The best ways to travel on a budget

The summer travel season is here, offering endless destination options and the chance to relax and recharge with friends, family and loved ones. If you have children, this time of year can make vacation planning easier as families do not have to work around school schedules, but it can also be an expensive time to travel. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next trip, stretching those travel dollars even further.

1.) Be a bargain-hunter
We’ve all heard of finding a cheap flight by using aggregator sites such as kayak.com or trivago.com, but there are other places to seek great deals, including online “warehouses,” like Groupon Getaways, TravelZoo and LivingSocial.1 Be sure to read the fine print on any deal.

2.) Be detailed in your research
When you are looking for places to stay while on vacation, scrutinize the details of resort and hotel offerings. Don’t assume that all amenities are included. For example, is breakfast free? Are
wifi and parking free? Expenses can add up quickly, especially if you have a large family. Do your homework before booking your next trip.

3.) Remain flexible
If you don’t have to be restricted to a family trip in summer, try booking your next vacation during an off-peak season where a better rate is most likely offered. While the weather might be a bit
cooler or warmer than expected during the off season, some attractions or parks may be less crowded leading to a potentially more enjoyable experience while also saving you money. When it comes to hotels, sites such as Hotel Tonight and Last Minute Hotels rewards those who practice patience and flexibility with last minute deals and discounts of up to 60% on their stay.1

4.) Find alternate places to stay
Whether you are traveling alone or with your family, you can save money simply by staying outside of the city-center. Opt for a hotel just outside the city limits and you could save a bundle.

5.) Be open-minded
When traveling on a budget, people often default to simply looking at the cheapest hotels but that isn’t the only budget-friendly option available. There are endless opportunities for your stay if you
just keep an open mind. Airbnb, for example, offers many different accommodations, from extra rooms in private homes to entire vacation villas and even live-in sailboats – many of which can be
less per night than a standard hotel. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun!

6.) Earn rewards points and join clubs
Do your research on good travel clubs and travel email groups, and investigate your credit card’s rewards system. Each of those options may save you hundreds on your vacation, whether in the form of heavily discounted airline tickets or lower prices on rental cars, hotels or vacation packages.

1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/09/30/7-ways-to-travel-smarter-cheaper-and-more-often/#63e961704a76

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Six Ways to Expedite Airport Security with Ease

With the busy summer travel season in full swing, extra-crowded airports and a record number of travelers projected to take to the skies this year, the need for a way to ease through security checkpoints has never been greater.1 Whether you’re traveling with your family for vacation or you’re a business traveler flying interstate to a meeting, here are six tips to help bypass the crowds and breeze through airport security:

  • Sign Up for TSA Pre®: If eligible, this expedited way of traveling typically allows passengers to keep their shoes, belts and light outerwear on, as well as to leave laptops and TSA-compliant liquids inside carry-on bags.
  • Try Other Travel Programs: Business and leisure travelers alike may enjoy great benefits from Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI, which allow travelers to move quickly through the customs process, across borders when traveling internationally. Check out thiscomparison chart to see which Trusted Traveler Program best fits the trip you are planning.
  • Match Your ID to Your Booking: When securing your travel booking, be sure to enter your name as it appears on your driver’s license or state-issued ID. If these do not match at a security checkpoint, your travels may be delayed.
  • Double-check for Banned Items: Let’s face it, even the savviest of travelers sometimes slip up while packing their carry-on luggage. As a rule of thumb, check your bags before arriving at the airport, as prohibited items in your carry-on could lead to revocation of your expedited traveler privileges.
  • ID your Electronics: Laptops, cameras and phones can inadvertently be left behind at security checkpoints due to the nature of the screening process. Always take a second look at security checkpoint bins to be sure you have all of your items. Remember to label belongings with your contact information so items can be returned safely to you if you leave them behind. Alternatively, contact the TSA lost and found service.
  • Mind Your Carry-on: Try not to overpack your carry-on bag. Stuffing everything in one piece of luggage may save a little money on a checked-bag fee, but could cost you more in time wasted. A jam-packed bag may slow down the screening process and the security checkpoint line, potentially setting off alarms as the bag progresses through the X-ray machine.

Visit the Transportation and Security Administration website for more great tips on expedited security, passport advice, crossing U.S. borders, and more.

 

1 https://www.dhs.gov/blog/2017/05/25/how-not-be-guy-airport-checkpoint

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Solo travel tips from record‐breaking world traveler

Solo travel continues to rise in popularity, with the trend showing women in particular embracing the benefits of traveling alone. Last week, AIG Travel #WhereNext? Twitter followers were offered the
chance to hear from the ultimate expert in female solo travel, Cassie De Pecol.

Cassie, a modern day female explorer who is the first documented  local!
 TripIt is one of my fav travel apps for keeping travel plans organized.
 I love Tripit and Rome2Rio. Both must‐have apps for travel
What has inspired you to travel the world sustainably, especially during Expedition 196?
 Our future generations. Thinking of them as I aimed to offset my carbon footprint and promote
sustainable hospitality.

How can regular travelers offset their carbon footprints? What did you do?
 Google is a great resource to provide sustainable hotel and responsible tour recommendations based on your destination.
 Focus on companies that are locally‐owned/hire local guides!
 I think too many people are unaware of the damage they can do as travelers. Education is always the key!
 There are so many ways to travel sustainably! Here are 7 ways that we love:

http://spr.ly/60128mtae

Tips on preserving local culture and heritage when traveling to a new country?

 Engage in local activities, respect the people, partner with donation organizations in that region/donate to their projects.
 Start by learning about and respecting the local culture. Use homestays, visit authentic places, rather than touristy ones.
 Reduce carbon emissions & book non‐stop flights for fewer take‐offs, landings. More on Travel Guard http://spr.ly/60098m8tZ

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How to Avoid Jet Lag

If you are traveling overseas, chances are, you want to make the most of your time. That means there’s really no room for jet lag, the symptoms of which are daytime sleepiness, confusion, hunger at inappropriate times, and general irritability. So, given the sudden shift in time, how do you stay at your best on a vacation? To fend off the symptoms of a sudden time adjustment, consider these tips:

Reset your internal clock before leaving.
It may seem like a hassle, but attempt to adjust your sleep schedule and eating patterns to the time zone to which you will be traveling. Begin the new schedule at least four days before your departure date.1 Then, when you arrive at your destination, all that you willneed to do is adapt your daily routine to your surroundings.

Schedule overnight flights.
If your flight to your destination is overnight, you can get ahead of sleep along the way
and better adapt to your destination’s time upon arrival. If you’re flying coach, select a
window seat and bring a small pillow to prop yourself against the wall of the plane.

Cut out coffee.
While you might not exactly feel wired after you drink a caffeinated beverage, caffeine
remains in your system for 12 hours – a good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine for at
least that many hours before your flight to prevent it from affecting your sleep.2

Hydrate.
Mild dehydration is commonly associated with jet lag.3 In order to stay as hydrated aspossible, try to consume at least eight ounces of water every hour before and during your flight – even if you don’t feel thirsty.4

Avoid alcohol.
The air in flight is more prone to dry out your body, which can make you more
susceptible to jet lag. The effects of alcohol can also be quickened by the altitude. In order to feel more rested once you hit the ground in another country, try to avoid drinking alcohol while on the plane.

 

 

1 http://www.fodors.com/news/10-tips-to-avoid-jet-lag-4457
2www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/travel-tips-ways-to-minimize-jet-lag
3 Ibid.
4 http://www.fodors.com/news/10-tips-to-avoid-jet-lag-4457

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Sunburn and Heatstroke Prevention Tips and Tricks

The season of sun means fun for everyone. Think of families on vacation, newlywed couples on their honeymoons, or a group of college friends on a cross-country road trip. Whatever the summer holds in store, before you embark on that journey of a lifetime, be sure you protect yourself during all your sun-filled activities. Remember, sunburn and heatstroke are completely predictable and preventable.

Here are a few tips to remember from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing so that your body can cool properly.
  • Protect against sunburn.Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and  sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 15. Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.Staying hydrated will help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Be aware of medications.Some medications may affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and control Be aware of any sensitivities to your medications before heading out and choose to spend time in the sun or shade, accordingly. If you will be traveling in unfamiliar territory, have local emergency numbers/addresses on hand in case you experience heat-related medical problems.
  • Avoid “hot car” tragedies.Don’t leave your child (or anyone, for that matter) in a hot car. When a car is parked in the sun, the temperature inside can rise 20° F in 10 minutes, which means an outside temperature of 80° F easily can reach 100° or more, potentially killing people who are unable to get out.
  • Take it easy when it’s hottest.Sometimes, travel plans include strenuous activities. If that’s the case, undertake those activities in the cool evenings and mornings to help avoid overexerting yourself. Remember to drink fluids and rest frequently in a spot that’s not overly warm. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for times when temperatures will be moderate.
  • Acclimate yourself.If you are transitioning from a cool climate at home to a significantly warmer one at your destination, give yourself time to get acclimated to the heat. If you are not conditioned to the hot weather, you are even more susceptible to heatstroke.

 

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10 Ways to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Planning for a vacation can be an exciting time. While focused on everything ahead of you, it sometimes can be too easy to sail out the door without a second thought. But before you embark on any vacations, you may want to consider the following ways to protect your home while you are gone. It’s easy and just takes a little foresight.

  1. Hold Your Mail

If you will be away from home for more than a few days, consider putting your mail delivery on hold or asking a person you trust to pick your mail up for you. Newspapers piling up in your mailbox or on your lawn scream, “No one is home!”

  1. Make Your House Look “Lived In”

If you know you’ll be traveling for a while, don’t draw attention to your absence by leaving the lawn unmowed. Before you depart, set lights on a timer or schedule the TV and radio to go on or off at various times. Remember, you want to create the illusion that someone is there to act as a deterrent so robbers aren’t tempted to enter your home.

Here are a few additional pointers:

  • During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm.
  • Leave an unrolled hose outside or, if you have children, a few toys in the yard.
  • Overall, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.
  1. Zip it

Don’t announce to the world that you’ll be out of town. Refrain from talking loudly in public about your departure and posting about your upcoming vacation on Facebook or other social sites. Social media settings aren’t foolproof, and sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish public content from private posts. To stay safe, don’t mention your trip until you’re back home.

  1. Trust a Friend

Record your itinerary, phone number and other important information on a sheet of paper and give it, along with a house key, to a trusted neighbor or friend. If there’s an emergency while you are gone, your neighbor or friend may be able to intervene or at least reach you.

  1. Advertise Your Security

While it’s not a good idea to advertise your whereabouts when you go on vacation, it is good to blatantly advertise your security measures. Post general security alarm warning stickers on your windows, install real or fake security cameras, or put up a “neighborhood watch” sign in your yard.

  1. Unplug

Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to help protect your home from an electrical fire or a power surge. This includes items big or small, from TVs, to your toaster, your coffee maker, and other appliances.

  1. Remove the Spare Key

Many people hide a spare key on their property so that they (or their kids!) will never get locked out of their home. Before you leave for a trip, remove the spare key. You don’t want any nosy thieves letting themselves into your home.

  1. Adjust Your Thermostats

Consider that while you are gone, your house doesn’t need to maintain the same temperature as while you are there. Set the air conditioner to go on only at 85°. You can also lower the temperature on your water heater.1 Although these measures don’t enhance security, they certainly help protect your hard-earned dollars, and perhaps leaving you extra cash to spend on your vacation.

  1. Lock Valuables Away

Lock jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fireproof safe.1

  1. Alert Your Alarm Company

If you have a home alarm system, call the monitoring service to let the staff know you’ll be away. Make sure all door and window alarms are set and working when you leave.1

 

1 https://www.safety.com/blog/10-ways-to-protect-your-home-while-youre-on-vacation/

 

 

 

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How to Avoid Common Travel Scams

Many destinations around the world have creative locals who are looking to take advantage of nsuspecting tourists. While many travelers may think they’re too savvy to fall for these tactics, the truth is, anyone is susceptible to travel scam pros. Make sure you travel smart and read up on the types of scams that are out there, so they don’t happen to you. Here are several travel scams, courtesy of NomadicMatt.com, that are currently  popular:

The taxi overcharge
This scam is simple: The driver will tell you the taxi meter is broken or you will notice that the fare on the meter seems to be rising quicker than it should. To avoid falling victim to this type of scam, do your research ahead of time and figure out the appropriate cost for a taxi ride in the city you are visiting. For added assurance, verify this potential cost with a hotel employee before you call the cab. Try to find a driver who will agree to this rate ahead of time, and always make sure they’re licensed at your destination.

Closed attractions
When you are in another country and hoping to visit a specific museum or other attraction, a local stops you and says that the destination is closed that day or simply
closed for lunch. The person then guides you to another location, where the pressure is
on to purchase something or pay a lot for entry. To avoid this pitfall while traveling,
check the attraction’s ticket counter or main entrance to view for yourself the hours thatthe venue is open.

The freebie ploy
If you are vacationing in Europe, be aware of a scam that involves a friendly person
coming up to you and trying to put a bracelet around your wrist “for free.” Once you’re
wearing it, the individual will demand money and if refused, will make an embarrassing
scene to convince you to give in.

Spill on your clothing
If you are in another country and all of a sudden, someone “accidently” spills coffee or
another beverage on you, the first thing you should think about is whether you are about
to be scammed. Typically, the perpetrator apologizes profusely and causes such a
scene that you don’t notice they are picking your pocket at the same time. Always be
mindful of unfamiliar people who are close to you, and insist that you clean up the spill
yourself. Then, distance yourself from the perpetrator immediately.

A fake petition
While sightseeing, beware of a local approaching you and asking you to sign a petition.
While seemingly innocent, the goal is to get your signature and then demand money asa cash donation.

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