TRAVEL TIPS

We like to give our clients as much information as possible and that includes any helpful tips when it comes to traveling.  We are always looking for easier, safer and better ways to travel.
 

FLYING 

1.  IndependentTraveler.com says the best deals are way in advance or right before your trip.   If you are going to wait until the last minute, here is a TIP:  Fly on Tuesday afternoons!  After the weekend, airlines will drop their prices trying to get you to fly during the week.  Tickets will usually go on sale Monday afternoon for that Tuesday flight.  So if you are willing to wait last minute, you can get some great deals on Monday.

2.  Looking for deals can be daunting.  Going directly to the airline to buy your ticket isn't usually the most cost-effective method, but some airlines, like Southwest and Allegiant, only sell tickets on their websites.  The biggest time saver is with sites such as KAYAK, Expedia and CheapTickets.  These sites allow you to search multiple airlines to find the lowest prices. The best part is you can change your search parameters easily to look for rates at different airports and on different dates.

3.  If you travel a lot, we recommend having a travel kit, for your toiletries, stocked in a waterproof case and sitting in your luggage ready to go. It will save you time before you leave and frustration once you get there.   TIP:  Don’t fill the bottles up to the very top.  Pressure inside the plane may force the contents to expand and overflow
 

CAR RENTALS

1.  Rental Insurance.  They have Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW).  The idea is good, but you need to know a few things before you say yes out of fear. 

  • If the renter is in violation of the rental agreement in any way, the insurance is voided.
  • Your personal auto insurance may already provide coverage for rental cars.
  • Usually it is an optional feature, but a few companies require renters to purchase the waiver. Ask that question before you book.
  • If you have to get it, ask about larger, nicer vehicles.  Sometimes the larger car rate already includes the waiver and it will be close to the same cost per day for the more luxurious ride.
  • Some credit card companies offer insurance when you use them as a cardholder benefit. Sometimes it is supplemental to your own insurance which means that if you were in an accident, your insurance would cover the repair costs up to the maximum on the policy and then the credit card company will cover the difference. 

2.  Most people rent cars for less than a week and your best bet is using the big boys like National, Enterprise, Avis or Alamo, etc.  But if you are going to rent for longer than a week, you might get a great deal from a local auto dealer. 

3.  Look on-line for coupons for your car rental company.  It’s easy.  Type in the name of the company and the words “coupon code” and you can find all kinds of deals. 

4.  Do not use the prepaid gasoline plans if you want to save money.  If your flight is at the crack of dawn and you don’t want to worry about finding a gas station, then it is a convenience, but you will pay for it.  By filling the tank yourself, you are making sure you only pay for the gas you use.  Also, avoid gas stations close to the airport.  They know you forgot and are desperate and they raise their prices significantly.  You can go to GasBuddy.com to find cheap gas in your area.

5.  Be careful of returning the car too early or too late.  Believe it or not, they actually have an early return fee!  You pay if you’re late too.  If you are going to be late, they only give you a 30-minute grace period. 

 

HOTELS

We recently traveled to an area of the country and the web page showed the hotel to be amazing.  The pictures were gorgeous!  Trip Advisor’s reviews said it was great. The internet is an amazing thing.  Before you book, try out a webpage called Oyster.com.  They have a Photo Fakeout section where you can see the picture on the brochure and compare it to the actual picture of the hotel.  It’s a real eye opener. 

 

Some TIPS:

1.  If you can’t reach a real person by phone or email, then you might want to rethink your stay.  If they can’t respond when they want your business, how will they be once you are there? 

2.  Look at the real pictures on Google Maps Street View. 

3.  Go to TripAdvisor which is a great site, but DON’T just read the first five reviews.  Scroll through them and find travelers with similar likes to yours.
 

Travel Guides

One thing to ask yourself is what do you want out of your vacation.  Seeing all of the typical sights is easy; every major map has them listed.  But if you want a real understanding of the destination,  and you want a unique experience then you could hire a guide.  There are many ways to do this. 

There are apps now that provide audio guides at locations all around the world.  Each guided tour costs approximately $1.99.  The audio guide tells you ways around the city, great local restaurants to eat and other special events you can partake in like Gladiator training in Italy or mediation training with monks in Thailand

Another option is Guide Buddy (https:guidebuddy.me) where you book unique travel services by the locals.  Here in the US you can hire a guide from Seattle, San Fancisco, New York and many more.  In fact you can sign up to be a guide for your local area!