How to Find the Best Flights
When to Make Travel Plans
How to Travel Light
The Latest TSA Rules
Travel Basics to Keep You and Your Family Healthy
How to Find the Best Flights:
Find out all the different airlines that fly to your final destination and then contact the airlines directly. You can negotiate with a person, not a website, so call the airlines directly first – ask about other airport options and about if they have any specials going on at that time. Most airlines give you a 24-hour grace period for booking a tentative ticket. Then after your call, you can research other websites, and if you find a better deal, great! If not, call back within 24 hours and book your tickets with the live person.
Also, check out sites that are not part of the big 3 – Expedia, Orbitz, or Travelocity, try bookingbuddy.com or onetime.com. And, be willing to fly on days that are less busy: Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays. You will save the most money booking 7-21 days in advance.
If you have location flexibility, check out different airports. Flying to LA? Check out Long Beach, Burbank, and Santa Ana. All are very close and not as crowded as LAX.
When to Make Travel Plans:
21 days in advance is always better than 2 days in advance. Then you can take time to find the best deals including great hotel deals. If you have plenty of time, check out Travelocity, where you can put in your destination and it comes back with great hotel and flight deals – sometime they are less expensive than just the flight. But make sure you know where the hotel is. Sometimes the hotels are not in ideal locations.
If you want to get away quick and are flexible about where you want to go, check out gotoday.com or lastminute.com. These websites list last minute trips at discount prices.
If you have some flexibility in your schedule, think about travels before or after the major holidays. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a –destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54%, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23%. It is like rush hour traffic when you travel on the busiest days of the year, you are more likely to have delayed flights, irritable airline staff, and lost luggage. Who says you can’t celebrate Christmas with grandma Mid-January? You save money on gifts and travel!
Also, think “shoulder months” this is the time where tourist locations are less busy and they want tourist, so they offer great deals. Depending what part of the world you are going to, the “shoulder months” will vary. Remember – it’s summer in Australia right now!
How to Travel Light:
Rule number one; only bring what will fit in a carry-on. Period. There is no weight restriction on carry-on luggage. So be smart about what you pack, but know you can pack a lot if you do it right.
Check the weather before you pack. Do you need a raincoat or a swimsuit?
Try to avoid creating extra packing by using items that have multi-purposes and can be layered. Also, if you are traveling with your family, there is no reason for every member to bring toothpaste or hair gel – it is the holidays – learn how to share!
Bring clothes that don’t have many buttons, then you don’t have to worry about losing them. Black is back: pack black clothes and use scented scarves to dress up your outfits. Lycra, cotton blends, NO linen.
The cloth and tulle bags that are used to wrap wine as gifts are perfect to stuff your sock and intimates in. Remember, it is about saving room, so the more things you can stuff tightly together, the better.
** Transportation Security Administration Current Rules**
The following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols carried through security checkpoints.
1. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
2. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
3. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.
There are exceptions for baby formula, breast milk, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Travel Basics to Keep You and Your Family Healthy:
Plastic bag with basics: Keep packed in a small plastic bag: single use eye drops, small bottle of hand sanitizer, lip balm, small sunscreen, travel size packs of motion sickness medicine, pain relief, and stomach medicine.
Color copies of identification: It is much easier to get a new passport or ID when you have copies of your originals. Carry them in all of your suitcases; I store them in the unused side pockets of my luggage.
Handy wipes: The truth is, some place you go won’t have toilet paper. So, be prepared with a small pack of handy wipes. They are also great for refreshing your hands and face when traveling.
Eye cover and ear plugs: These are great on the plane, or even on trains and buses. But they are the best when you are staying somewhere that is a bit noisy or the curtains are not very thick. You need your sleep when traveling.