Planning your travel to a funeral can be a stressful and burdensome task; between grieving for the loss of a family member or loved one and alerting others to the service, comparing the best airfare hardly seems like an activity that you want to give your time and energy to. However, there are certain tricks that you can use to not only get the best airfare, but to make traveling to a funeral a smooth and stress-free experience for everyone involved. Use these techniques when it’s time to plan your travel, and you’ll spend less of your precious time playing part-time travel agent and have more time to grieve and remember the life of the deceased.
Unless your loved one was gravely ill for some time, purchasing airfare to attend a funeral can often be quite costly, as funerals are usually held less than a week from the date of death. You can end up paying a lot of money for last-minute airfare tickets – unless, of course, you ask for bereavement airfare discounts. Bereavement airfare is typically available for family members of the deceased who are traveling to a funeral, and can be booked right up until departure time. You won’t be able to secure bereavement airfare through travel websites, so call airlines and ask about their special discounts. You can grab airfare for a discount of up to 50 percent off, with some airlines even offering 75 percent off a full fare. However, if your travels require more than one airline, your bereavement airfare will only be available on the requested flight. Call the other airlines to ensure that you’re being offered discounted airfare.
Of course, bereavement airfare is not typically available for international flights unless a death certificate is provided for proof; the funeral home should be able to quickly provide you with copies of death certificates for a nominal fee should you need to provide evidence of death. Keep in mind that while bereavement airfare may be offered at a steep discount, you might be able to purchase the tickets for a lower price. If you have the energy or the time, compare prices to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.
If the thought of hunting around for cheap airfare still makes you feel exhausted, then perhaps it’s best to hire a travel agent to assist you in your funeral travel arrangements. Although you’ll be charged an extra fee for working with an agent, they can typically find you great deals and make all of the necessary travel arrangements quickly and without hassle. Find a local travel agent online and let them know that you’re traveling to attend a funeral service.
If you’re traveling by car to the funeral, it might be best to have another relative or friend drive you to and from the funeral, especially if you’re feeling particularly emotional. It’s dangerous to drive when experiencing any extreme emotion, so if there’s even the slightest chance that you’ll be too upset to drive, make sure you have alternative arrangements for travel.
Traveling with children to a funeral can be a particularly stressful ordeal, especially as you may be struggling to deal with your own grief and emotions. Again, see if a friend or relative can accompany you to the funeral to look after the children. It’s best to ask for help when you need it, and you should have someone there to offer both physical and emotional support.
If you can’t get a friend or relative to accompany you and you have small children, turn the funeral travel into a type of game. Give your children a map to trace the route that you’ll be driving or flying, and get them to point out any major landmarks that they’ll see along the way. Keeping young children distracted with coloring books, DVDs and other toys will help to keep them quite during a particularly long journey, and will help you find peace of mind to deal with your own grief and emotions.
Arranging travel to and from a funeral doesn’t have to add to the stress that you’re already feeling – recruit help from friends and relatives to assist with driving or any small children that are accompanying you, or hire a travel agent to hunt down cheap airfare to the funeral. Remember, you need support during such a trying time, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.