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7 New Year's Travel Resolutions

©istockphoto/stock_colors

©istockphoto/stock_colors

Hardly anyone keeps the resolutions they make every year. That’s why this year I resolve to work out less, gain at least 5 pounds. and take more nap; but that’s just me. Here are a few travel resolutions that may be a tad bit harder to keep, but will save time, money, and frustration.

Resolve to Travel More
I have never had a year where I thought I took too many vacations. I have had bosses say that, but they clearly have a different view of “vacation”. No matter how much I travel, there’s always another island to see, another beach to lay on, another country to visit, or another friend who hasn’t had the pleasure of my company in a while.

Resolve to Travel Lighter
With all the checked bag charges, and yes, carry-ons have charges these days; it’s worth your while to learn to travel lighter. The way the airlines are gaming us, it’s time we return the favor. A small backpack that can fit under your seat is considered a personal bag by most airlines and does not incur a charge. If you can get by with the 3 oz. limit on carry-on liquids for your bathroom needs, then the only thing you need to cut down on is clothes and shoes; most people carry way more than they need of both. Most hotels will supply you with essentials like razors and toothpaste if you forget them—and if you travel to the right places, personal hygiene products may be cheaper there than at home anyway.

Resolve to Be Courteous
If everyone adopted the art of being courteous to their fellow travelers, transportation would be a much more pleasant experience. The most common example frequent flyers are familiar with is the reclining seat conundrum. Brawls have been started because of this. The guy in front of me has every right to recline, but doing it slowly, or looking back and checking first is just common courtesy.

Resolve to Fly Smart
Airlines are charging for everything these days, including seat selection. It’s not always worth the extra money for a couple inches, but flying smart tells you the exit rows have more leg room. The row in front of the exit row, as well as the last row on the plane does not recline so avoid those for sure. Booking your trip about 6 weeks out usually brings the best price and package deals to all-inclusives on the beach are usually better than booking ala-carte. There are numerous booking sites that compare prices no matter what season you fly. While Orbitz or Travelocity may give the best price, some airlines punish you with extra charges if you don’t book direct through them. If you don’t need that extra checked bag, then book through the cheapest broker.

Resolve to Tip Well, Tip Often, but Tip Smart
Tipping goes far, but the timing is important. Tip the guys at the front door: the bellman, concierge, or doorman when they first help you and you will get any info, tips, help, or directions you may need for the rest of your stay. A friendly doorman will advise you on where and when it’s safe to go into town, how much you should pay, or maybe even set you up with his cousin who charges half as much. Tip your bartender right away and you’ll get better service on your second drink; don’t wait until you’re done, what good does that do you? Throwing a few bucks on the bed for the maid after your first night of a multiple night stay will not only get better service, but that cute little towel art animal will become a masterpiece of epic proportions the next night.

Resolve to Book Smart
Timing is everything when booking as well. Besides booking about 6 weeks out, pick the off season for the best rates. This doesn’t mean you have to go when the weather is bad; you just hit the “Shoulder Season.” May is a great time for travel to many places including the Caribbean and Europe. The weather is just getting good but the kiddies are still in school and the crowds are a bit smaller. October works well for both as well.

Resolve to be Happy with Less
Do you really need that ocean view? Sometimes, by the time you check in you may get upgraded for free anyway. If it’s not that important to you, why pay extra? You may not need private transportation to your hotel if there is a bus or train available. Public transportation by bus is way cheaper than taxis and sometimes just as efficient. There is a difference between being money-smart and being cheap. Only you can decide where that line is. If you resolve to be happy for less, you’ll be happy more.

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