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8 things to know about traveling in Europe during labor strikes

Taking a vacation abroad means immersing yourself in another culture — and sometimes in another country’s labor disputes.

This year, news out of Europe has been full of strikes affecting air travel, rail transportation and even everyday sanitation services as workers protest pay, working conditions and other government policies.

“It’s normal and seasonal,” said Peter Vlitas, executive vice president of partner relations at Internova Travel Group, a travel services provider. “Travel and tourism is not on anybody’s mind as to whether or not it impacts it. It’s just what the locals do.”

For travelers, that means it’s a smart idea to check if flights, hotel reservations and other plans overlap with already announced labor action. And even if nothing is on the books, experts say vacationers should arrive in Europe armed with some backup plans.

“Traveling to Europe in the spring at least and maybe for part of the summer is going to be a minefield in terms of navigating strikes and travelers having to think of what are their plans B, C and so on,” said travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group.

Experts say it’s unlikely that strikes will ruin an entire vacation — but travelers should prepare for unexpected roadblocks.