Essential Travel Tips
A compilation of the best travel advice
from ourselves and our readers
Wherever you're traveling, however you're getting there,
and whatever you're doing upon arrival, the information in
this series will help make your travels simpler and better.
When you're traveling, you're
out of your usual 'comfort zone' and routines. This can
make for unexpected problems and can also make it harder for any
types of problems to be resolved.
Worst of all, if you're
traveling for business, you probably do not have spare time
built in to your schedule to resolve problems, and if you're
traveling on vacation, the whole concept of your (often
expensive) travel is to have a relaxing time free of worries and
For all reasons, it is prudent
to do all you can to minimize potential problems when traveling.
Hopefully these tips will assist.
Travel Tip Topics
Click any of the hot linked
topics below to immediately jump to that section of this series.
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If you have tips of your
please pass them on.
Strategies in General
1. Cheaper is
usually not better when on vacation : the whole concept of
travel is to give yourself a wonderful set of happy memories.
A slightly better hotel and slightly better hotel room, a nicer
meal at a nicer restaurant, etc etc are more likely to give you
such memories than are less expensive alternatives.
2. Keep in mind the
cost of each 'quality hour' of your vacation. Work out
the total cost of your vacation - the air fare, hotels, other
transport, meals, entertainment, attractions and admissions,
souvenirs, and so on, and then divide that by the 'quality
hours' you're away.
A quality hour is a free
hour not spent traveling, sleeping, or doing essential things
such as washing, eating, etc.
Chances are the cost of each
quality hour ends up being not much less than $100, and
potentially considerably more.
2.1 So if spending an
extra $50 gets you an extra quality hour, and the current cost
of your quality hours is $75/hour, that $50 is money well spent.
An example of this would be spending an extra $50 to get a
hotel more conveniently located in the center of the city,
rather than in an outlying district that adds to your travel
time each day to get into and back out of the city, and which
also makes it harder to return to the hotel during the day for a
rest, or to drop off shopping, etc.
2.2 Another example
would be upgrading theater tickets to better seats.
The time cost of visiting the theater is way more than the
ticket cost, so spend a bit more on the tickets to get truly
good value for your time cost.
3. If traveling to an
unfamiliar destination, consider using a travel agent who
specializes in that region. They can help you
enormously, and can probably also save you money on your air
travel due to having special contracts with consolidators to
3.1 Booking online
is rarely the best strategy when it comes to international
4. A travel package
can sometimes – but not always – be cheaper than a flight
and hotel (and/or car) purchased separately. And because
sometimes tour packagers will have their own special blocks of
airline seats, you might find a vacation package has cheap space
on flights that are showing as sold out everywhere else.
Sometimes – rarely, but sometimes found with, eg, Hawaii
packages, you’ll find an airfare and something else (rental car
or hotel) is cheaper than the regular airfare by itself. In such
cases, you don’t need to use the included other items – ignore
them, but take advantage of the discounted airfare.
5. Don’t put things
related to your travel off until you travel. Research
whatever you need to know before you start your travels.
Your travel time is precious and you don’t want to unnecessarily
waste it on administrative tasks. Furthermore, at home you
have all your familiar local support resources at hand; while
traveling, you have none of these.
6. The prices of
some travel items fluctuate widely, and seemingly unrelated
to if you are booking well in advance or at the last minute.
But the prices of other things tend to steadily increase -
travel at peak holiday times, and hotel rates in general
(although watch also for last minute specials in the last one to
7. Lunches are
better values than dinners. Consider having bigger
lunches and smaller dinners if trying to maximize your travel
and food budget.
8. If you see
something you like somewhere, buy it immediately.
The chances are you might never see it again during the rest of
9. Looking for a
better value alternative to airport parking? Consider
the "Park and Fly" option offered by many hotels, and call
around to arrange the best deal. You'll sometimes pay less
for a night's accommodation and a week or two of free parking at
the hotel than you would just buying parking at an airport lot
by itself. See also our article on
discount airport parking.
10. Make a list of
people and their addresses to who you plan to send
postcards. Having this all in one place makes it easy to
get postcards written and sent.
11. Take half as many
clothes and twice as much money!
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26 Aug 2005, last update
28 May 2011
This article is
copyrighted by David M Rowell, The Travel Insider LLC.