A few hacks can go a long way when planning your next adventure.
No matter what time of the year you choose to travel, scoring a deal is always welcome, as is finding a few ways to make your experience more enjoyable. While some dread the very thought of it, others are ready to jump on to the next travel adventure in seconds. No matter which end of the travel spectrum you belong to, there is a fair chance you will learn something from the folks below who travel for leisure and work.
Travel with the Kiddos
“When planning to travel during the holidays, my favorite website to use is Skyscanner. I search for the most affordable place to travel to for the holidays, and then base my trip around that,” says Karen Apkan, content creator at TheMomTrotter.com and founder of BlackKidsDoTravel.com. As hotels and accommodations are usually expensive during the holidays, she suggests using sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway to book rental homes.
If you are set on staying in a hotel, make sure that you have a credit card that offers hotel points and use that to pay for your hotel accommodations. Because holiday travel can be hectic, and missed flights and lost luggage are bound to happen, be sure to purchase travel insurance. She adds, “I highly recommend Allianz. We have a yearly insurance plan through them which covers all trips for our family for the year.”
Travel Tips from the Pros
An ex-airline employee who travels on average more than 250,000 miles a year, Kerwin McKenzie writes airport, destination and ground transportation guides, and airline flight and hotel reviews to motivate airline employees to use their travel benefits. He has flown on 179 airlines and visited 124 countries, teaching travelers how to be loyal to travel brands at Cruisinaltitude.com. His words of advice include:
- Don't buy the lowest fare. Check to see what it includes. Oftentimes, it's the same price as the normal fare by the time you pay for the extras. Use google.com/flights to research the best fares, then book with the airline, as it's easier to make changes when there is a flight issue later. Download the app for your flight, which the airline will use to communicate flight information and you can also use it to check-in and change your travel plans easily.
- If booking more than one person for flights, check if the price is the same when you book separately or together. Sometimes the price is different for each seat due to fare availability. Ensure that your phone number and email address are in every travel reservation so you can be contacted if there is an issue with your booking.
- Be loyal to travel brands to get loyalty status, which comes with upgrades, priority boarding, no charge for the first bag on flights, etc. Get a credit card that gives you airport lounge access, but make sure the cost of the card works for your travel needs as some cards are pricey. He recommends Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred or the branded credit card for your airline.
Travel Tips For Singles
Founded in 2012 by Colleen Williams, the Ad-lib Traveller blog serves as a resource to plan for your getaway as she documents her experiences of travel across the world. She makes a note to check your passport expiration date, as many countries require at least six months of validity to grant entry, and also bring your entertainment, as many airlines are charging more frequently for onboard entertainment and headsets.
Two important tech pointers from Williams include:
- Use Google Maps offline. Say goodbye to dodgy Wi-Fi connections and instead download Google Maps. If you have sufficient space on your phone, you can download Google Maps to browse offline on mobile, even when you don’t have an Internet connection. All you need to do is go on the map to the area you want to save, then type “ok map” into the search and press Download.
- Check out your route from the airport to your destination. Websites such as Rome2Rio are fantastic to avoid unnecessary costs while on your journey. It will not only show you a clear breakdown of the time taken to make the journey, but also a summary of the costs involved for each stage of the trip.
For Nailah D. Hayward, whether it's to see the sights, learn a language, or take in a Formula 1 race, this Los Angeles–based travel enthusiast is always on a trip or in the process of planning the next one. Even before her first experience abroad in Tokyo as a college student, she had an unceasing passion for travel that has taken her to over 65 countries thus far. A frequent solo traveler, she captures her experiences and travel advice on her blog, There's So Much to See. For solo female travelers, she has a few pointers.
- The answer to the question, “Are you traveling alone?” is always NO. You can amend it later if necessary but best to play it safe. Also, memorize the local emergency phone number (there's a good chance it’s not the same as your home country's).
- When choosing a hotel room, avoid rooms on the ground floor, which are easier to break into, and ones above the 7th floor, which are more difficult to reach during an emergency.
She also shares, “When in a new city, visit one famous and one obscure museum. A great way to get some good advice when you're traveling alone is to strike up a conversation with locals on what their favorite restaurant, neighborhood, museum or park is. I've found some of the most interesting, out-of-the-way places that way!”