Whether you’re flying to Peoria or Paris, it always helps to do a little prep work and this is quick and easy: Just add a few numbers to your smartphone. Do it now, save time and trouble later.
A note for overseas travelers: Be sure to include the correct country code for local calls. And talk to your phone company before you leave on how to avoid potentially outrageous roaming charges (and be sure whoever you talk to understands exactly what you want and need).
LISTEN: Rick Seaney has more numbers and info you might want to add.
Numbers and Contact Info
1. The airline you’re flying
No brainer: You want to be able to get in touch with your airline in case of delays or cancelations. Even if you’re standing in line at the airport to speak with a gate agent, get on the phone, too; it might be quicker.
Tip: If you’re an elite miles member, be sure to add your special hotline number. Also, follow your airline on Twitter which can be the fastest way to get a response.
2. A competitor of the airline you’re flying
In case of delays or cancelations, you’ll want to see if a competing airline has flights to your destination. This is in case your airline doesn’t have room for you on the next flight; tell your airline rep that Carrier B has a flight that would work for you and the rep may be able to book you on that. You’ll save the airline rep a few steps which may help you be on your way more quickly.
Tip: You don’t even have to call a competitor, just bookmark the site. Better yet, go to FareCompare for all flight options including best prices, flights from nearby airports and more.
3. Rental car
If you’ve rented a car and you’re going to arrive late, let them know to avoid paying for a car you’re not driving! But you may also need a rental car number if your flight is going nowhere and you must reach your destination. It might make sense to drive there – or drive to a nearby airport with flights (but first confirm you can actually get on one of those flights).
Tip: Use the local number instead of the toll free number when possible – it could save you time.
4. Hotel or other accommodation
- If staying with family: Be sure to have all their numbers – and if you don’t already have them, just how close are you guys, anyway?
- If staying in a hotel: Call if your flight will be delayed. Some hotels may give your room away if you miss the previously agreed upon check-in time; others may have a no-show policy that allows them to charge you for the night even though you didn’t use the room.
- If stuck at the airport: Have some airport-close hotel numbers handy in case delays or cancelations mean you unexpectedly need a room.
Tip: Some online hotel sites say “no vacancies” but are actually holding rooms for walk-ins. Be sure to include local numbers for hotels because the onsite management may be able to get you a room even if the websites says sold-out.
5. Emergency numbers
You know what you need: House-sitter, dog’s kennel, friends who are looking in on your place and maybe a number for the plumber in case those friends notice a broken pipe.
If traveling overseas: In case of a lost passport (or maybe, legal trouble), include the number for the U.S. Consulate for any countries you’ll be visiting and you can find a list here.
Tip: The U.S. State Department has a list of safety suggestions country-by-country, and if nothing else, some of it makes for fascinating reading.