Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 10 mistakes to avoid when traveling....

1) Never put cost of a hotel over safety or cleanliness. Yes, there are great bargains out there, and there are also expensive hotels that can fall into the categories above, but be careful. You tend to get what you pay for, you may be sacrificing your safety because of the location or clientele of the hotel. A hotel who sacrifices cleanliness to keep costs down will also not be appreciated when you bring home tiny friends.

2) Do not pay for airline baggage fees. Make sure you know what the airlines charge for bags or even overage fees for bags over a certain amount of pounds. Some airlines charge for checked in bags, but some even charge for carry-ons. Make sure you read the fine print about baggage. Also do not over pack when on vacation. A pound over the airlines limit could cost you as much as $50.

3) Do not use your airline miles on short trips. IT makes better sense to use money for for the short cheaper flights. Use your miles for longer trips that cost more, and make the most of them.

4) Research your trip. Know what you want to do, and a rough idea of how much it will cost, so there are no surprises. Finding out you do not have enough budgeted for the things you want to do, can put a damper on your trip.

5) No matter where you are or how you travel, stop and get snacks at a local grocery store. If you have kids it will save you plenty when they get the munchies. On a plane, you can't bring fluids but you can save a bundle by bringing food or snacks for the plane from home.

6) Renting a car at the airport will always be more expensive, as will gas the closer you get to the airport. If visiting family have someone pick you up and rent away from the airport, and get gas far enough away from the airport not to pay the extra cost for convenience.

7) Make sure you pack toiletries and medicine, including cough medicine and pain relief. As I can attest when I had to pay $8 for a small tube of tooth paste. Make sure you follow airline rules for liquids and where to pack them, so they do not end up in the airport dumpster.

8)  Always check for smaller airports that discount airlines might fly into that cost less. For example I live between Boston Logan and Providence T.F. Green, and if I drive an extra 20 minutes more I can also go to the Manchester Airport in NH. Both Manchester and Providence usually beat the Logan prices. Check your destination for nearby airports too.

9) Make sure you know what is needed for documentation for where you are traveling too. If you are flying outside the USA then you need an passport. If you are cursing from a location that either starts or ends outside of the USA, then you need a passport. On a cruise that starts and ends in the US, you do not legally need a passport at this time. A birth certificate, or a government issued identification like an unexpired license will suffice.

10) If going on a cruise, buy travel insurance and come in the day before if possible. For all the people who escape the winter cold and snow to  board a cruise, know that you risk missing a flight or cruise due to weather, or mechanical failure. Your cruise can be over before you make it to the airport if weather grounds your plane. Coming in the day before helps alleviate some of that situation, but a good storm could cripple an airport for days. That insurance will come in handy if you make the cruise but your luggage doesn't.

I am sure there are many other travel snafus everyone has encountered. Let us know what is something you avoid when traveling?

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