Thursday, September 24, 2009

Take a headset with you

Most airlines have entertainment systems onboard. So bringing your headseats will save you some money.

Have a great flight.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wear clothing with sleeves

Try not to wear sleeveless clothing when you travel. Remember you will be sitting next to another person and you will sweat. I don't think you want to sweat on that other person, do you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't argue wth the airport securty folks

One sure fire way to delay your trip is to argue with the airport security team. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, just record names visually, try to remember all the details and either talk to a supervisor at the time or ask for the contact information for customer comments.

You can also check the airport web site for contact information as well. Whatever you do, do not yell and scream as you may be arrested.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Make a note of what items you use on your next trip

When you take your next trip make a note of the items you use. If you do not use something, then don't take it on the next trip. You'd be amazed how much space you will have in your luggage on your next trip.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't block the bus schedule

When standing at a bus stop, it is essential that you do not stand blocking the schedule for the bus. Remember that others would like to read this schedule as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Check-in online

You should check-in online as it saves you time and if you have bags, the bag drop line at the airport is much shorter.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Check local laws before you go

If you are going to a foreign country with a specific task in mind, check the local law on that task. For example, if you are on a photographic expedition, check if a permit is required to take photos or film in specific places.

Simple things like is there a jay walking law? Is spitting on the streets allowed, etc. are important.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Check the taxes and fees for car rentals

Before you make that car rental, ensure that you check the fees. Certain airports has really high charges. Some of these charges can be higher than the cost of the rental. Renter be ware.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Check for senior citizens rates if applicable

If you are traveling with your parents or anyone and they are over 65, you may be eligible for senior discounts. Ensure that you check on this as the savings can be quite good.

Note however, that sometimes the special rates may be the same or even better than the senior rates.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Plan accordingly when travelling with older people

When you travel with older people, remember that things may take a little longer to accomplish as they do move slower. Give yourself extra time to arrive at the airport and negotiate your way to your gate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Look into paying in your local currency when traveling internationally

Check if your hotel/restaurant in a foreign country will charge you in local currency or your country of origin's currency. Also, be aware of what is the going exchange rate as this will determine what to do. For example, usually your bank will charge you a foreign fee for the transaction if it is done in the local currency, but if done in USD there is not charge. So if the exchange rate being used is less than the exchange rate plus the foreign fee your bank charges then it is a good deal.

It sounds complicated, but if you spend a lot abroad, it may be worth it to pay attention and make the right decision.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Use twitter instead of texting

Hey, if you use twitter's Direct message service (DM username) you won't incur any text message charges to your friends. So if you phone has access to twitter, just use that as your communication tool.

You can find me at http://www.twitter.com/mskonfa1990.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Use social media to your advantage

You can use many of the social media schemes such as twitter and facebook to tell the world about your travels. You can also get pretty good tips if you follow the right people as you travel. If you are stuck somewhere, just send a message out asking for help. It should arrive rather quickly.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Always ask for compensation in case of trouble at hotels

If you are staying at a hotel and have any issues with the room, always ask for immediate compensation. If none is given, then upon your return home, send a note to the hotel, explain what happened and see if they will give you some sort of compensation.

Always give them a chance to rectify the situation though. Most good hotels will compensate you without you even asking.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Check the security of your hotel room

Once you've checked into your hotel room, look around and ensure the room is safe. So check the windows, the sliding doors, the main door, etc. If you like you can use the hotel safe or the safe in your room to store your valuables. If someone comes to the door, do not open it unless you know them or are expecting the hotel staff.

Always ask who they are and why they are there before opening the door.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Get a local map on arrival

Once you arrive in a city, get a local map from the Tourist office. This is essential especially if you are not familiar with that city.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Read the contract of carriage

When you purchase a ticket from a transportation provider you should ensure you read the contract of carriage. This is the document that governs your purchase. If you do not have access to it online, you can always call the company and request one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't use the flash while taking the pictures of trains

When taking pictures of oncoming trains, don't use the flash on your camera as it may temporarily blind the driver.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Make damage claims before leaving the airport

If your baggage gets damaged while traveling on an airline, you are required to make a claim before you leave the airport at which it was damaged or within a few hours after leaving the airport. While this may be inconvenient, it is the first step in the process.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Don't ask for favors unnecessarily

When you are traveling, don't ask people to be uncomfortable so that you can be comfortable. Plan ahead so that you can get the amenities that you need to make your trip enjoyable. As an example, don't ask someone to give up their seat so that you an your family can sit together. Book early and call the company providing the service and look after your needs.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Check the local paper

You should check the local paper to see what is going on in the city you visit. This will help you to optimize your time while there.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Check train schedules

You should ensure you check your train schedules at least the night before you are taking the train. This ensures that you are aware of any last minute changes or delays.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Adjust your watch for local time

You should ensure that your watch is adjusted for local time. Or at least be cognizant of the time difference. Sometimes your mobile phone won't switch to the local time so be aware of that as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Keep your shoes on

When you are flying you should keep your shoes on for takeoff and landing. If you take them off during the flight, make sure you have a pair of socks on. This is especially important if you are sitting at the bulkhead row. No one wants to see your bare feet on the bulkhead.

Also, if you go to the lav. put your shoes on.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sign up for SmartGate

If you travel a lot in and out of Australia, you should sign up for SmartGate at http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=5552.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Use a pillow to support your back

For lumbar support, place an airline pillow in the small of your back when seated in an airplane seat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Keep your shoes on for takeoff and landing

When you get on a plane, do not immediately take off your shoes once seated, instead, wait until you are airborne and approaching your cruising altitude. This is in case you have an after takeoff emergency, you won't be without shoes when evacuating the plane.

The same is true on landing. Put your shoes back on as part of your pre-landing preparation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pay attention to the safety demo

Pay attention to the safety procedures onboard the plane. It is important tht you know how to leave the airplane in case of an emergency. The flight attendants are really doing this for your benefit, so do them the courtesy and pay attention.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Research hotel valet parking

When using a hotel's parking facility, check if they have self-park facilities or just valet. Also ask about surrounding parking garages. You could save some bucks. Although the in/out privileges at your hotel may be worth paying the extra charge.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Always check your credit card bill

You should always verify your car rental bill before paying. Ask to see the bill and if you don't understand something, ask to have it explained before you pass the credit card to the agent.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Count the seats to the Exit row

A good thing to do is to count the number of seats that you are away from the emergency exit. Do this as you board the plane or after you have been seated. Remember that in an emergency, you may be disoriented and your visibility may be reduced.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keep your seatbelts fastened

While the plane is flying and you are seated, you should remain seated. There is no question about that. Clear air turbulence is very real. You can be seriously injured if you hit really bad turbulence. Please be careful.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Place one carry on luggage in the overhead bin

As a courtesy to other passengers, place one carry on in the bin overhead and the other under the seat in front of you. Turn your bags outwards so that other bags can fit neatly next to it.

If you have a jacket, keep it in your lap until others have boarded to allows others space to place their bags.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Check the amenities on your flight

On most airlines' Web sites, you can find links to the amenities available during the flight. Research things such as movies and onboard power to name a few. This will help you to prepare for your flight. On long flights, you may have to take two batteries for your electronic device.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Make a baggage claim before leaving the airport

It is very important that you make any baggage claims about any damage to your baggage before you leave the airport. Just make your way to the Baggage Re-claim office in the same hall where you expected to pick up your bag.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Check for a post office at the airport

Some airports do have a facility to mail your postcard at the airport. If you cannot immediately find it, ask at the information counter.

If you cannot find one and you happen to have stamps, sometimes the staff at the information counter or at the airport lounge will mail it for you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Don't leave stuff on the place

Remember to gather all your belongings when leaving the plane. If necessary make a mental check list of all the stuff you remove from your bag.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Consider getting travel insurance

Anything can happen before or during your trip, so you should consider purchasing travel insurance. One thing to note though is that you should read the policy so you understand what is covered.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Give yourself extra time at the airport during Holidays

During Holidays, give yourself extra time to get to the airport as the highways are usually crowded. You will also need more time to clear security as the lines will be longer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check the cost of things at your destination city before you go

You can use this handy program to check travel cost in your destination city:




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Place your carry on in the correct cabin

When you fly, place your carry-on luggage in the overhead bin of the class of service in which you are flying. In that I mean if you are flying in Economy class, place your luggage in Economy class, not in Business class.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keep your assigned seat

When you board a plane ensure that you stay in your assigned seat. Don't place your stuff on the open seat as more than likely it belongs to someone. If you wanted two seats, consider paying for the second one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Take your bicycle with you

If you travel with a bicycle, it may be one of your checked luggage if it is the right size. So check with your airline. Otherwise you will have to pay a service fee to carry it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Get a credit card from your favorite airline

If you want to rack up frequent flyer miles, it is a good idea to get a card from your airline. Then use it as often as you can. The miles will come in and before you know it you have a free trip.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Get additional pages for your passport for free

If you have a U.S. passport, getting additional pages is free. Go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/fri/add/add_850.html for details.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You may have to check the liquids you buy

If you buy liquids in duty free on the plane or after clearing security, it will be necessary to place it in your bag and check that bag if you are connecting to another city when your plane lands.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Use the official airport taxi service

Only hire a taxi from the official airport taxi stand. Decide on the method used to calculate the fare before you start your journey. Either a flat rate or using the meter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Find a nearby convenience store

If you are staying at a hotel, try to find a nearby convenience food store. This way you can purchase inexpensive snacks or drinks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Take your airline's local number with you

Check your airline's Web site for a number in the city/country you are visiting. Have it handy in case it is necessary to contact them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Get a massage at your destination

A massage on arrival can help to relax your muscles and alleviate the effects of jet lag. Consider getting one as it may actually be cheaper than at your home city.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If you travel with kids, take some toys

Take some toys for the kids to play with so they won't be bored during the trip.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Check the Holidays before you go

It is a good idea to check when are the local Holidays for your destination. This will ensure that you can get transportation when you arrive among other things. It will also ensure that the sights are open and shops are also open.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Learn the tipping rules before you go

Tipping is not the same in every country. So it is a good idea to learn the ropes before you go. You don't want to end up embarrassing your self and others around you. A good place to start is this Web site at http://blog.iloho.com/older/2008/9/12/tipping_around_the_world.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Check for free museums

In select cities the museums are free. Check before you go. This is the case in London, England where almost all the museums are free.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Visit the local library

When in foreign cities, look for libraries where you can usually get free Internet access and do quick research if necessary.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Try the local drinks

It is a cool thing to try the local drinks when you visit a foreign country. You may meet some locals and just have a great time doing it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stay at alocal university or convent

Check with the local university or a convent to see if they have accommodations. In select cities the Universities will rent out the dorm rooms when school is not in session. You could save quite a bit of money this way.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Order a special meal for your flight

If you have dietary requirements consider ordering a special meal before your flight. This should be done at least 48 hours before departure. Note that not all airlines offer this service.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Check the weather before you go

It is a good idea to check the weather before you pack as this way, you know exactly what to pack.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Get enough sleep the night before your trip

So you are in a good mood on your trip day, try to get a good night's rest the night before. This will take some planning though. It may mean that you have to pack the day before your trip. It may be necessary to make a list of items to bring so you don't forget anything.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Use Google maps to figure things out

Google maps is an awesome resource when traveling as you can just type an address in and see what is around it. You can also just type in the airport code and then get directions to your hotel by car, walking or public transportation. Start at http://maps.google.com.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Check if the water is drinkable

The water from the tap in some countries is sometimes not for drinking. Always ask your hotel when you check-in or you can ask at the airport information counter.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fill out Immigration and Customs forms properly

Ensure that you fill out Immigration and applicable Customs forms properly. This will ensure that you have no issues when entering foreign countries. The key items are knowing where you are staying and when you are leaving. Some countries such as the U.S. have elaborate forms while others such as the Netherlands does not require any paperwork.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Check the exchange rate before you leave

It is a good idea if you check the exchange rate for the country you are visiting. This will help you to decide how much money to take from the local ATM when you arrive.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Try on the clothes before you buy it

If you buy clothes when you travel, note that the sizes may be different. So if you can try on the item you should. Also, note that in some countries, once you've bought the item, you cannot return t.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Use the local bus in Dubrovnik, Croatia

If you visit Croatia, you can use the local bus to get between Dubrovnik and Cavtat. It will take the same time as the ferry. Both mode of transportation gives a spectacular view.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ask friends/family for advice

If you are planning on visiting someplace, ask your friends and family members who've visited before for travel tips. This can save you lots of time and money.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Write down/print your reservation details

After you've made your reservations, ensure that you print a copy of it or write down the confirmation number. This will be helpful in case the establishment cannot find your reservation or quote you a different rate on arrival.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hire a local driver to take you around

If you are in a city/town for a short time period, consider asking a taxi driver to be your driver for the time you are there. Tell them what you want to do and negotiate a rate. You will get a good local flavor for the place and end up saving money.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Talk to the locals

When you visit a new place, stop and talk with the locals. They will be able to tell you cool local things to do, where to eat, where to find the best bargains and how to get around their town/city. hey, you may even get invited to lunch or dinner.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let your friends know where you are

While you are on your trip, keep in touch with your friends and family. Send text messages as they are cheaper. If something goes wrong they maybe able to initiate help for you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Charge your stuff before you go

The night before you depart for your trip, don't forget to fully charge all your portable electrical items that you will take with you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Check with your credit card company about insurance

If renting a car in a foreign country, check with your credit card company to see if they will insure you in that country. If not, then pay for the local insurance as it will be worth it in case you get in an accident.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Take small bills with you

It is always a good idea to take small bills with you when you travel. This will help you to take care of small purchases such as taxis, local buses, meals, etc.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Excercise on long flights

When flying on long flights, you should get up periodically and walk around the airplane cabin. This helps to keep your circulation going and avoid your feet from swelling.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Get a GPS when you rent a car internationally

If you rent a car in a foreign city, get a GPS with it... In some countries there may not be street names! Costa Rica is one example where many streets do not have their names posted.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Use texting internationally

When traveling internationally, if you do not already have international texting contact your mobile phone company before leaving home to have this turned on. It is much cheaper to text than to talk.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Call 112 for help when traveling internationally

When you are traveling internationally, you can call 112 from any GSM phone worldwide. This will connect you to the emergency service for that country even if international cell service for your phone is not turned activated.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Make a copy of your entire passport

Make two copies of your passport - take one copy with you when you travel and leave the other one with family/friends. These copies will help you in replacement in case your real passport is lost/stolen.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Check which airport is closest to your destination

If you don't know which airport is close to your destination, use http://www.faremeasure.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sign up for Privium in the Netherlands

If you travel a lot to/from the Netherlands, you should sign up for The Department of Homeland Security's Global Entry program. This program allows you to bypass all the lines in Amsterdam Schipol International airport and also gives you access to a special lounge at the airport. You can find details at http://www.schiphol.nl/web/show/id=67508/langid=42.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sign up for the IRIS program in the U.K.

If you travel a lot to/from the U.K., you should sign up for the U.K. Border Agency's IRIS program. This program allows you to bypass all the lines at select port of entries into the U.K. You can find details at http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/managingborders/technology/iris/howenterwithiris.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sign up for Global Entry

If you travel a lot internationally, you should sign up for The Department of Homeland Security's Global Entry program. This program allows you to bypass all the lines at select port of entries in the U.S. You can find details at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/trusted_traveler/global_entry.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Contact the Visitors' Bureau for driving rules

If you are going to drive when you get to a particular country, you should be familiar with the rules of the road. You can go online or contact the Embassy or the visitors' bureau for further information.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Contact your hotel Concierge ahead of time

Always contact the Concierge/front desk at your hotel ahead of time for reservation suggestions or hotel transportation from the airport.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Contact your hotel for special requests

It is a good idea to contact your hotel directly for special requests such as connecting rooms, early check-in or high floor before leaving to have a better shot a getting them when you arrive.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Take some extra batteries with you

Ensure that you have extra batteries when you travel. These can be costly and if your device uses a battery that is not popular you may not be able to find one. Alkalines are good as they last longer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Buy rail tickets before you go to Europe

If you live outside of Europe and are traveling there. You can buy rail passes online or from a travel agent. It is much cheaper than doing so once you arrive in Europe. Try sites such as www.raileurope.com.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On descent, blow through your mouth

When you are on an airplane and you are descending to land. Sometimes your ears start to hurt or clog up. If you close your mouth, hold your nose and blow, it will make your ears pop and ease the discomfort. You may also chew gum or swallow a few times. If you have a baby, feed the baby using the baby's bottle.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Always take an umbrella with you

Every good traveler should take an umbrella on every trip. Purchase one that fits neatly in your carry-on bag and never remove it from that bag when you return home. Unless you've used it and now need to air/dry it out. You never know when you may need one.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Take night trains

Consider taking overnight trains as they oftentimes offer sleeper cars and you can save on a hotel room cost this way.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Take red eye flights

Consider taking red eye flights when traveling as they can save you a hotel room. These flights usually leave from the U.S. West Coast to the East coast.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Order a child meal on long trips

If you are traveling with your child check to see if your airline has child meals. Most international airlines will offer this service.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Check your Duty Free prices

Just because the item is available in Duty Free does not mean it is cheaper. Before you travel check your local prices for items that you would like to buy. Sometimes it is cheaper at your local store than in Duty Free shops.

Of course there are some things that are just not available locally and these items are worth buying duty free.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be aware of the time change when traveling

This is a biggie. For example, when you travel from the U.S. to Australia, you arrive two days later and actually miss an entire day.
From Guam to Honolulu, you arrive the day before you departed Guam.
When you fly from the U.S. to Europe you usually arrive on the next day, except for day flights which arrive on the same day.
When you fly East from Europe to the U.S. you usually arrive the same day. it is just a very long day.
When you fly from Australia/Asia to the U.S./Canada you usually arrive the same day, but the time is earlier than when you left. You cross the International Date Line is the reason for this one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mind the gap in London

When visiting London, there are large gaps at many stations between the platform and the train. Watch out for them. At stations such as Bank, it is large enough for you to fall through, so be careful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be cognizant of the number of people to a cab in Paris

In Paris, you are not allowed to sit in the front seat of the taxi, so plan your trip accordingly if you have more than three persons. The city has an excellent subway system so if you can, make ample use of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hail a cab from the streets in paris

When in Paris, remember that the moment you call a cab, the meter starts. This means by the time the cab arrives the bill may be hefty. So if you can , just go outside and hail one.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ride a bike when you get to your destination

Many cities have bike rentals. This is usually a better way to get around the city than renting a car. You can check online before you go or check with your hotel Concierge when you arrive.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Let your airline know you need help beforehand

If you have trouble walking long distances, you can request assistance from your airline. You must do so before your day of travel though. This gives the airline plenty of time to prepare for your needs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Advise the airline of your dietary requirements

If you have special dietary requirements, please advise the airline when you make your reservations. Or at least 48 hours before the departure of your first flight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Check with your airline about ski equipment when you travel

Most airlines allow you to check in one ski/snowboard as a regular piece of luggage. Always check your airlines before you travel.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take the bus from Vancouver, BC Canada to Seattle, WA

The next time you are going from Vancouver to Seattle, try Quick Shuttle bus service.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Look for weekend specials

Lots of airlines have special fares for weekend travel. You leave on a Friday night and return on a Sunday or Monday. You'd be amazed at what you can do in a weekend. Check out their Web sites for details.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Talk to your fellow travelers

As we travel around, we interact with a lot of people. Never hesitate to say hello to your fellow travelers. They may be going to the same hotel as you are and perhaps you can share a taxi. Perhaps they've been to your destination before and can give you a tip on the local customs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Travel with family/friends

Traveling is fun, but it is even more fun when done with family, friends or loved ones. You can share the cost as well as the experience, so consider inviting someone on your next trip.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Consider taking a train

In Europe, trains are a very efficient method of transportation. Consider taking them for overnight journeys as you can save on a hotel cost that way. You may opt for the sleeper cars or sometimes they have wide seats in the normal day cars.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Use your local library as a resource

When you are planning on traveling, visit your local library. Here you can research your destination as well as borrow a Guide book if you so desire.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take a headset with you

When you fly, most airlines allow you to use your headset from home. This means you can listen to your music with the same quality as at home. So don't forget to take your headset with you on your trips.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Get a power adapter

Unfortunately not all countries use the same type of power plugs. As such this means you have to get a different plug for select countries such as the U.K., the rest of Europe and Australia. All you need is just the plug as most electronic device have an auto switching power supply to regulate the voltage. Consult your item's manual for details.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Only take what is needed on your trip

Only pack the items you need for a trip. Note the things you do not use on each trip and for the next trip leave them at home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Make flight changes online

Most airlines allow you to make flight changes online, so check their Web sites first before calling. The Web site will give you more flexibility so you can check other dates and see the different prices.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Advise your airline if your child is traveling unaccompanied

If booking an unaccompanied minor, please remember to tell the airline when doing this so that you ensure the proper flights are booked. Many airlines have special rules for minors traveling alone. These rules include and are not limited to the actual flights on which they can travel. For example some airlines do not allow unaccompanied minors to be booked on the last flight of the day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Head to Earl's Court for a late room

When you've looked everywhere in London and cannot find a place, head to the the Earl's Court tube station then look around that area.  There are tons of bed and breakfasts to choose from at reasonable rates.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Do walking tours on Sunday a.m.

If you are visiting London or Paris, you can do self tours on Sunday mornings.  There are hardly anyone on the streets and you can enjoy the city's monuments without a crowd.  It is also great for taking pictures.  Also, during the Summer times, it will be very cool in the morning, so perfect for a walk.

Do remember that on Sundays, in London, the first trains are not usually until 7:30a.  So go for an early walk and then take the first train back to your hotel.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take unpopular flights

Why, they are cheaper.  No one wants to get up and take the 5:30a flight, so it may be cheaper than taking the 9:00a flight.  Or that red eye flight at 11:30p or at 12:30a may be cheaper than the flight at 4:00p that everyone wants to take.

The next time you do a flight search, check that out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travel midweek if you can

When booking your trips, try to fly midweek as the fares are much less.  Flying Mondays and Fridays will cost you dearly.  So avoid those days if you can.

Also, it is easier to navigate the airports as there are less passengers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't hog the armrest

If you are traveling on a commercial airline and you have the aisle or the window seats, don't hog the arm rest.  Give that middle seat guy some opportunity.  Basically, if you have to share that armrest, really share it, don't hog it.

Your seat mate will thank you for it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Plan your flights based on the Alliances

When planning a trip use your knowledge of the airline alliances to do so.  There are three major ones:


This will help you to maximize the miles earned for the trip and also ensure that you book your connections with minimum times on the ground.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ask the Concierge for a local restaurant

When you visit your next city, ask the Concierge for a local restaurant choice.  But ask them for the restaurant where the locals go.  They will then tell you where is the cool place around town to get a local atmosphere and some very good local cuisine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Visit the Saturday Market in Portland, OR

One of the beautiful things about Portland, OR is its Saturday market.  It runs on Saturdays and Sundays too from March 1 to Dec. 24 each year.

You can find all kinds of stuff at this wonderful market so check it out when you are next in Portland, OR.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Enjoy local markets in London, England

If you visit London, get the London Pass - the modern way to experience the capital in the new millennium.

While there, check out some of their quaint local markets.  Two of its most famous are Portobello Road Antique and Spitalfields markets.  Saturday mornings are the best day to check out these markets.  Wear a comfortable shoes as you will need it.  If in the winter time, dress warm.

Both these markets are easily accessible from the London Underground.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Enjoy the local markets in Paris, France

If you are in Paris, France, there are plenty of local markets on Sunday mornings.  Here you can get some local wines as well as cheeses, fruits, vegetables, some clothing as well as other nick knacks.  Usually are really great prices.

Just ask your concierge for details.

Crack The Da Vinci Code - Free Entry To Louvre

Monday, February 16, 2009

Turn those wheels outwards in the overheads

When you are storing your carry-on that has wheels, point the wheels towards you and upwards.  This will allow it to fit better and the overhead bin will be able to be closed.  

Also, never place the bag sideways as it takes up the space for two bags in that case.

Shop at eBags

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Check out the two equator monuments in Quito, Ecuador

If you visit Quito, Ecuador, Le Mitad del Mundo is not exactly the center of the world.  The center is actually located at the Museo de Sitio Inti-nan.  They are about 250 meters apart.  it is well worth visiting them both.

Check out some pictures of the Mitad del Mundo here.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sign up for FlyClear for easier airport access

20 July 2009 Update: This program is no longer available.

I just saw this post on twitter and thought I'd share it.

"tferriss Get 2 extra months free of FlyClear airport security card when you use code "SCA31993": www.flyclear.com I have used it for 2 yrs.+. "

FlyClear gives you easier access through airport security at select airports.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Join a frequent flyer program

If you want to get credit for your flights and get a free trip in the long or short run, then you should sign up. Most airlines have such a program. There are also online social sites that tell you how to maximize them. I think the most famous one is www.flyertalk.com.

Just go to your favorite airline's Web site and you will find a link to their program. Join up now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

try booking your hotels one day at a time

Sometimes when you are booking a hotel for multiple days, you may get a better rate if you book each day one day at a time. It is weird, but sometimes the rates are based on multiple day purchases.

At times, you may also try booking for one day and there is no rate, then when you try to book two days you get a rate. This usually occurs on weekends or if there is a big event going on in that city.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Join a frequent rental program

The loyalty programs offered by the car rental companies are good to join as the more cars you rent you will earn a higher status. Better status will give you things like complimentary car class upgrades as well as a ticket to the front of the line when picking up your car. They oftentimes have a special number to call so you don't have to wait behind other renters.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Memorize your travel document number

It is a good idea to memorize your travel document number such as a passport. This will help yout immigration forms easier when you arrive in a foreign country. Also memorize the place and date of issue as well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Always ask for an upgrade at hotels

When checking into a hotel, always ask if you can be upgraded. The agent may say no, but at least you asked and they may say yes. Of course it is better if you have some kind of elite status in their frequent stayer program. But it never hurts to ask.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ask to see the room before you get it

When checking into a hotel, if you are not sure if you like the room they are offering, just ask to see it. The agent may frown, but if you ask nicely they will allow it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Be nice to the agents

As you interact with front line representatives, please be courteous. These are the folks that will get you a better seat on the plane, train or auto; a better room in your hotel and your requests from room service, etc.

They are people too and have families just like you do. So please treat them with respect. I assure you that your situation will be a 100% better if you do that.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Check the checked baggage rules before you go

The airlines have different fees for checked baggage. This will vary based on your frequent flyer status with a particular airline. Some airlines also offer perks if you use one of their affinity credit cards to purchase the ticket.

Also, others will allow you to pay for your bags online as you buy your ticket or when you check-in. So, be cognizant of this when you purchase your ticket. Go to the airline Web site and check these things out before you buy your ticket.

Shop at eBags

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Check the hand baggage rules before you go

If you are traveling on multiple airlines it is a good idea to check the baggage rules. Actually, you should do this anytime you travel. The rules are sometimes different from airline to airline. let's say you are traveling from the U.S. to Africa via a city in Europe. The U.S. carrier may have a different weight limit on your carry on bag from the carrier that will take you from the European city to Africa.

Thus it will be necessary to check your hand luggage. If you have already exceeded your checked baggage allowance, then you will be charged for an additional piece of luggage.

If you are not connecting, you should still check your hand baggage size and weight restriction with your airline. As if it is too big or too heavy, you will have to check it.

Shop at eBags

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Try travel portals if unsure about destination amenities

If you are unsure of which airlines serves your destination or car rental companies and hotels at your destination you can use an online travel portal to figure it out. Here are a few:

http://www.kayak.com
http://www.mobissimo.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Use your mobile phone to check-in

Many airlines allow you to use your mobile phone to check-in. Check their Web sites for details. Once you get to the airport, you can then re-print your boarding pass.

Some airlines even allow you to get your boarding pass on your mobile phone and use the phone to pass through security. Some examples are ANA (domestic flights), American Airlines, Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines and SAS (domestic flights).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Consider off-airport parking

It's Groundhog day!

That has nothing to do with this tip though.

If you live in a larger city, off site airport parking is generally cheaper than parking at the airport terminal. Give yourself some extra time. Also, check the airport Web site to see if the parking facilities have a discount.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If your travel plans are flexible take a later flight

Sometimes airlines do overbook their flights. You know, people sometimes don't show up for various reasons.

Since the airplanes can't take anyone standing up, the airlines will ask for volunteers to give up your seat. For this gesture of kindness, you will be rewarded with some kind of travel voucher for a future flight.

Some airlines will solicit you at their kiosks others at the gate. So if you can take a later flight, why not volunteer the next time you have the option.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Get a seat in the rear of the plane

If you'd like to get on the plane first, consider taking a seat in the rear of the plane. Most airlines with pre-assigned seating will board from the rear forward.

Of course if you are a frequent flyer with some kind of status you will get to board first so you can just sit wherever you'd like.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Earn up to 30,000 points or 10,000 miles from the Holiday Inn chain

Check out this promotion.

Here is what they say:

"Thinking about your next trip away? From 12 January –30 April 2009, earn 3,000 bonus points or 1,000 bonus miles for every 3rd qualifying night you stay, up to 30,000 bonus points or 10,000 bonus miles. What are you waiting for? Start packing!"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Watch out for special deals when new destinations are announced

When airlines start new routes, they usually have introductory fares. This is good time to buy. This is true for a new hotel as well as new destination for a train service. This helps to fill the seats and get customers accustomed to the new service. In addition to low fares, there are usually frequent flyer bonus miles involved.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Watch out for special deals

From time to time, hotels come up with some super deals. The latest is the Hoxton in London, England's Shoreditch area which has a limited amount of rooms for £1.

You can find details at: http://www.hoxtonhotels.com/offers-1pound.php. You have to go to the site at 12:00p U.K. time on January 29, 2009. Good luck.

Sightseeing London has never been cheaper

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ask for two wake up calls

When you are staying in a hotel, always ask for two wake up calls.  make the second one about 15 minutes after the first.  This is good in case you go back to sleep after the first call.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ask your hotel for an upgrade

When checking into a hotel, always ask if any upgrades are possible.  You have nothing to lose and an upgrade to gain.  Sometimes you may get a complimentary upgrade or the cost of the upgrade may not be that much more.  It may also include access to the hotel's Lounge which oftentimes comes with complimentary breakfast and/or afternoon drinks.

One way to be more likely to get an upgrade is to join the hotel's programs.  Once you've attained certain status, you are eligible for upgrades.  Also select credit cards will automatically give you preferred status.  Here are two examples:

  1. Continental Airline's Presidential Plus card gives you privileged Gold status with Hyatt
  2. The Ambassador program with InterContinental's Priority Club program gives you complimentary upgrades if available at select hotels.  The program currently costs 150 USD, but check out what you get for that amount of  money; it is totally worth it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Give yourself a little extra time to get to your departure point

Things happen.  So when planning a trip give yourself extra time on your day of departure to get to the airport, coach, train or ferry stations.  This is especially true if taking public transportation.  It is a good idea to call ahead or check the Web sites of the service you are using to see if there are any planned delays.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Use online tools when traveling in London, England

If visiting London, England and you are taking the Underground (subway system) or local buses, you can go to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/traveltools for the latest information on the operation of the system.

Sightseeing London has never been cheaper

Friday, January 23, 2009

Track the buses in Chicago, IL

When using the local buses in Chicago, IL, you can go to http://ctabustracker.com/bustime/home.jsp for information on when the next bus will arrive at your point of origin.  There are also maps available.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Check your check-in cut off times before you leave your house

For most airlines, the cut off time to check-in for an international flight is an hour before departure.  This means if you are within that hour, it is at the discretion of the airline whether you get checked in or not.  If you are late, be very nice to the agent and do not argue as that will get you on the next flight, which unfortunately for you maybe tomorrow.

In Europe, they are much stricter than in the U.S. with this check-in rule.  Also, in Europe, depending on the country to which you are traveling, the time may be less than an hour.  A look at your airline Web site or a phone call will clarify this information.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Check visa/health requirements before you go

When visiting a foreign country, make sure that you check if a visa is required. You can do this by calling your airline/bus company, boat or rail or checking their Web sites under "International travel." Give yourself ample time as sometimes it is necessary to mail your passport to the consulate/embassy in another city or you have to wait a few days after submitting your passport to the consulate/embassy.

You should also ensure that your passport has at least a 6 months validity and a few blank pages so the visa can be placed in it.

Health requirements are very important as some countries may require a vaccination before entry. This is common for countries in Africa and South America.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Declare your infant at the time of booking

If you are traveling with an infant, it is imperative that you tell the airline at the time of booking. A ticket is required for the infant if traveling internationally. This is usually at a percentage cost of the adult fare. Usually, if traveling in your own country a ticket is not required. A boarding pass may be required in order to clear security though.

Also, on certain airplanes, you have to sit in specific rows due to the number of oxygen masks available in that row.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Assign an aisle/window seats if two in your party

If you have two members in your party, assign an aisle and a window seat with the middle seat empty. This increases the chances of having the middle seat open during the flight. The further back in the plane you do this the better the chances are as most people don't like to sit towards the back of the plane.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bring pen and paper with you

You should always have some sort of writing implement with you when you travel. If you travel international, you will need it to fill out the entry documents for the country you are visiting.

You may also need one just to jot down information as you go. Or to write down the number of someone you meet on your flight.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Take snacks onboard your flight

On longer flights, you should take some snacks with you. These come in really handy during long flights between meals. Some airlines do serve snacks, but others do not.

If you take an empty bottle of water with you through security, you can ask the flight attendant to refill it for you as well. This will keep you from having to get up each time you need water or during your snack.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Consider using a local laundry facility

If you are on a prolonged trip, it is not necessary to pack a different piece of clothing for each day. You can use a local laundry mat or have the hotel wash some clothes for you.

Some hotels actually have laundry facilities either on each floor or in the basement somewhere. Also depending on your status with that hotel, the laundry services may be complimentary.

Take a walk down the street and scope out your neighborhood. You can get soap at a machine at the laundry mat and save yourself some weight of dragging stuff around with you on your trip.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Take ample medication with you

You never know what will happen on your trips, so ensure that you take adequate medication with you if necessary. Once good things is to take a copy of your prescriptions with you in case you misplace your medicine and need to get it refilled.

Always take some kind of medication for a headache with you as well. One thing to remember too is that if you travel internationally, you may not be able to find your normal headache medication. Usually you can tell the pharmacist what you need and they will provide you with an equivalent. Please read and understand the dosage.

Oh, don't pack your medication in your checked luggage.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Use a local ATM

When you travel you should use a local ATM as opposed to taking wads of cash with you. While this is safer, there are a few things to bear in mind:

1). Your bank may charge you a fee to use an ATM other than its own. Also, if you are traveling inernationally, you may be charged at a minimum 1% of the transaction as a fee. This fee may also be applied when you use your bankcard as a credit card. This fee, may be better and mor econvenient than the alternative, using a currency exchange and paying a fee for the service.
2). You should take some local currency with you if traveling internationally. This will help you get from the airport to your hotel upon arrival. Take small bills and change so you can take the bus or use a restroom in case there is a charge to do so.
3). Your ATM card may not work in a foreign country.
4). The ATMs in that country may be down or you cannot find one once you get there.

So take some local currency with you when you travel, do a little research before you go about where your card is accepted by calling your bank. And while you have them on the phone ask about the charges for using your card at other ATMs and in a foreign country.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Choose your seat assignments early

If at all possible, choose your seat assignment at the time of booking your ticket. This increases the possibility of getting the seat you want as well as decreases your chance of getting bumped off your flight in case your flight is overbooked.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weigh your bags before your trip

Ensure that you weigh your bags before you take your trip. The requirements vary by airline and destination as well as elite status in the airline's frequent flyer program. A quick check on the airline's web site will ensure that you have the correct information. Not having the correct weight and dimensions for your bag may result in excess baggage fees.

Also if you are connecting from one airline to the next the restrictions may be different by airline so check with all the airlines before you leave your home.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Get a mobile phone that works outside of your country

If you travel outside of your country or your local area, ensure that your mobile phone will work wherever you are. A simple call to your mobile phone provider can fix this. Note that the rates are different and you will more than likely be charged roaming charges.

If your company does not provide such a service, check if you phone accepts a sim card, if so you can just buy a card when you get to your location and place it in your phone. Make sure that your mobile provider allows your phone to user cards other than those issued by that company.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Consider a combination of transportation methods

Whenever possible try multi-modal transportation for your journey. For example, if you are flying into Berlin, Germany (TXL), you may fly into say Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) and then take the train up to Berlin.

The German train system is quite efficient and if you plan ahead you can get some good fares. Other ideas are if you want to get to Paris, fly into say, Amsterdam or London and take the train the rest of the way. The train journeys are quite nice and picturesque. You may also be able to take an overnight train and save on a hotel room cost.

There are also bus options: You could fly into London and take the bus to say Manchester and then fly back out of Manchester to your point of origin or fly into Vancouver, BC Canada and take a bus down to Seattle, WA. The possibilities are endless.

Try it out and let us know.

Here are some links:

Buses

Trains

Ferries

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pay attention when your bag is being tagged

When checking your baggage with an airline, always double check that your bag is tagged to the correct destination. Also, pay attention and watch that the agent tags your bag and not someone else's with your tag.

In addition, ensure that you receive a tag for each bag that you've checked and that each of your checked bag has your name, address, e-mail address and phone number written inside and outside of the bag. This will help in case the tag is lost and the airline has to use additional methods to identify your bag.

Shop at eBags

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Learn some local words

If you are visiting a country whose language is not your native, try to learn a few words from that language. This will help you to get around once you are there. Here are a few to learn:

  • hello
  • goodbye
  • thank you
  • please
  • how much
  • where is the toilet?
  • excuse me
  • where is?
  • why?
  • where may I find?
  • where am I?
  • may I have the check please? [as in a restaurant]
  • may I have some change?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Leave your passport at the hotel

When traveling internationally, there is usually no need to take your passport on the road with you. Some countries may have a requirement to keep your passport with you so check with the Immigration official at the airport if you have any doubts. For the most part having your passport with you at all time is not a requirement for the majority of countries you will visit.

Once you check in at your hotel, you should either leave it with the front desk in the hotel main safe or you can leave it in the in-room safe. If neither are available, just leave it in your room, someplace out of plain view. This and other valuables are much safer in your room than on your person.

It is a good idea to make a copy of the first pages that has your picture and details. Just in case you lose it, you can show that to the local consulate for your country and that will help you to get a replacement travel document much quicker. Of course you should not store the passport and the copy in the same place.

Also, when you go out to see the sights, just take your driver's license or some form of ID other than your passport, a credit card, your bank card and some cash in local currency. This is really all you need. There is no need to take a bulky purse or wallet with you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Book on the airline web site

Book on the airline Web site as you avoid the booking by phone fee. This can add up if you have multiple passengers as it is a cost per passenger fee.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get gas outside of the airport limits

These days when you rent a car, if you travel less than 75 miles and do not produce a receipt that you've filled up once you return the car, you are charged a standard "fill up" fee.

This is not bad if you are running late and do not have time to fill up. However, it is quite costly and does cost more than you would have paid if you filled up yourself. So, if you do the fill up yourself and fill up outside of the airport limits as the gas is usually cheaper.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Watch for pickpockets on the train to Paris

Be careful of pickpockets on the RER B to Paris city center from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. Thieves are known to take the train, act like they don't know where they are going so they can distract you and steal your possessions. If you see someone suspicious, walk away from them.

Also, be careful in the large stations such as Gare du Nord and Ch√Ętelet/Ch√Ętelet Les Halles. Only take the possessions you need and keep your bags close to you. This goes for any city you visit, not just Paris, France.

Crack The Da Vinci Code - Free Entry To Louvre

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Immigration pre-clearance for the united states

There are several countries that allow pre-clearance when entering the United States of America. These include, but are not limited to Canada and Ireland. What this means is that you go through immigration and customs rituals in those countries even before you arrive in the United States.

As a result, it is necessary to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight's departure. I recommend at least 2.5 hours. This will give you enough time to check-in and go through the formalities. Usually most of the flights to the United States leave at the same time so there is usually long lines.

If your flight is delayed, you should still arrive at the airport the recommended 2.5 hours or better since your flight may leave earlier than the delayed time or the Immigration and Customs facilities may be closed when you get there. In which case, you have to wait for the next day in order to depart at your own expense.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Don't place your documents in your mouth

This is a really nasty habit, so don't do it.

Imagine that someone gave you something and it had their saliva all over it. Well, it is the same thing as you giving an agent your travel documents that were just in your mouth. Especially when you take it straight from your mouth and hand it to them. Not that you should not let them see it in your mouth mind you.

So keep your documents in your pocket, purse, travel bag, anywhere else but in your mouth.

It is funny when you see it happen, but it is really quite disgusting.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Public transportation

Posted while in Calgary, AB Canada

Whenever you travel, consider taking public transportation. Some cities have train and/or bus service from the airport to the city. Usually you have to have exact change, but you can get that at a local airport stall. At some airports you can buy the tickets on the train/bus or at a local airport store.

Just go to the Information booth once you arrive or you can check the airport's Web site before you leave for your trip.

If you have any ideas/suggestions for a particular airport, feel free to let my readers know.

As I'm in Calgary, AB Canada, you can take the #57 from the airport for 2.50 CAD to the Whitehorn train station. From there you can take the train into the City Center. The journey takes about an hour or so. You can buy the ticket from the Mac store at the airport or on the bus. You must have exact change in order to accomplish this on the bus. More information can be found at http://www.calgarytransit.com

Introduction

Welcome, to my new blog. As the title suggests you will get one travel tip each day. Feel free to leave a tip of your own or a comment.