Last Updated on February 4, 2021 by Jim Ferri
By Jim Ferri
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
77) Use A Trip-Planner App
Keep all of your travel information – including your flight times, confirmation numbers, hotel reservations, etc. – in order and with you on a trip by using an app such as TripIt on your phone or tablet when you travel. It’s a great app for consolidating and keeping safe all of the important details of your trip.
Google Maps is a great way to help find your way to an unfamiliar destination. It now even provides live traffic information for some European countries. But it’s more than just a good way to get you to the Eiffel Tower or the Roman forum. You may also want to use it when taking a taxi to/from an airport to assure that the driver is taking the shortest route possible.
79) Use Award Wallet
Award Wallet is a great app for keeping your loyalty program award points in order. It can streamline the housekeeping of all of your frequent-flyer and loyalty-program points to ensure that you never allow another frequent-flyer mile to expire.
80) Travel Only With a Carry-On
Traveling only with a carry-on may seem arduous to some people but once you get the knack, it’s quite easy. More importantly, though, it makes your travels easier. You’ll not only save a lot of time not waiting for your luggage, you’ll also know that it has arrived at the same airport as you.
In today’s travel world where airlines are nickel and diming us to death, loyalty programs are the name of the game. Just about every travel entity has one – airlines, hotels, rental cars, etc. – and you should sign up for everyone possible. In the long term, they will save you money; in the short term they are time savers because you have your personal information stored on them, which will allow you to quickly complete any forms. Many will also provide you additional perks – upgrades, late checkouts, special deals, etc.
82) Check In With That Airline App
You can save time, and possibly frustration, by using an airline’s app to check in for your flight. All you need do is login with your frequent flyer number and click a few buttons. Many of them will also allow you to choose a better seat if one has opened up by that time. It’s all a lot quicker than calling the reservation desk or wading through its website.
83) Go Opaque
Using “opaque” websites such as Priceline and Hotwire is one of the best ways to find maximum value when booking a hotel room. Yes, you may be bidding “blind,” not knowing the hotel until after you make the non-refundable purchase, but you’re fairly well assured of getting a decent hotel by limiting yourself to specific neighborhoods and choosing hotels with the greatest star ratings. If you’re unfamiliar with the city, however, be sure to check out a neighborhood in advance.
Always try to book a rental car in Europe through a U.S. company’s website where the price will be much lower than if you tried to book it overseas. If you’re in Europe and decide to rent a car, go online and always go back to the company’s North American website, not the local one in the country where you are.
85) Fly In the Morning
Early mornings offer the best opportunity to get a lower fare and have an on-time departure. Since many people don’t like early morning flights, airlines set lower fares at that time to try to entice them. Also in the early morning you can usually avoid the worst delays of the day except, possibly, in such cities as San Francisco where that morning fog can play havoc with schedules.
Flying a private jet can be a lot less expensive than you may think. Many companies offer one-way deals on flights when they must reposition an aircraft to another destination. If you have a group, you can take advantage of these flights at a saving up to 75% off the regular price. You’ll find yourself flying in a plush private jet and avoiding all of the crowds and hubbub at the airport at the same time, all for price that’s often less than business class on a scheduled carrier.
87) Get a Group Together
You can pull a group together you can save a good amount on all sorts of things, including the hotel, travel insurance and sometimes transportation. Most travel companies, including tour operators, airlines and cruise lines, have special departments to work with large groups and the often throw in extras to make your trip more comfortable and appealing.
If you’re fed up with the crowds at the airport, consider taking a bus. The new style inter-city buses are not only a lot cheaper than air travel but also pick you up and drop you off right in the center of the city. Bolt Bus will take you from New York to Washington for about $20 one way in a bus with reserved seats, extra legroom and Wi-Fi. You can sometimes find a super bargain $1. Megabus will take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco for about $40, or $5 on their bargain fare, bookable in advance.
89) Eat Cheap
One major expenditure when you is usually food. If you want to save on your food costs, don’t feel as if you have to eat at a sleazy restaurant to save a buck. Head instead to an area about a university where often a fine lower-priced restaurants. Go to a site such as yelp.com to check out any options in the neighborhood. Sometimes you can even eat at the university itself. In Vienna, for example, there are subsidized student canteens (called mensen) that are open to everyone, not just students.
It always makes sense to know the rate of exchange at your destination before you leave home. If nothing else, it will help you make sure that you’re not being ripped off for the taxi ride once you arrive at your destination. It will also help you know how much to withdraw at an ATM since you’re only asked the amount you want in foreign currency, not in dollars.
91) Know How to Pay
The best way to pay for anything when you’re in a foreign country is either by cash (but don’t buy the local currency at the airport) or by credit card. Just ensure that you have a card with a chip in it and which doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees. And always pay the credit card charge in the local currency; otherwise you’ll be given a terrible exchange rate.
When you’re heading overseas or anywhere, it never hurts to tell your bank where you will be traveling. Failure to do so can at times trigger a fraud alert, and your credit card may be blocked. Some cards allow you to do this online, with others you may have to telephone them.
93) Look For Senior Discounts
Just about all of the larger companies in the travel industry offer discounts to seniors. You can easily find them by Googling “discount for seniors” along with the name of the company you are interested in using. For starters, go to the website More With Less Today, which has a list of travel discounts for seniors.
94) Avoid Checked-Bag Fees
The best way to avoid checked-bag fees is not to check bags and only travel with a carry-on. If you find that impossible, perhaps you are better off flying Southwest Airlines, which still doesn’t charge luggage fees to its customers.
95) It’s Not For Everyone But…
This isn’t something that appeals to everyone, but you can have your car make money for you while you’re out of town. The company Flight Car.com now operates in several major cities and provides you with free airport parking while they rent your car out to another traveler while you’re gone. You’ll be paid between $.05 and $.20 per mile that it’s driven. (Update: FlightCar.com has gone out of business)
While some countries require you to have a minimum of three months validity remaining on your passport, there are others that require six months validity, especially in Asia. If you are nearing that six-month limit, it would be well worth your while to apply for a new passport or you may be denied boarding at the airport or cruise terminal.
97) Sign Up For Price Alerts
If your budget conscious he can be helpful to sign up for price alerts at sites such as Travelocity and Expedia, Kayak and Airfare Watchdog. All will email you with updates of fares. Several airlines will also notify you of special affairs, especially last-minute deals.
98) Do Your Visa Homework
Many countries require visas for travelers. Some of them are fairly simple, only requiring payment of a fee online or at the airport when you arrive (be aware, however, that many times this visa fee must be paid in cash only). Other visas are more onerous and can be more costly and difficult to purchase. See our resource I Need a Visa to Go There? for a review of some of these visas so that you’re prepared well in advance of your travels.
99) Plan Your Travel Wisely
Fuel surcharges have become de rigueur on international flights. In some destinations, especially London, the charges are quite steep. You can often save yourself quite a bit of money by either arriving or departing from another European city and then taking the train to/from the British capital.
100) How Much to Tip
It can sometimes be exasperating trying to figure out how much to tip in a foreign country – and sometimes costly. It’s always good to know the tipping etiquette of any country you’ll be visiting. Here’s a tipping guide from Condé Nast Traveler that sheds some light on the subject.
If you’re flying internationally, compensation for an airline losing your luggage is pitiful, a bit over $9 per pound. (It’s a lot more in United States where airlines are required to provide up to $3400 in coverage for each passenger.) So if you have expensive clothing or are bringing home some valuables you purchased overseas it’s often worthwhile to purchase excess valuation from the airline. Cost and coverage vary so check with the airline ahead of time.
102) Decline the Rental-Car Upgrade Offer
It’s always nice to have someone offer you a bit extra for the same price, such as an upgrade to a larger model when you rent a car. If you’re watching your budget, don’t accept the offer since you’ll likely be using more gas on a larger rental.
Read the rest of the series: