If you are not a seasoned traveler or just have the occasion to catch a flight every once in a while for a family visit, or if you can squeeze in a short sabbatical, the following tips may help to save hours, money, or both.
1. Flights. When it comes time to build your itinerary, choose off-peak times to fly. Try a Tuesday, Wednesday or even a Saturday for departure. If you plan a weekend jaunt, skew it a bit and instead of arranging a Friday-Sunday trip, check out a Saturday departure with a Tuesday return. The fares may be lower and a less-crowded cabin your reward. Also, when you have the chance to construct your own flights, book as far ahead as possible—locking in a lower fare.
2. Arrivals. Consider mid-day to evening excursions! If early morning puts you in your designated city at high noon, the hottest part of the day, you may not have had time to get acclimated to the weather and feel cranky, (not to mention the sun is too harsh for good photos). Too early also means your hotel check in time and room readiness may require a longer wait.
Avoid too, falling into the rush-hour commute. Unfamiliar highways and crowded overpasses are a drag when you just get into town. Anything from 4:00 to 6:00 pm and you may find yourself cursing like the natives.
“Avoid too, falling into the rush-hour commute.”
3. Perks. Register for air carrier membership and email alerts in order to snag the best deals, unannounced sales and loyalty benefits. Think about using an email address or email box that is especially designated for alerts and non-mainstream notifications.
4. Seasons. Pay attention to your timing when planning an island trip or for travel to a foreign country; calendar times may be best during the so-called “shoulder weeks.” This means not in peak season; however, it does not mean off-season either because shops and services would be closed down. In other words, you don’t want to hit peak season but you don’t want shut-downs and a ghost town either. Tailgate peak season as closely as possible and the crowds will be thinner, and if you hit the shoulder just right, the weather should be decent too.
5. Hotels. Room savvy means defining your occupancy for the best deals. At high-end and luxury hotels when groups are around—services are stretched and rates higher. Find and negotiate a travel window where hotels are emptier and post lower rates. If you’re flexible, there could even be an upgrade or room preference option for a haggle.
There is a product that prevents anyone from getting into your hotel room while you are gone. Melinda Moore of Sweet Home, Oregon came up with Super Grip Lock. It attaches to your deadbolt handle. It’s easy enough to afix and will give you a sense of peace knowing no one can enter. For the person who travels for business, it’s a must. Check it out–I believe it retails for about $10.