Tips to Traveling
Tips to Traveling
From getting a few new stamps in the passport to visiting some of my favorites, I have a number of trips to look forward to this year. In anticipation of my adventures, and as someone who travels at least once a month, I thought it would be worthwhile to share my go-to advice on how to make the most out of life on the go while living out of a suitcase.
Tips to Booking Travel
Book Early - Flight prices (and even train tickets and bus fares) go up the closer to your travel date so book at least 2 weeks in advance (if not more). Check out, Flight Deal and Travel Zoo for deals.
- Be flexible - expand your search to get more (and often cheaper) options. I've been using Hipmunk for years which shows you a visual including +/- a day and/or nearby airports. And more popular destinations and/or times of year tend to jack up prices so if you have a little leeway try searching a different month or in the off season.
- Mix and match - often times booking two one way tickets on different airlines can be more cost effective than a round trip flight. Same goes for type of travel, if you have an option to drive/bus one way and fly the other direction it could be worth it.
- Maximize your miles - if you have a frequent flyer program (and you should) you can use your miles and loyalty status for freebies and/or upgrades.
- Get carded - those airline credit card offers can be tempting but if you find yourself traveling with a particular carrier more frequently it could be beneficial to sign up for their credit card (in addition to their frequent flyer program). The rewards vary depending on program/credit agency but most give you bonus points when you spend a certain amount within a certain period of time after activation so sign up when you know you'll have a few big purchases coming up to get the extra points.
- Airplanes: bigger is sometimes better - Larger aircraft have a greater chance of making it through turbulent weather. And if you can, stick to larger airports and/or hubs where there are more planes flying to/from (although keep in mind that sometimes higher volume means more demand and perhaps higher fares).
- Airports: smaller is often better too - While you might think larger is cheaper, the smaller airports in smaller towns usually have better fares since they are not as in high demand. Expand your search and look at other airports nearby the bigger cities. While not as many flight options, flying into smaller airports sometimes comes with the perk of being closer to the action (versus a long drive/uber from the airport to city center).
- Early bird gets the worm - the first flights, trains and buses of the day tend to have fewer delays. The later in the day you travel, the more likely you'll be backed up and be stuck with fewer options. Plus, you'll get to your destination sooner with more time to take advantage of your trip. You might be slightly sleep deprived, but you can nap on the plane.
- TSA Precheck for $85 you'll have 5 years and no doubt worth every penny and then some!Apply ahead of time and use your Known Traveler Number when you book to bypass all the security stress. No shoes off, no laptops out of your bag, no body scanners, no problems! More info.
- Track your Travels - I've been using Tripit for years and I can't recommend it enough. Sign up for free and when you book travel it automatically puts all your travel confirmations (including hotel, car, activities etc) in one place. You can share your itineraries with others and keep a record of previous trips and use TripitPro to get gate alerts as soon as you land and keep track of your miles all in one place. AwardWallet is another free site to track your points/miles.
- Insurance - when in doubt, it's worth it for the extra few bucks to get the travel insurance in case you get sick and plans change.
What other advice and/or resources do you use when booking travel? Comment below!