” For us, crowdsourcing works.  Download the Trip Advisor app when you travel and when you get hungry in a new place, use the “Find Nearby” button to locate an awesome restaurant.

 

I like their flight tool because you can search three ways. You can choose exactly where and when you want to travel, tell it where you want to go but find out when it’s the cheapest, or tell it when you have time off from work and what destinations are cheapest.   There’s also one of my favorite ways.  Start with CVG, leave the destination blank, click on the map, and let the deals guide your booking!

 

You might have seen a few commercials for this site recently, but we’ve been using it for years. It’s a great way to find discount codes for travel sites and companies. We have saved thousands of dollars (not joking) on rental cars and hotel rooms by using promo codes from this site.  Be sure to check promo codes for booking companies like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, Priceline, and Orbitz.  The same hotel stay can be hundreds of dollars cheaper by using a different booking site coupled with a promo code.

TripAdvisor helped us find this tasty mini-burger spot in Latvia.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my deals page again – check it out for the latest cool trips with great prices I’ve found.

 

Let me know where you’re heading on your next trip.  I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @jaykruzofficial and would love to see your travel photos!

 

– Jay

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