Travel - Secrets
The following are all the secrets of travel that did not make
it into Chapter 28.
Be A Host to Save on Accommodations
The Affordable Travel Club provides a way to travel more cheaply
by staying in peoples homes, if you are willing to open your
home to others as well. You pay annual dues of about $75 (last
time I checked, and then you can select from over 2000 homes
in most states and many other countries. You can stay at them
for just $15 ($20 for two), which includes breakfast. The catch
is that you have to provide the same opportunity to others in
the club, and you have to be at least 40 years old.
If you like to meet new people, this is an interesting option.
You can learn more at the club website here: www.affordabletravelclub.net.
The Evergreen Bed and Breakfast Club has a similar deal, which
you can read about at www.evergreenclub.com. They limit membership
to those over 50.
Cheaper European Travel
Europe has become More expensive for travelers, but there
are still some great destinations that are relatively inexpensive.
Some are half the cost of the more popular areas for hotels and
meals. Here are a three to check out:
Lisbon, Portugal - Not the cheapest of destinations, but still
typically 25% less for accommodations than most other European
capitals. Great parks, Saint George's Castle, and an active night
Krakow, Poland - On the Vistula River, near castles ancient
markets, and the Auschwitz death camp.
Bohemia, Czech Republic - Accommodations in the smaller cities
of this area are much less expensive than most of Europe. There
are nature trails, music festivals, historic castles and more.
Getting Bumped On Purpose
My wife's grandmother was bumped from a flight back to Ecuador
from Los Angeles, and the airline paid for the hotel and meals
for the three of us even though we were not flying with her (we
explained that we had driven a long way and she needed us to
stay). They also gave her a voucher good for $400 towards any
flight on their airline. We later learned that they bumped people
almost every night on this particular flight, so if you wanted
get a free airfare voucher you could plan on it.
On a recent flight to San Francisco our plane was over-booked.
The employee at the gate asked if anyone was interested in taking
a different flight. We asked for details and he offered my wife
and I $200 each in fare credit if we would take a flight that
connected in Phoenix instead of Salt Lake City. As it turns out,
we would arrive just twenty minutes later than with our original
We agreed, but unfortunately we were not "bumped"
because some passengers did not show up. These opportunities
do come up fairly often, though, especially on some routes. You
are usually well-compensated too. We would have been paid $400
each if the delay would have been greater. So if you are interested
in getting a free plane ticket or two and you are flexible, pay
attention, and even ask if the flight is overbooked. If so get
put on the "bump list." By the way, this works best
if you are traveling with only carry-on luggage, since they may
not bump those who already have luggage checked.
Getting Through the Airport Quickly
Here are five things you can do to reduce the time spent in
lines at the airport:
1. Timing Matters
If the price is the same and you have flexibility, you may
want to book a flight that leaves on Saturday mornings, or any
early morning or late evening. These less popular times are less
busy, with fewer and shorter lines.
2. Check In Online
Northwest, Continental and Delta Airlines, as well as some
others, allow you to check in online up to 24 hours before your
flight. This saves you time at the airport, although you'll still
have to check your luggage and go through security.
3. Check Bags Early
Some airlines allow you to check your luggage in the day before
the flight. If you are leaving from a local airport, this can
be a nice way to avoid the long lines the day of the flight.
Ask if your airline allows this.
4. Dress Nice
Research shows that clothing matters. Specifically, it has
been found that those wearing sloppy clothing are subjected to
more searches than those wearing business clothes. In any case,
tuck in your shirt.
5. Make It Easy For Security
Have unusual items in your checked luggage, not in your carry-on
bag, where it will be noticed and cause a search. Also, pack
your carry-on neatly and not too tightly, so it can be searched
and repacked quickly. have the bag unlocked and ready for a search,
and know what is allowed or not. Be ready to remove your shoes.
Have allowable liquids in the required clear plastic bag.
Cheaper Rental Cars
The discount rental car companies are not all the same. We
have seen the rates for a compact car at some companies be as
much as double those at others. At the moment (2007) Thrifty
Car rental seems to be the cheapest pretty consistently, but
that can change, so check several companies.
Check the deals available through any frequent flier programs
you are enrolled in. The same car can be as much as 40% less
using one versus another.
Use the internet. Many car rental companies are still trying
to build their online presence. They offer discounts for booking
over the internet, because it saves them money.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less
traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert
Note: This chapter on secrets of travel was part of
the e-book Travel Secrets (the last one, in fact). Now
you can get all of them for free. See the homepage (the link
is at the bottom of this page) for a list of all chapters and
links to them.