“We’re used to navigating around weather delays in the summer, but having this huge travel resurgence combined with weather and staffing issues at airports and airlines has made it a much more complicated landscape,” said Misty Belles, a travel expert and spokesperson for Virtuoso, a global network of travel advisers specializing in luxury experiences.
So what can you do to minimize the frustrations? Travel pros recommend some tricks of the trade to make air travel less of a headache this summer.
Book through the airline
Booking your ticket directly through an airline can make for more effective customer service and faster rebooking if necessary. By contrast, airlines tend to be less helpful when your travel arrangements are made through online aggregators such as Expedia or Priceline.
“There has never been a more important time to book directly with the airline. When you book through a third party and you have to rebook, the airline says, ‘Go to them,'” Willis Orlando, travel expert at Scott’s Cheap Flights, told CBS MoneyWatch. “They also have less robust customer service operations than an airline does.”
Even if it can seem like takes forever to connect with an airline customer service representative, once you’re in touch they can usually resolve problems.
“With online travel sites, there is an extra layer of communication and policies, and you’re not always owed the same as what you are if you booked through the airline,” Orlando added.
Catch the first flight of the day
Another rule of thumb is to always book the first departing flight of the day for a better chance of it taking off on-time, even if it’s $50 or $100 more expensive than other fares.
“Take the first morning flight out,” Belles of Virtuoso said. “It’s painful getting up at 4 a.m., but those flights are less likely to get bumped as the day goes on and things get backed up.”
Plus, bad weather typically disrupt operations later in the day, she added.
For extra assurance, purchase a second, fully-refundable ticket for a flight scheduled two to three hours later. If your first flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, call the airline and request a full refund — then hop on the second flight.
When arranging a backup flight, book through a different carrier and try to use airline miles or points, which go right back into your travel bank if you end up cancelling the flight.
“Booking tickets with airline miles gives you the benefit of a refundable ticket without paying for one. You can get your miles credited back to your account,” said Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare Travel, a luxury travel planning company.
On a recent trip, Bradley flew from New York to Venice, Italy, and then drove an hour and a half to Slovenia, as opposed to connecting through Paris or Amsterdam and flying to a regional airport located closer to her final destination. And she’s glad she did.
“Other people went through Paris or Amsterdam and connected and had massive lines, huge issues with bags and worries about flights being cancelled,” she said. “They would have been much better off going to a major airport a little further away and doing that drive.”
Of course, direct flights are more expensive than routes with connections, but they reduce the odds of something going wrong that mars your long-awaited vacation.
“Avoid connections. If there are two or three legs, you’re doubling or tripling your chances of running into a problem,” said James Ferrara, co-founder and president of InteleTravel, a network of 75,000 independent travel advisers. “The more you can connect the lower the price, so it’s not an option for everyone.”
If you must use connecting flights, don’t even think about a 45 minute layover. Give yourself at least two hours, or longer.
Upgrade to be first in line
Once you’ve booked your flight, download your airline’s mobile app and enable text messages to receive alerts related to your flight. Also join the airline’s frequent-flier program.
“All of those things will help you get information quicker,” Ferrara said.
Consider upgrading to a premium seat if one is available. Indeed, the better your standing with the airline, the more priority you’ll be given when it comes to rebooking a canceled or significantly delayed flight.
“When seats are overbooked or flights are canceled, they award seats on new planes based upon your status on that first plane. First class, business class and passengers with higher mileage levels will be rebooked first. You’ll get a seat before the person at the back of the plane does,” Bradley said.
If you work with a travel adviser, they will take care of the rebooking process for you and advocate on your behalf. And it won’t cost you anything, as their fees are paid by airlines and hotels.
Travel on a Wednesday
If you’re traveling for an event like a wedding or sports tournament, if possible plan on arriving a couple of days in advance. Building a two to three day cushion leaves room for canceled flights or other travel mishaps without it causing you to miss the main event.
“Don’t count on flying and arriving the same day,” Bradley said. “Build in a buffer and you’ll get there.”
Take an extra day off of work and fly on a weekday if you can. Also avoid flying between Friday and Monday, experts say.
“The most important thing right now is not to fly on weekends. This is what weekends are going to look like at least through the summer,” Ferrara said, referring to the recent chaos at airports.
Only bring carry-on
If possible, avoid checking luggage, which avoids long bag drop lines at airports. Bradley urges her clients to either carry on or ship. In addition, if your flight is canceled and you have your bag with you, you’ll be more nimble.
“You can jump on a different flight, whereas if your bag is in the belly of plane, it takes longer to maneuver and get yourself on a different flight,” Bradley said. “I am huge proponent of never checking your bag.”
Traveling solo can be empowering and rewarding, offering moments of self-discovery and deep reflection. Understandably some women are intimated to travel alone, with the key concern being safety. With careful planning, however, and the right mindset, you can minimize the risks to ensure a rewarding safe travel experience.
Here is my top advice for women traveling solo, from a woman who does it time and time again:
First and foremost, book a trip with a reputable tour operator. Even if they are a bit higher – you can’t compromise safety.
Do guided tours and, better yet, private tours if you can. Not only does it provide access to unique places and people, but it supports the local economy and encourages communities to value tourism. Guided tours ensure that you are in the right places, and not a naïve tourist who could potentially be taken advantage of.
Consider forgoing the larger properties and choose to stay at smaller boutique/owner run properties. This usually allows for a more attentive experience from the staff and you almost feel like you become part of the family. You may feel safer and more secure in this environment and that the property is looking out for you. In big hotels, it is easy to become lost in the crowd.
Share your full travel itinerary with someone back home in advance. Make sure they understand the potential time differences when trying to get hold of you and know where you are daily.
Consider scheduled road transfers vs. Uber or public transportation unless it’s well established like in larger cities such as London, Paris or New York. Book scheduled road transfers through a reputable operator always.
Schedule “check-ins” with your loved ones back home. It helps alleviate concerns as well as making them part of your experience. It also ensures that they are on track with your whereabouts at all times.
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Far Cry 6 blows a lot of stuff up. But the biggest thing it blows up is the Far Cry formula. Yes, as many have noted, there’s a lot of fundamental overlap with every other game in Ubisoft’s long-running open-world shoot-everything-you-see series. When you get into the weeds, though, you’ll find that Far Cry 6 introduces subtle tweaks that beget a different approach to what you’re used to.
Two of us—weekend editor Zack Zweizen and staff writer Ari Notis—have collectively played [crunches numbers] “Oh no…” of Far Cry 6 this past week. Here are 22 tips we wished we knew going in.
Get Off The Tiny Starter-Island ASAP
After the initial prologue, you are tossed onto a small island filled with a few places to explore and some early tutorial missions. You can stay here and explore for hours and hours, easily, but don’t do that. Instead, once the game unlocks the rest of the map and tells you to go out and free Yara, do exactly that. The game truly opens up once you get off the island. If you want to come back and hound for secrets, you can always return.
Start With The Valle De Oro Region
Specifically, look for the “Maximus Matanzas” mission. This questline was our favorite of the game and more importantly, it unlocks a new radio station that makes driving around the island much more enjoyable. Oh, and you get a “Zebra” too.
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But Do Get Moving On All Three Plotlines At Once
Each of Far Cry 6’s three main plotlines features a faction. Those factions each make their base at a camp, nestled in the starting areas of their respective region. You can build six helpful facilities at these camps:
Hideout Network (Gives you the wingsuit and some fast-travel locations)
Guerrilla Garrison (Beefs up your fighters, plus grants scouting bonuses)
Fishing Hut (Fuck fishing)
Hunter’s Lodge (Unlocks the bow, Far Cry’s historically best weapon)
Bandidos Barracks (Allows you to recruit more fighters)
La Cantina (Opens up options for temporary buffs, and makes Ari very, very hungry)
The catch? You can only build two at each one. But by dipping your toe into every one of the game’s plots, you can unlock all three camps in short order. See where we’re going with this?
Your First Camp Facility Should Be A Hideout Network
All of the six camp facilities provide helpful bonuses and new features, but the Hideout Network is the most useful. It lets you, for a small fee, unlock tons of new fast travel spots around the map. Best part? Many of these will be in parts of the map you haven’t traveled to yet, but you can still teleport using the map, even without visiting them first. This is very useful for getting around the island quickly. Another fast-travel tip…
Plus, Fast-Traveling Saves The Game
Much ado has been made about how Far Cry 6, unlike some prior entries, doesn’t have a manual save option. If you want to cut your session short while also ensuring you don’t lose any sweet sweet unlocks, just fast-travel to any available fast-travel spot (camp, town, you name it). That’ll guarantee your progress is saved.
Actually Take The Time To Do The Benito’s Bandidos Missions
At camps, you can access a text-based mini-game called Benito’s Bandidos. It’s pretty straightforward: You send troops of fighters out on missions. At various intervals, they ask you to give them “orders” (for instance: They’ve hit a blockade, and need some help figuring out how to pass it). Each order you give comes with a percentage check. Successfully pass three of those, and you complete the mission. It sounds frivolous, but you can get some helpful items—including a gold-plated auto pistol—from completing them.
Right From The Start, You Can Do It All
The game never really tells you any of this, so we will. In past Far Cry games, you would level up and unlock new abilities, like being able to air assassinate people or takedown bigger, armored baddies. But that’s not how Far Cry 6 works and while a few abilities are tied to some pieces of gear, most of your badass toolbox of murderin’ moves is available to you right away. So you can quietly takedown any enemy you encounter, you can chain takedowns and you can tap the right trigger while doing a takedown and toss a knife at a nearby enemy.
Oh, You Can Also Hijack Vehicles
Zack spent almost 30 hours playing this game before he realized that you could click the right stick (on console) to hijack vehicles. This is very useful as it instantly kills both the driver and the passenger of whatever car or truck is unlucky enough to get too close.
Talk To Every NPC With An Exclamation Point
On your travels around Yara, you’ll come across NPCs with little exclamation points floating over their heads. (You can also see them indicated on the minimap.) Take a second to interact with every single one. They’ll give you coordinates for gear caches, treasure hunts, vehicular races, and more optional activities. Sure, you can find that stuff just by ambling around aimlessly. But getting the specific bearings makes finding it all way, way easier.
Far Cry 6 features a head-spinningly deep suite of options. Few are more helpful than the ability to highlight collectibles. Open up the settings, then go to the HUD options. You’ll see an option that allows you to turn on an outline around every collectible item you come across. (You can also set it so enemies are outlined as well, if you so please.) Bonus points for changing the outline color. Can’t miss a pickup if it’s highlighted in neon pink!
Take Out AA Guns So You Can Drop In From Above
When fast-traveling to towns, camps, or hideouts, you have two options: Your standard fast travel and a skydive route. The standard fast travel just plops you in the camp as you would expect. The better option is to drop in via the sky. This lets you use your wingsuit, giving you a quick and easy way to fly to any nearby location. Far Cry 6’s map is enormous. But everything seems smaller—or at least more manageable—when you travel as the bird flies.
Don’t Skip The Horses
In a world filled with tanks, helicopters, wingsuits, and super-fast cars, you might be tempted to never ride a horse. But horses in Far Cry 6 are more than just a new gimmick. Horses are very fast and can be used to easily traverse all the various trails and tiny hidden paths across Yara. They also make short work of mountains too. And another bonus: Horses are quiet. So you can sneak up on enemies.
Always Have A Gun With Armor-Piercing Rounds
Far Cry 6 adds a new ammo feature. It’s a bit annoying. Just stick to using armor piercing rounds. You can craft and equip these via any workbench you find out in the world. If you go for headshots, armored rounds will drop helmet-wearing soldiers as well as unarmored baddies too. The only problem is if you don’t hit someone in the head or shoot something not wearing armor (like a dog), as it can take many more AP rounds to kill them. Does this make any logical sense? Not really, but here we are. So always keep a gun with standard or soft target rounds. We suggest an assault rifle or SMG, something that can take care of groups of dogs and soldiers in a few seconds.
Customize Guns, Add A Silencer On Something
As with past games, getting a silenced pistol or rifle turns you into a god, able to take out bases in mere seconds without alerting enemies or setting off alarms. So we highly recommend you stick a silencer on a gun as soon as you can using a workbench. When you’re checking out attachments, the game will tell you how a suppressor will affect your gun—not via stats but via…words? Pick one that says “slow to overheat,” or at the very least veer away from one that says “very quick to overheat.” (When a silencer overheats in Far Cry 6, the silencer stops making bullets silent.)
Weapon Attachments Work For The Whole Weapon Category
Say you invest in a snazzy scope for your AK-47, a killer assault rifle. But then you unlock the M16A, an even better assault rifle. You don’t need to repurchase that scope. You can just slot it on the new gun. This is true for all weapon attachments. So a laser sight for your 1911 pistol will work fine on your other handguns, a suppressor will work on your shotguns (lol), an ACOG scope will work on your snipers, and so on.
You Can Change Your Weapon’s Rate Of Fire On The Fly
It’s not possible for every weapon, but some fully automatic weapons can also be fired as single-shot or as burst-fire rifles. Just hold L1 (on PlayStation) to bring up the weapon wheel. Then hover over the one you’ve equipped and tap the Square button to cycle through your options.
Keep An EMP Grenade On You At All Times
In the same vein as weapon attachments, once you unlock a mod for your Supremo—the ugly if gameplay-changing backpacks—you can put it on any other Supremo. That goes for EMP grenades, easily the most helpful mod of the bunch. These are useful for stopping any vehicle, yes. But more importantly, they can stop tanks, which you can either jump on and steal or get the option to destroy via a quick cutscene. This can make some tough missions much easier to complete. Even better, if you steal a tank you can just use it on all the baddies and enemy vehicles in the area.
Look For Gear That Has Useful Abilities
A lot of gear in the game gives you bonuses like “Deal more damage” or “Improved fire resistance” and that gear can be useful, but I recommend looking out for and equipping gear that gives you new perks or abilities. For example, Zack found a face mask that unlocks the ability to takedown enemies from the front, even if they are fully alert and are shooting him. Very handy. Other gear lets you sneak and crouch-walk much faster. And if you don’t like the way you look, well don’t worry because…
You Can Totally Transmog Stuff
Unlike certain other Ubisoft games (cough, cough, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), Far Cry 6 starts with transmog—the option to change your gear’s appearance without changing its stats—right out of the gate. It’s easy to miss, though. First, hover over any piece of gear you want to change. Tap Triangle (on PlayStation), then navigate down to the symbol in the lower-left hand corner that looks like an eyeball doing a front flip. You should see cosmetic options for every piece of gear you’ve unlocked up to that point.
Take Out Alarms And Mark Enemies Before Starting A Fight
If you’ve played a Far Cry game, then odds are you already know to do this, but for those who might be new to the series or haven’t played in some time: scout out bases before entering. Use your phone (up on the D-pad) to mark targets, cameras, alarms, and more. Keep your eyes on the minimap too. If you see a red splotch on the map, that means there is at least one unmarked soldier in that area. You can also mark enemies by zooming in on them with a scope. Once you’ve marked people, try to take out the big, yellow alarms using arrows or silenced weapons. When you take out all alarms, the game helpfully lets you know. At that point, they can’t call for backup. Feel free to go loud at that point, if you so desire.
Do Some Treasure Hunts For Fun (And Better Weapons)
Treasure hunts are some of the best side quests in Far Cry 6, often mixing puzzles, platforming and strange stories together into bite-sized bits of action and fun. For example, one of them has you exploring a haunted castle. Another great reason to play them: weapons. Many of these missions end with a new weapon, often one of the game’s special “unique weapons.” Early on these can be super useful, featuring perks and attachments that you might not have access to yet. Zack got a rocket launcher early on after completing a treasure and it made the game much easier because he could quickly destroy annoying helicopters.
Don’t Forget About Your Amigos!
Use one that works with your playstyle. Some amigos, like the crocodile you get early on, are perfect for folks who like to run in guns blazing. Others, like Boomer (yes, the dog from Far Cry 5; don’t think about it too much) are best suited for sneaky players. Zack prefers Boomer, as he marks enemies around you and also, he’s a good boy too. Ari disagrees (he sucks) and prefers Champagne, the big cat, which is sadly only available via additional DLC (the Vice Pack). Whichever amigo you choose, make sure you check out their abilities via the amigos’ section of the pause menu and see if your favorite has alternate costumes. Sadly Boomer doesn’t. Smells like DLC, though.