Traveling can be traumatic at times, so here are some simple ways to make it much easier all round.
Buy Your Tickets In Advance
Buying tickets in advance can save you money. Most people know that. But, it also gives you peace of mind. It’s a smart strategy to get the planning done and out of the way so that it doesn’t stress you out during the month of your trip. If you plan on booking a flight out of the country, book at least 21 days in advance. If you want even more peace of mind, book months in advance.
The extra time may not save you any more money, but it will save you time when your trip draws closer.
While you’re at it, plan out events wherever you’re going. Odds are, there are local events you want to see. And, if there are tickets to those events, you should buy them in advance. That way, you won’t have to do it later. Also, try calling in advance, or contacting the venue, and asking about “early bird” specials, where you might get a discount for buying early.
Not every venue will offer discounted prices for early paying, but some will.
Get Your Passport Early
Learn everything you can about your passport, such as requirements, and fill out your application well in advance of your trip. Sites, like Ukpassportoffices.co.uk can help you to sort out the requirements, but even when you apply, it might take months to get the passport finalized.
Don’t wait until the last moment, or you might not be able to take your trip.
If you opt for a paid service, you may be able to get your passport secured in significantly less time. If you’re renewing, you could get it done in as little as one day. Some services offer renewals in seven days. Sure, you can go direct to the government and do it for free, but you will be in a long queue and won’t get priority service.
Use Hidden City Ticketing
This is a somewhat controversial tactic, but it can save you some money. If you’re planning a one-way trip, this works well. Use a site like Skiplagged.com. It will find you low-cost flights to almost anywhere for less than any other website.
It works because of hidden inefficiencies in the booking system for airlines. The basic idea is that you book a flight with a stop-off and simply fail to board the second plane for the second leg of the journey. Let’s say you want to go from Tampa Florida to New York.
Most sites will tell you to book a flight from Tampa to New York. Sounds logical, right? What if the flight bounces all over the place though? Many flights do that. You might stop off in Memphis before going to New Jersey and then finally to New York.
What this site does is figure out where the stop-offs are for all flights and then just books you a flight that gets you to where you want to go, regardless of the stops.
So, if a flight started in Tampa, Florida, and then was supposed to end up somewhere in California, but not before a layover in New York, you would take that flight and then just not board the next flight to California.
Truly outside-the-box thinking. Airlines don’t like it because they see it as abusive. But, since you’re paying for the tickets anyway, and just taking advantage of their inefficient flight paths, you benefit and no one is actually cheated.
It could also save you a boatload of money, regardless of where you’re flying to.
Fly On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
These are the least busy days of the week, according to research from Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). If you’re planning a trip to the U.S., for example, it’s cheaper to buy tickets on a Tuesday and more than 21 days in advance. That gets you the best possible rates.
But, there’s a reason why these days are the least busy days of the week. It’s because it’s inconvenient to fly on these days for most people. So, when someone flies in for a weekend, they’re more likely to fly in on a Friday than a Saturday, and they’re more likely to leave on a Sunday or Monday than a Saturday.
If you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t find these are inconvenient days to travel, go for it.
Photo Credit: Suitcase By Wilerson S Andrade on Flickr
Guest Author Bio
Louise Jenkins works on the front line of international travel and enjoys taking the opportunity to share her insights and suggestions for stress-free travel with an online audience. She is a frequent contributor for a number of travel and lifestyle websites.
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