Tuesday, February 21, 2017

11 Travel Hacks That Your Travel Agent Hasn't Told You


Wanderlust (n): A strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Ever since I could even think about exploring the world and traveling to foreign places, I promised myself I was going to do so.

But of course, as things often do, priorities take over and the destinations on my bucket list took the backseat to my responsibilities.

For me, trying to get a degree while interning every semester/summer and working part time jobs took priority over traveling. It's tough (and pricey) to take off from school, work, or whatever else to travel for an extended period of time, isn't it?!

And often times, even if you don't have school/work or you can take the time off, chances are you have a child or children in school, a partner who is working and/or getting a degree, friends who have different days off than you do, and/or you don't really want to go alone.

Nevertheless, I'm done with making excuses on why I shouldn't travel and giving myself all of the reasons why I should. Because if not now, when?

So, since it's that time of year where travel is at its peak. I've gathered some of the best travel tips and tricks that your travel agent wouldn't tell you, to help you (and myself) get ready to jet set and go.

1. Choose the right destination.

While you can go almost anywhere with almost anyone, there are specific trips that are best for those specific someones in your life. Here are some suggestions of places to go with the different people in your life — and even where to go by yourself.

○ Flying solo?

According to Travel + Leisure, some of the best places for women to travel solo include:
          - Iceland
          - London, England
          - Kripalu Center in the Berkshires, Massachusetts
          - Washington, D.C.
          - Norway's Fjords
          - Okinawa, Japan
          - Stockholm, Sweden
          - Melbourne, Australia
          - Copenhagen, Denmark
          - Saba, Caribbean
          - Taipei, Taiwan
          - Salzburg, Austria
          - Austin, Texas
          - Dubrovnik, Croatia
          - Munich, Germany
          - Seattle, Washington

○ Traveling with friends?

Whether you're in college, recently graduated, or just looking for a fun trip with your girlfriends, the College Times listed 18 perfect places to travel with your best pals and they're definitely all on my list:

          - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
          - St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
          - Tuscany, Italy
          - Bermuda
          - The Bahamas
          - Nashville, Tennessee
          - Cinque Terre, Italy
          - Barcelona, Spain
          - Budapest, Hungary
          - Prague, Czech Republic
          - Stockholm, Sweden
          - Las Vegas, Nevada
          - Cappadocia, Turkey
          - Lisbon, Portugal
          - Vienna, Austria
          - New York, New York
          - Athens, Greece

○ Exploring with a lover?

CondΓ© Nast Traveler concluded that the 16 most romantic places to stay in the world are located in the following places, check the original article for the exact hotel locations:

          - Venice, Italy
          - Maui, Hawaii
          - Barnard, Vermont
          - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
          - Paris, France
          - Ladera, St. Lucia
          - Riviera Maya, Mexico
          - Newport, Rhode Island
          - An Lam Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
          - Napa Valley, California
          - Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
          - Udaipur, India
          - Franschhoek, South Africa
          - Little Torch Key, Florida
          - Wadigi Island, Fiji
          - Bali, Indonesia

○ Sightseeing with family?

The best family destinations around the world, according to National Geographic are:
          - Amalfi Coast, Italy
          - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
          - The Great Wall, China
          - Hong Kong
          - Iceland's Ring Road
          - Machu Picchu, PerΓΊ
          - New York, New York
          - Marrakech, Morocco
          - Havana, Cuba
          - Paris, France
          - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


2. Search for flights in private mode.

Once you choose your destination, the next step is, of course, to book the flights and place you will stay. But, before searching for any of it, make sure your Internet browser is in private or incognito mode.

To do so, go to "File" > "New Incognito Window" (in Chrome) or "File" > "New Private Window" (in Safari or Firefox). This will prevent airline or other travel sites from using your search history to determine where you have traveled and what you have previously paid, which could potentially help safe you money depending on when you are searching.


3. Subscribe to receive airline emails.

If you have a preferred airline, make sure you are subscribed to its email list. Whether it be Delta, Jet Blue, American Airlines, or another, most have email lists where you can receive fare alerts, special deals, and flash sales to make sure you're getting the absolute best deal.


4. Search "airline name + promo code" on the Internet or look on the airline’s Facebook page for discount codes.

Whether or not you are subscribed to an email list, always be sure to do a simple Google search to see if you can save even more. Search "*insert airline name* promo code" to see if there are any discount codes that will work to give you an even better deal. Not seeing any through your search? Try checking out the airline's Facebook page for discount codes or try out my favorite site (for all kinds of discount codes), Retail Me Not.


5. Rent a house/condo.

If you're traveling for more than a few nights, it's important to make sure you're not only saving on your flight, but also saving on other accommodations. Unless you have credit card points or a timeshare, often times hotels are not the best bang for your buck. Searching for options on sites like Airbnb or VRBO and paying a flat weekly price can often save you a lot of money.


6. Save on car rentals through your memberships.

Should you choose to rent a car — whether it's for a road trip where you don't need a flight or for transportation around your destination — there are ways to save if you search. Check to see if any of your memberships will help save you money. Those like Costco (Costco Travel is also great for vacation packages, cruise deals, and amusement/theme park discounts) and AAA often offer great prices on rental cars.


7. Traveling with one partner? Reserve the aisle and window seats.

If you're traveling with one other person, try reserving the aisle and window seat. Most people don't want the middle seat, so you are more likely to get the whole row to yourself. Should the flight be fully booked and someone does end up sitting next to you, I'm 99.9% sure they'll be happy to switch with you for the window or aisle seat so you're next to your travel buddy.


8. Roll your clothes when packing.

Pack like a pro and roll your clothing instead of folding it all in order to save space. Also try: putting your socks inside your shoes and putting the heaviest items at the bottom toward the wheels to make it easier to roll.


9. Save Google Maps for offline viewing.

Especially if you are traveling abroad where you won't have access to cellphone service (cheaply) and often times wifi, it's important to make sure you have your destination's maps saved on your phone for offline access. To learn how to do so, click here.

10. Pre-order meals at the airport with the Grab app.

Download the Grab app, which is available at 40 different airports in the United States, to have food ready and delivered to you at your terminal and/or on the way to your gate.


11. Take advantage of airport wifi.

Now this is an absolute lifesaver. Anil Polat of foXnoMad blog, created this "always-up-to-date list of airport wireless passwords around the world."


Do you have any helpful travel tips or tricks? Comment below so I can add.

26 comments :

  1. These are some good tips. The lists of where family, lovers and others travel are pretty funny. I have been to many of those places solo. I came over from FB kimsglobalsojourn.com

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! I have always envied those who travel alone, I think it takes so much courage and independence and really want to try going on a solo trip sometime. Can only imagine how peaceful it would be! Thanks so much for reading :)

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  2. Such great ideas! I recently learned the hidden browser secret and it is a game changer!

    www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

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    1. Ah I'm so glad you enjoyed them! Hopefully the others are helpful for you in the future as well. Thanks for reading, Molly!

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  3. We love using VRBO, and the best part is when you're traveling to the same destination again, many times if you've treated the rental very nicely and established a good relationship with the owner, they'll often give you priority booking and/or a discount. Every summer, we visit the same island for a family reunion/vacation, and we've established good relationships with a few condo owners on the island. Not only do they make sure to reach out to us before they fully book out the month that we like to travel in, but they also give our friends great treatment and sometimes help us adjust our payment schedule and pricing.

    Many rental owners also own in other locations (so if they own a condo in one place, they may own another condo or two elsewhere), so be sure to ask if they have any other places for rent-- it may open up more condos in more areas you never thought to visit!

    Fantastic tips-- I'm definitely going to use the app that delivers food to your terminal in the future! <3

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    1. Jenni! This is amazing! Thank you so much! I would LOVE to form a relationship with someone who has a condo on an island haha, what a dream! So glad you have had such great experiences with VRBO. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment :)

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  4. Hi Taylor,

    *clicks to bookmark*

    I love the list of suggested places to visit, I've been to a few and they're amazing. Also, love that my home is #1 on the list of places to go with friends. It's def an amazing city to visit.

    I'm so excited for some traveling I hope to do this year with my friend.

    Hello cheap flights, rolled clothes and hopefully airplane food I can actually eat.

    The moment you remember you're now allergic to gluten and terrified you won't have anything to eat. Can you imagine me packing a months worth of gluten-free snacks for myself? Should be interesting at least.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Nadalie, It's All You Boo


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    1. Nadalie, I have a friend who has Celiac and when we went to Cancun, it was so tough for her to eat anything, especially with the language barrier/cross contamination. It's so tough, but I can imagine your pre-trip planning involves making sure there are restaurants and food options for you at your destination. That would make for a great blog post! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I hope to be able to travel to Toronto one day! It's on my list :)

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  5. Really clever and interesting suggestions! I love traveling and can use many of these :)

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    1. Thanks, Rita! I'm so happy to hear that these will be useful for you! Where are some of your favorite places to visit?

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  6. This is pretty cool. Clever yet simple. Good writing 😊😊😊

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    1. Sheena! Thank you so so much. I really appreciate that :)

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  7. Love this list! You have some fantastic tips here! Thank you for posting. I'm definitely bookmarking!

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    1. Yay! So happy these are useful for you, Brittany! Would love to hear back if you try any of them and they work well for you. Thanks for reading :)

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  8. Great list of destinations. I have been to several- Iceland, Lisbon, Paris, London, Spain just last year. I make it a point to take 6 vacations a year- some close by like Vegas and LA and others tropical, etc. Great tip on browsing privately for flights. I didn't know to do that. One thing I do is I often save by doing things Al acarte instead of booking a package. I find this is true for flights even. A roundtrip to Europe is often more expensive than two one ways. It's very cheap to fly from London to the U.S via Iceland with a layover.

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    1. That's an amazing tip! Thank you so much! I might just have to add and DEFINITELY use myself! I am also so so jealous! I would love to travel to even half of those places. And that goal of 6 destinations a year is WONDERFUL! I have to set a goal like that one. Thanks so much again for reading.

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  9. This was a well thought out and composed list, great tips!! I don't have a travel agent but with this I won't need one. :)

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    1. EXACTLY! I'm so happy to hear that because so many valuable tips are right at our fingertips. Thank you for reading, Asia!

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  10. I think this is a great basic travel guide that all should abide by. I would also include couch surfing for those Solo travelers who like to meet new people. The locals know -the- best spots around town.

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    1. Thank you so much! That's an awesome tip :) Considering creating a section at the bottom of this piece for tips from readers because a few have of you have suggested some great ones!

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  11. These are great tips!!!! I never thought of browsing in cognito!!! Love that idea because they def will use that info against ya! I can't breath without wifi so that app is amazing!!!! Love it! Great articled (: stumbled it since I couldn't find your Pinterest button!

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    1. Aw, thanks so much Kit! My pin button is actually on the side panel with the other share buttons, but you can also hover over the images and they'll say "pin it." Thanks for reading and stumbling :) xo

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  12. This is awesome! I plan on traveling this summer, and these tips will be awesome! I'm going to pin this!

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    1. Thank you so much, Hannah! I hope these are helpful for you :) I know when I learned them I was SO excited! Where do you plan on traveling to this summer?

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  13. I had NO idea that using "private mode" for search was even a thing, or that airlines could use your previous searches to hike up your prices! Wow - thanks for sharing these awesome tips!

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    1. I know, right!? When I read this elsewhere I thought the same thing! Hope these tips are helpful for you. Thanks for reading :)

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