Six Money-Saving Travel Tips

credit-cardIn the U.S., many experts believe the cost of living – including housing, food and transportation – is going up. If you’re like many Americans who love to travel and are trying to figure out how you can do more of it without breaking the bank, consider the tips below to save money wherever your next trip takes you.

  • Remain flexible when choosing flights.
    When planning your trip, resolve to remain flexible on when you leave and from which city you depart. Sometimes leaving from a neighboring city or flying an extra hour early will mean saving a significant amount of money on flight tickets.
  • Use credit card reward points.
    When choosing a new credit card, research available travel-related programs and benefits. Then, use your credit card for most of your everyday purchases and watch your points add up (be sure to pay off your balance at the end of each month to avoid interest and fees). Some cards allow you to exchange such points for discounts on airline miles, allowing you to fly at a discount.
  • When it comes to your travel itinerary, think free.
    Plan ahead and research places of interest at your destination. Many tourist sites offer discounts when you visit on certain days or during certain hours. Not sure where to start? Search for the business list on the local Chamber of Commerce website, or the equivalent for the area to which you’re traveling. Other ideas include1:
  • See a street fair, concert, or cultural event
  • Catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise
  • Take a walk or a bike ride
  • Play in the park
  • Attend free movie screenings in local cafes and hostels
  • Swim at a beach or a lake
  • Climb a mountain
  • Visit a market

  • Get to know the locals, and what they do.
    Ask the locals in the area of your destination about places to go and things to do. Those who live there may offer valuable insights into neighborhood hot spots and even off-the-beaten-path attractions. Plus, you may also make a friend or learn about a discount.
  • When possible, focus your travel on one destination.
    Take your time while on vacation to leisurely explore all your destination has to offer. Slow down, take in more, and enjoy the scenery along the way. Doing so may help you avoid additional flights or transportation costs.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance.
    Even the most budget-conscious travelers may have their plans derailed by unanticipated events, such as flight delays/cancellations, lost baggage or a medical emergency during their journey. A small outlay for travel insurance may save you a lot of money if you experience a covered trip mishap. Plus, most Travel Guard plans include 24/7 travel assistance services that can help with needs such as flight and hotel rebookings, emergency medical coordination, lost luggage retrieval, and more.

For more great ways you could potentially save money while you travel, check out this great article at YTravelBlog.com.


1
http://www.ytravelblog.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel/

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Zika Virus: Key Facts Travelers Need to Know

What you need to know about the Zika virus.

What you need to know about the Zika virus.

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Spring Break Travel Tips

When you plan a trip over Spring Break, you look forward to making memories with your family or friends – not to experiencing travel mishaps. Unfortunately, some Spring Break trips are one case of the sniffles away from the doctor’s office, one unwelcome storm away from a flight cancellation, or one plane ride away from lost luggage. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Help ensure smooth Spring Break travel by considering these travel tips:

  • Do your pre-trip research: Travel is easier when there’s a plan. If you map out your activities and travel routes, you may avoid wasting precious vacation time, shelling out extra money, getting lost, or stressing out.
  • Don’t forget the meds: Pack ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal treatment, and other important medications in your purse or carry-on in case someone in your family needs them. These can be lifesavers on a flight or in the middle of a road trip.
  •  Choose a road trip partner: Take turns behind the wheel, and have someone sit shotgun to keep the driver awake and all eyes on traffic and road markers.
  • Consider hotel safety: Request a room above the first floor to help prevent theft, and if a safe is available, lock away high-value items. Keep doors locked and note where the fire exits are located.
  •  Participate in free activities: Call your destination’s local visitor’s bureau and ask about events and attractions that are free and child-friendly. These offerings can be a true boon for the budget-conscious traveler.
  • Explore theme park VIP options: If you are traveling to a theme park, check for VIP passes that give you back-door access to rides or guides that allow you to see and do more without the hassle. While both options are pricey, they may be worthwhile to bypass long lines and congestion in the park.
  •  Pack a travel insurance plan: Lost luggage, flight delays and medical emergencies can happen no matter where you travel. It helps to know you are covered for the unexpected. Most travel insurance plans even include 24/7 travel assistance services which can help with hotel/flight re-bookings and other
    stressful activities.
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8 Travel Scams Happening in Europe and How to Avoid Them

8 Travel Scams Happening in Europe

8 Travel Scams Happening in Europe

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Six ways to make your own travel “luck” in March

Let’s face it – traveling can be expensive, and if you aren’t careful, it can create more hassle than staying home. If you know where to look, there are many ways to catch a break when you travel. There’s no need for the luck of the Irish – just follow these six “magic” tips!

• Skip the lines with TSA Pre ✓: Get to the front of the airport line faster with TSA pre-check services. One study from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) found that business travelers who are enrolled in the Transportation Security Administration’s expedited screening program, TSA PreCheck, are much more satisfied with air travel than those who have not signed up.1

• Remember the magic number: As a guideline, book airline tickets for domestic flights within the U.S. 47 days before your trip. The most recent CheapAir.com study shows this is when airline tickets are likely to be at their lowest price.2 For less exacting travelers, researchers say booking between 104 and 29 days before travel is a good rule of thumb for securing the lowest possible price.3

• Take advantage of “Lucky Tuesday”: According to farecompare.com, the best day of the week to book your flight is Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. What’s behind the lucky number three? Airlines are said to release the most competitor-matched sales at this time.4

• Use your credit card points: Looking to travel at a fraction of the cost? You may not have to look any further than your credit card. Many credit cards offer travel points for deep discounts on airline tickets and more. Usually, you can call the credit card company to schedule your flight tickets for you; sometimes, they’ll even be free.

• Want an an upgrade? Ask for it: There are a few ways to ask for an upgrade. First, ask your travel agent if he or she may secure one through his or her relationships with some of the airlines. Sometimes, when flights don’t fill up, there are seats left open in business class, and you may ask about a free upgrade to them at the check-in counter. Finally, if you have a title, use it – judges, ministers and doctors are more likely to get upgrades than other travelers.5

• Research discounts/deals at your travel destination: Review the visitor’s bureau website or other resources local to your travel destination. Often, these sites will provide information on free activities, including concerts, festivals and more to give you a taste of the local culture.

• Learn to love off-season travel: Traveling during less popular months could benefit you in several ways, including shorter lines at popular destinations, and discounts on hotels and other accommodations. When planning your trip, look at the off seasons of a few destinations, and take note of special offers for travelers who visit them that time of year.

 

1 http://skift.com/2016/02/01/business-travelers-like-avoiding-long-lines-at-the-airport/ 2 https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/when-to-buy-airline-tickets-based-on-1-5-billion-airfares
3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/01/best-time-to-book-a-flight_n_4875266.html 4 http://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/tips-from-air-travel-insiders/#/
5 http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/travelers-ed/first-class-for-free-how-to-get-an-airline-upgrade

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Five Romantic Valentine’s Day Destinations

February is known as the month of love. While many will acknowledge their sweetheart by giving roses, chocolates, and other tokens of their love, others will whisk their partner away to a destination where love is likely to be in the air. Check out our favorite spots to spark romance this Valentine’s Day:

1.) Savannah, Georgia
Take a step back to yesteryear and old-fashioned love when you travel to Savannah. The rustic cobblestone streets, wispy Spanish moss, and southern hospitality are sure to inspire you and your significant other to get close and savor each moment. As lovebirds, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy nature and each other’s company while paddling a canoe for two on a Wilderness Southeast tour.1 Stay close while viewing the coast when you travel along the Savannah River on a brunch or dinner riverboat cruise. When you arrive back in the city’s historic district, you’ll find many stately, classic, yet upscale restaurants and cozy bed and breakfasts at which to extend your stay. Be sure to visit the 158-year-old fountain in Forsyth Park and make a wish!

2.) San Juan, Puerto Rico
No passport, no problem! If a quick, sunny and fun beach getaway is what your relationship needs, take a trip to Puerto Rico. With no passport requirements and speedy, direct flights from many airports in the continental United States, this destination is an easy Valentine’s Day choice. Let your love grow in San Juan, a historic city perfect for strolling or lounging.1 Spark romance by opting for an oceanfront room, champagne, a massage, and a trip to the Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo.1 Witness a magical phenomenon when the bay glitters at night due to the microscopic plankton in the water.

3.) Venice, Italy
Venice is a great spot for hopeless romantics. Merely thinking about the destination conjures up images of a couple on a gondola, being rowed in gentle waters as the city bustles by. Don’t forget to stop at Saint Mark’s Square, where you can view Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, enjoy fine-dining restaurants, shops and eateries.

4.) Santorini, Greece
Santorini is smokin’ hot – and not just because it’s part of a still-active volcano. This destination is the place to be for couples, no matter the season, because of its pristine location on the Aegean Sea. As Viator’s Travel Blog has shared, “regularly making the list of one of the most romantic destinations in the world, Santorini boasts whitewashed buildings, blue-capped churches and stunning views of the sea. Take a donkey ride or hop on a boat to check out a steaming volcano, and then unwind in hot springs and tour a vineyard.”2

5.) Prague, Czech Republic
While Prague be a bit chilly in February, it’s a wonderfully romantic destination to jet off to for Valentine’s Day. This picturesque city features the largest ancient castle in the world3, as well as Gothic churches, vibrant buildings and cozy restaurants. Legend has it that if you kiss your darling in front of the statue of the romantic poet Karel Macha, your mutual love will be eternal.4 Celebrate your relationship on a river cruise or take a romantic stroll through narrow, cobbled streets in the Old Town on a moonlit night. Get to know firsthand why Prague is also famous for romantic dining.

No matter where your romantic journey may take you, explore travel insurance options in advance to help ensure that your vacation will be hassle-free. Valentine’s Day is for celebrating love, not pining over lost luggage, trip delay/cancellation, or emergency travel medical needs.

1 http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/romance-and-honeymoons/articles/valentines-day-vacations
2 http://travelblog.viator.com/top-10-romantic-destinations-in-europe-for-valentines-day/
3http://content.time.com/time/travel/cityguide/article/0,31489,1925095_1921770_1921751,00.html
4 http://www.10best.com/destinations/czech-republic/prague/attractions/romantic-things-to-do/

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Cruise Etiquette – How to have happiness on the high waters

It’s “Wave Season,” the annual time when many cruise vacation discounts traditionally are offered, and  you’ve booked your voyage and are ready for a little excitement at sea. But don’t forget that a cruise ship often houses thousands of people and where space is limited, patience may also be limited. Don’t let that reality equate to limited courtesy. Here are some pointers on cruise ship etiquette.

Spatial awareness: Given the throngs of passengers aboard many ships, remember to show common courtesy. There’s no harm in taking the stairs if there’s a long line at the elevator. If you’re at a large table with a small group of people, make sure passersby are aware you’re willing to share the space.

Deck chair reservations: Enjoying the sun is fine, but don’t be a deck-chair hog. Don’t leave your belongings on a chair in an attempt to reserve it all day. And, certainly, clear space for someone else if you’ve been in the sun awhile and the deck is crowded.

Keep kids under control: Don’t let your kids run wild. A cruise vacation is not an excuse to stop parenting.1

Talk quietly: Slamming cabin doors and echoing voices can be heard up and down hallways in close, sometimes cramped quarters. Keep your voice down and don’t let your door slam on the way out – especially if it’s early in the day or late at night.

Follow dress codes: Many cruises have a dress code for special dinners or events. Don’t be “that guy” who shows up wearing shorts and a t-shirt without a care in the world. Be sure you read the itinerary and show up dressed accordingly.

Avoid saving seats: If you are traveling with a large group of people and you are the person who shows up early at a cruise event, don’t save 10 seats around you so your party can sit together. Either plan with your companions to show up at the same time or be okay with sitting separately.1

Don’t complain: People on vacation want to enjoy themselves. The last thing they care to listen to is someone complaining. If your day didn’t start the way you were hoping, keep that fact to yourself. If you have a legitimate complaint, make your request known to the cruise staff; they may be able to assist you.

1 http://experience.usatoday.com/cruise/story/cruise-buzz/2013/10/07/cruise-ship-etiquette-101/2936697/

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