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10 Ways to Make Traveling Easier

It should be, “Oh boy, we’re going travelling” not “Oh Brother.” We hope these tips will help you discover the friendly skies and the joy of travelling.

Hot Ticket
Airline ticket prices change daily or even hourly. Fair? No. True? Yes. There are several website that will help this situation Airfarewatchdog has analysts who scour airline websites and other sources to find you the best deals and send an email daily. Tripwatcher will send instant emails when fares for your selected route drop.

Give Me a Card
Whoever first said, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” never tried redeeming reward miles.  It’s best to use one card for all your purchase when trying to stock up rewards. Picking that card is another matter. Nerd wallet and Cardhub are just two of the sites that can help compare card benefits as pertains to reward miles and hotel rewards.

Package Deals
Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia all offer package deals including airfare, hotel, rental cars and or hotel transfers. These are almost always the way to go if you are hoping to be whisked away to a resort. Apple Vacations and Funjet also have hundreds of vacation packages, especially to Mexico and the Caribbean. Hotels don’t care to be seen offering lower rates to you, when others there paid more, but they can hide those lower rates in the package deals. Plus, it sure is easier to pay for everything with one click of the mouse.

Pack It In
Packing is easy if you’re going to Hedonism in Jamaica or any nudist resort. I mean come on, how hard is it to pack a toothbrush? Any other place and you’ll probably be needing clothes. One rule of thumb is pack your suitcase a day early, then remove half. In this day of being charged for luggage, travelling light has become mandatory. Some items can not only be bought at your destination, but sometimes way cheaper as well. You can also get a better version sometimes. Our household swears the Neosporin we bought in Mexico works better.

Dress for Success
Mother always made us dress up for air travel because that’s what civilized people do. Boy, if she could only see me now. If I’m flying to the tropics, my attire could best be described as “Chic Beach Bum” and the “Chic” part is pushing it. Anywhere else we fly, I try to look presentable. Whether you want to admit it or not, the guy in the slacks and sport coat–don’t forget the smile too–gets a tad more cooperation then me in my cargo shorts and flip flops. Of course the smile is the most important part. Good attitude goes further than anything.

Look at Me, I’m a VIP
Those exclusive airline lounges are not as exclusive as they used to be. No longer do I have to create a scene at the desk so The Wife can sneak in and cop some free doughnuts. Not that I ever did that of course. Now, some airlines sell day passes from around $50. Not that that doughnut is worth $50 bucks, and you’re not getting all liquored up for free once you get in, but they are way nicer places to hang out and you’ll probably get a bagel or two while you’re there.

Upgrade Me Please
Free upgrades are rare, but they do happen. Here’s where the nicer wardrobe and smile come in handy. You can try to improve your seats 24 hours before a flight as this is when the airline starts upgrading elite fliers, opening up some better seats for us regular Joes.

Room at the Inn
In the movies the guy slips a twenty to the front desk clerk and gets a suite. Since I’m too cheap to try it myself, I usually go with the smile once again. Front desk clerks do have the authority to give you a better room, location or view. Later in the day works better as they have a better idea on what’s available. Sending an email in advance helps and if you are a return customer, try to prove it or mention it in your email.

Tipping is not a City in China
Checking in with the skycap at the airport curb is the fastest and easiest way to go. A lot of airports have cut this service out unfortunately. If available, tip a couple bucks per bag and they will probably bend the weight limit if you’re a bit over. Bring a lot of one dollar bills when travelling; it’s quite embarrassing to tip a $5 and then ask for change. When at a bar, always tip big after your first drink. This doesn’t mean you should stiff the bartender after that, I would never do such a thing, but the first one counts the most.

Info is But a Click Away
Research is so much easier in these modern times. You can just Google (don’t you just love that word) any place on earth and find out all about it. Trip Advisor is an excellent site for reviews on hotels, excursions, tour groups or restaurants. Just be careful and read a lot of reviews before forming an opinion. I once read someone slamming a resort we were considering in Mexico because they served too much Mexican food. Huh? She also mentioned they needed to teach the staff better English. At the end, it listed her address as in Texas. Now, who was it who needed to speak better English?

by Michael Ryan


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