15 January 2011

11 Travel Tricks and 1 Tip

More tips to save money on Traveling
January seems to be the month to start planning: devising training schedules and filling the calendar with races and rides. And so my thoughts turn to travel - how am I going to get where I want to go? The New York Times recently summarized 11 Tricks to reducing travel costs: 11 Tricks to Cutting Travel Costs in 2011 By MICHELLE HIGGINS Published: January 4, 2011. A basic summary of the tricks mentioned are:
Travel Tricks
1. Shop Private Sales for travel deals. Similar to Groupon sites including SniqueAway.com, TabletHotels.com TripAlertz.com TripAlertz.com and Jetsetter.com. (I am not one for cruises or package deals, but if you are, this could be your ticket.)
2. Buy your airline tickets on Tuesday.
3. Search for coupon codes (use the box at checkout for a promotional discount code). Sites like PromotionalCodes.com or CouponWinner.com organize such codes into categories so that you can search specifically for airline, car rental or hotel deals.
4. Ask for a refund. Many airlines will refund the difference in price if the fare drops after you purchase a ticket (minus a change fee). Yapta.com. A new site, Autoslash.com, offers a similar service for car rentals. 
5. Avoid Roaming Charges. Skype and Truphone offer free apps for making cheap international calls using Wi-Fi. The Vonage Mobile app for Facebook allows travelers to make free international calls over Wi-Fi to Facebook friends who also download the app.
 6. Avoid Credit Card transaction fees. Find out if your credit cards charges a common 3% currency conversion card. Capital One does not charge foreign transaction fees, and Chase recently began waiving the fees on certain cards. 
7. Save on parking your car. Bestparking.com steers drivers toward the cheapest parking at off-airport lots near 79 North American airports. Rates are updated frequently, and sold-out lots are highlighted.
8. Avoid Holidays. Avoid the crowds and save by traveling the week after a major holiday.
9. Negotiate. Though many hotels say that they offer their best rates online, it pays to ask the front desk for a lower rate. (If you have the nerve - go for it).
10. Travel like a student. Student travel agencies like STATravel.com, StudentCity and StudentUniverse have begun to extend their low prices to nonstudents and older travelers. 
11. Don't check a bag. Checking bags can quickly add up, with airlines charging between $15 and $35 a bag. (This does not work for bikes however) 

Travel Tip
1. Use Twitter. I learned long ago that if my flight is canceled, do no get in line at the customer service counter. I always keep the phone number of all my airlines in my cell phone so that the instant I find out about a canceled flight, I am on the phone (being incredibly nice) talking to the first customer service person I can reach. If there are only 8 seats available on the next flight, I want on the fast track to get one of them. Now there is a new faster trick, certain airlines now employ Twitter Specialists, trained and ready to read and respond to your tweets. So before you travel, remember to follow your airline on Twitter. Then you will be ready to tweet for help. You are not simply putting your tweet out to the world, you are speaking to an airline representative. Read more in this article: For Some Travelers Stranded in Airports, Relief Is in 140 Characters.

Flash Sales: follow the major airlines on Twitter to take advantage of "Flash Sales" that come up for limited times and are announced on Twitter.