How to sur­vive a long lay­over

The Star (St. Lucia) - - TRAVEL - By

ATheo Al­leyne ir travel from the Eastern to the South­ern Caribbean or to Cen­tral Amer­ica gen­er­ally re­quires a long lay­over. Most of my cus­tomers don’t like lay­overs, de­fined as a lay­over of six hours or more in-tran­sit. As you may know, the root causes of the long lay­over are (a) a lack of ad­e­quate flight op­tions to the des­ti­na­tion of choice; (b) lack of a USA visa and other ex­trater­ri­to­rial chal­lenges that af­fect the pas­sen­ger’s abil­ity to use a pre­ferred shorter route.

Per­mit me to di­gress for a bit and re­state the ob­vi­ous: we need bet­ter qual­ity re­gional air trans­port within Caricom, and we must pro­tect it when we get it. When a new re­gional air­line comes into the mar­ket with bet­ter ser­vice, and the cur­rent lousy providers cut their rates to elim­i­nate the com­pe­ti­tion, we should re­main unim­pressed and stay with the new com­pe­ti­tion. Vot­ing with your feet and wal­let is the best way to fight medi­ocrity.

Pre-plan­ning is the most ef­fec­tive tool for man­ag­ing the lay­over chal­lenge. If you take a red-eye flight, for ex­am­ple, the 1:00 am New York to Port of Spain or the Bridgetown to New York 3:00 am with a con­nect­ing flight that is more six hours away, I would rec­om­mend a 90-minute tour of your in-tran­sit city. This tour is ideal be­cause the ex­plo­ration is enough to give you the high­lights of the city and help you make an in­formed de­ci­sion whether to re­turn for a va­ca­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, you will be able to en­gage in at least 30 min­utes of im­pul­sive shop­ping be­fore head­ing back to the air­port. I would cau­tion you to dis­cuss this op­tion with your travel pro­fes­sional so you don’t be­come a no-show for your flight.

If you are trav­el­ing on busi­ness, a Caribbean air­port may not be the most ef­fec­tive lo­ca­tion for con­fer­ence calls or to edit a pre­sen­ta­tion to in­clude the new ideas you had en-route. The so­lu­tion may be a day-stay at an air­port ho­tel that of­fers ad­e­quate Wi-Fi. Leisure trav­el­ers may also find that a four hour nap is just what the doc­tor or­dered to im­prove health and vi­tal­ity.

Theo, a travel pro­fes­sional with more than 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, pi­o­neered No USA Visa Cruises™, and Lay­away Cruise™. Con­tact him via email theo@cruise­andrail.net.

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