Whether traveling for work or traveling for play, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your trip goes smoothly and pleasantly. An inexperienced traveler may not know how to find the cheapest flight, the best hotel rates or those off-the-beaten-track vacation spots that are a must for anyone with children. All the do’s and don’ts, ins and outs, and ups and downs of traveling are outlined for you in the following article, so you can have a safe, economical and exciting trip from start to finish.
If you know that you are going to have a long layover in a city, check what there is to do beforehand. A 3 hour layover in Washington D.C. can easily turn into a quick tour of the Washington Mall or a long sit in Minneapolis can become a quick shopping trip to the Mall of America!
Be flexible. If your travel dates can be tweaked by a day or two, try using the “flexible dates” feature of most online travel search engines. This allows you to search departure and return dates within a given range. By just changing your dates by a day or two, you may be able to score huge savings on airfare.
Check out last minute travel deals. If you have the flexibility in schedule and destination, you can save a lot of money by booking your travel at the last minute. Many hotels and airlines drastically reduce prices for dates in the near future to fill seats and rooms that will otherwise go empty.
Call the airport ahead of time to receive your seat assignment. Without a seat assignment there is a chance that you might be bumped from a flight. If this happens, you could find yourself stuck in the terminal waiting for the next flight. This could take several hours.
Planning your travel in advance is always good advice to follow. Make sure to plan your trip at least a month or a few weeks in advance to ensure you have enough time to make changes. Planning ahead leaves more room for error and gives you more time to get the best deals on travel packages.
Make sure you check your credit card statement after you stay at a hotel. Even if your bill is correct when you pay at check out, extra fees may find their way into your payment. Sometimes rooms get charges twice by accident or another guest’s expenses will get put on your account. If this happens, call the hotel’s billing department right away.
If you really do not like packing, have a toiletry bag ready. Put all your needed bathroom items in it and just keep it prepared for travel. This way you can can cut down on time spent packing.
While traveling to a foreign country is an exciting experience, it can also be risky if you aren’t familiar with its laws and customs. For that purpose, the State Department of the United States created a website (travel.state.gov) that you can visit to find out a wealth of information on the country to which you are traveling, including facts on crime, health conditions and popular attractions.
Consider buying a portable shower before you travel on a road trip. You will invariably stop the car to check out a local site, and sometimes you may engage in a physically strenuous activity. Getting back in the car when you feel unclean makes it hard to relax and enjoy your trip. A portable shower allows you to feel refreshed for the next leg of your journey.
When you arrive at your hotel, especially if you have children, check for fire exit routes. Take a couple of minutes with your children to walk the route with them as a mock fire drill and help them prepare in the case of an emergency. They will be understanding of this since they do this in school on a regular basis.
American travelers who have not left the country in several years should be aware that they definitely need an up-to-date passport. For a long time it was possible for US citizens to visit Mexico and Canada without such documentation. This is no longer the case, with modern security concerns. American travelers should have their passports in order if they intend to visit any other country.
If you are traveling to Mexico or the Caribbean during hurricane season, it’s a wise idea to purchase travel insurance, if it’s within your budget. Unfortunately, by the time a hurricane warning is forecast, it’s too late to buy coverage, so make sure you get it at the time that you book your vacation. For a price, you can obtain “Cancel for Any Reason”� insurance that lets you cancel your trip for reasons not already specified in your policy.
When you are traveling overseas or even to Mexico make sure that you stick to drinking bottled water or water that has been boiled. Keep in mind that it may be dangerous to drink the water in the country you are traveling to. The citizens there may be used to it but you aren’t.
When you’re planning a vacation, always take the weather into consideration. Always check what the weather forecast will be at your destination. A freezing tropical paradise or a sweltering winter trip can really ruin your vacation.
To get the best deal on popular local attractions, always ask your hotel first if they offer discounted tickets. In major tourist destinations like New York City, it is common for hotel chains to offer discounted rates to their guests. The same is true of family destinations like Florida where many hotels pump up their occupancy rates with reduced amusement park admissions.
From driving to the next state to flying overseas, traveling is fraught with potential perils. Preparing yourself for the unexpected is one of the key elements of having a successful trip. The tips and advice presented above can teach you all the tricks of a well-seasoned traveler, whether you’re going on your first family vacation or your 100th business trip.