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34 Swift & Sly Travel Tip-Offs

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Sunday, December 1, 2013

travel, discounts
   
Airline fares, jet lag, hotels, lost luggage, cruises, car rentals, reward programs, there’s no end to navigating the complex but exciting world of globe trotting or domestic travel. Here are a variety of sneaky and crafty tips to save you money and create a memorable and trouble-free travel experience.

Indispensable Apps

XE Currency – Worldwide exchange rates. (www.xe.com/currencyconverter)‎

MPassport – Worldwide accredited doctor and hospital finder. (mpassport.com)‎

Lonely Planet Fast Talk – Handy foreign word and phrase translator. (www.lonelyplanet.com/apps-and-ebooks)

Uber – Automobile reservations in 52 countries. (www.uber.com)‎

GateGuru – Airport maps, discounted car rentals, and restaurant reviews in more than 100 airports. (gateguru.com)

Airbnb - Stay with a family instead of a hotel. This app lists 500,000 homes in 34,000 cities and 192 countries. Also provides opportunities to make extra money by signing up as a host. (www.airbnb.com)

StopJetLag – Help to schedule your itinerary for maximum efficiency, plenty of rest, and minimize jetlag. (www.stopjetlag.com)

Traxo – The ultimate free digital travel wallet. Keep track of your flight, hotel, and auto-rental reservations. Also provides travel tools, perks, and expert advice. (www.traxo.com)

FlightFox – Hire a highly qualified and verified travel expert to work with you to save money, time, and dodge inevitable hassles and annoying surprises. (www.flightfox.com)

Cruising

----If you book a full year in advance the savings are usually 20% or more for the majority of cruise lines and travel packages.

----Smart cruisers save a fortune when they schedule their trips during Shoulder season, which is immediately before or after the regular peak seasons. For cruises in Europe, the greatest savings are in trips in April and October. Alaskan and Australian cruises are a bargain in September and May. For the Caribbean, it’s the first 2 weeks of December and the middle of January.  For a complete list: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/cruising-seasons-calendar

----Many cruise ships “reposition” to another part of the world once or twice annually and the savings can be as much as 40%. Spring is the time to look for cruise ships travelling from Asia to the U.S., from the Caribbean to either Alaska or Europe, and from Latin America to Europe. In September and October they travel back in the other direction. For an overview: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1212

Save Money on Airfare

Airfarewatchdog.com tenaciously scours airline websites and provides the best prices and bargains daily in your email inbox.   

Tripwatcher will give you the best flight deals once you sign up and tell them your itinerary.  http://www.hotwire.com/trip-watcher/index.jsp   

GetGoing.com  Their mission page says it all: “With our FlightFinder™ technology, we search for multiple places at once based on your search criteria — enabling you to search by city, region, country or even experience - and then we find you the most affordable flights.”

Hotels

----AllTheRooms is the world’s only complete accommodation search engine, combining hotels with vacation rentals, secret deals, and all other types of accommodations available online. With a comprehensive array of options, AllTheRooms saves the savvy traveler time and money by combining absolutely every room into one well-designed search engine. AllTheRooms shows all available rooms in one search. https://www.alltherooms.com/

----Newly opened hotels crave customers and sometimes offer bigger discounts than most established hotels.

----When returning to a city, stay in the same hotel and tell the front desk you’re a return guest. Many hotels give priority to regular customers.

----Consider bringing your own bottled water. US luxury hotels charge for a standard small bottle anywhere from $4.00 (Las Vegas) to $7.25 (N.Y.C.) and $7.81 (L.A.).

----Sign up for your hotel’s loyalty program. Some of the benefits are: newspaper delivery, free Wi-Fi, spa credits, restaurant mark-downs, shoeshine, and complimentary BMW bicycle rentals.

----For hotels that don’t offer free Wi-Fi, for $7.99 monthly boingo.com gives you access to 700,000 hot spots worldwide.

----Hipmunk.com compiles continuous last-second vacant room deals 72 hours before your arrival. “Hipmunk saves you time by comparing top hotel and travel sites to find cheap hotels and the best deals on hotel rooms.”

----TheSuitest.com is the self-proclaimed Swanky Hotel Intelligence Engine that provides a fairly reliable algorithm that predicts the cost of a specific hotel room six months in advance.

----Tingo.com – When or if a hotel drops its rate after your booking, this service will “lock in the lower rate and refund you the difference”.

----Book your entire trip with the highly popular Expedia, Travelocity, or Orbitz and the hotel rates will be significantly lower.

Car Rentals

----Airport car rentals can be very expensive. Kayak.com provides the best deals in car rental locations close to the airport.

----AutoSlash.com offers what no one else does: “AutoSlash knows about all the best coupons and discount codes. After you book, we analyze your rental and figure out which ones lower your rate the most. Then we automatically apply those discounts and re-book you at the lowest rate. AutoSlash re-prices your rental multiple times a day. If we find a better deal, we'll automatically re-book you to lock in the savings. It's like price protection for your rental.”

Luggage

----Worried about losing your precious luggage? Place the tiny Trakdot box inside your luggage. It will automatically transmit its location to your Trakdot app, your email, or the Trakdot website. The price is $50 plus $13 annual fee.  (www.trakdot.com)

----Who can you trust to NOT lose your luggage? The US Department of Transportation rates American Eagle as the worst for luggage handling in 2012-2013. The best:
1)  Virgin America
2) JetBlue
3) AirTran

Miscellaneous

----Is seat leg room, Wi-Fi availability, or in-flight entertainment more important to you than flight departure or cost? SeatGuru.com is the unrivaled leader. “SeatGuru.com is a website that features aircraft seat maps, seat reviews, and a color-coded system to identify superior and sub-standard airline seats.”

----Most travel industry firms are highly responsive to social media complaints. Tweet your gripe to the company’s twitter handle.

----Which is faster and cheaper – driving, the train, or flying? Rome2Rio.com helps you compare. Multiple options are given between almost any two destinations.

----If flying with Japan Airlines, LAN, or British Airways, book your flight with the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The plane is designed with considerably less cabin pressure to minimize jet lag.

----Spend some free time constructively and gain valuable information from the online forums of air travel veterans and industry insiders at Flyertalk.com.

----Which travel-reward programs are the best for you? Nerdwallet.com analyzes and sizes up the good from the useless.

The editors, “Trip Doctor: Before You Go”, Travel & Leisure, December 2013

Photo: Britannica.com CC 
                 

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

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