For the average vacationer, the hardest part of the adventure is the logistics. The destination is a no brainer, but the right carrier, transportation, and accommodations can be a real headache. Hassles at the airport, excess baggage charges, and crummy seat assignments, can dull your senses. Let me shed a light on how you can try to avoid all the things that take away from your well-deserved getaway.
First, a word about air travel and some shortcuts that can make your life easier.
Aggregation websites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. can help you find flights quickly, but they don’t work for free. Go to those sites and find out what carriers fly to your destination, then go to the carriers’ sites directly. Quite often they will have cheaper fares and other departure options that are omitted on the major travel sites.
When searching for flights, go to the monthly calendar, rather than exact dates. If you’re a little flexible, you can really save some travel money, because some days of the week are cheaper than others (generally, mid-week is cheapest).
When you are booking your seats, try to get the farthest forward on the plane. You’re the last to board, and first to get off. When you are checking in at the counter, ask again to see if there are seats even farther forward; sometimes you will luck out with a window.
Check-in is also a great time to ask if there are any upgrades to first class. Some carriers will let you upgrade for a reasonable price for two reasons: they usually have empty seats to fill, and they want you to experience the service, as you might return to that class on your next trip.
When it comes to luggage, pack lightly. It will eliminate many hassles you encounter along the way. No need for a skycap, no strained muscles, no need to worry about misplaced luggage, and—most importantly—when you reach your destination, you can do more shopping. Believe me, it’s much more fun.
When it comes to booking accommodation, there are two websites that I recommend.
Hotels.com is, I must say, a good way to get a place to stay anywhere in the world. From a hostel stay, to a five-star hotel, this site can do it all. Sometimes they have certain hotels in the area you are visiting, for up to 50% off. Get on their email list, and you will be amazed at the deals you’ll see.
Airbnb provides a great accommodation alternative by letting you rent from homeowners as opposed to hotels. You can get wonderful houses and apartments all over the globe, and can really enjoy the “home away from home” atmosphere for prices that are comparable to hotels. This is a great option for families and those who like self-catering vacations.
Using these simple solutions, you should be able to ensure every trip you take is cheaper, more comfortable, and more convenient.
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