If you think you know every travel trick in the book, you’re in for a surprise. These unusual, sometimes counterintuitive, strategies can make your next trip less expensive, more rewarding, or both.
- Book flights on U.S. airlines way ahead.
The conventional wisdom is to book flights a couple of months ahead, but the big three U.S. airlines are now making schedule changes so frequently that you might want to book many months in advance if you find a good fare. That’s because your flight’s schedule will most likely change and, if it changes enough, the airline will let you switch to another flight that day without charge. It’s a bit of a gamble, but with the increasing frequency of schedule changes, it’s one worth considering if the price is right.
—Brett Snyder, president and chief airline dork, Cranky Concierge
- Get a better night’s sleep.
Usually I get a good sense of a hotel’s quality by reading reviews. But after one too many nights of being awoken by freight trains, sirens, or loud bars nearby, I added one more step to my pre-booking research: Google Street View. It shows me the neighborhood, what food is nearby, and what might wake me in the middle of the night. Recently, when I had to stay at a conference hotel that was across the street from a very active hospital emergency room, I knew to ask the front desk for a high room not facing the hospital.
—Scott Mayerowitz, airlines reporter, the Associated Press
- Save cash when your flight is delayed.
When you’re delayed overnight or an airline loses your luggage, you may be covered for unexpected expenses. Call the credit card company you used to purchase your tickets: Many premium credit cards come with flight-delay and baggage-delay coverage that can reimburse the cost of an unexpected hotel room, meals, or the cash needed for incidentals while you’re without your bag.
—Gary Leff, founder, View From The Wing
- Pack your packing list.
I always make a list of what I need to pack before a trip, but once I’ve checked off the last item, I don’t just throw the list away. Instead I toss it into my bag so I can use it again when I’m leaving each hotel. Glancing over items like “cell phone charger” and “passport” keeps me from accidentally leaving those things in the hotel safe or plugged into an outlet.
—Sarah Schlichter, senior editor, Independent Traveler
- Make lower airfares magically appear.
When doing an airfare search for a family or a group of several travelers, it may be less expensive to buy one or two tickets in a single search than to buy all of the tickets in one transaction. That’s because fares are priced differently depending on how many seats are left on the plane (at each price point). So try searching for seats one by one, or searching for two or three at a time, to get the lowest price for each seat. Also, although you don’t get a discount for children occupying a seat, it’s wise to enter a child’s age anyway when booking, since some airlines will attempt to seat you together with children on the same reservation, in the event there are no available adjacent seats when you book your flight.
—George Hobica, founder, Airfare Watchdog
- Improve your photos for posterity.
Take photos in RAW (not JPEG) mode. When I go back through my digital photos from the last 13 years of travels, if the photos are in RAW, I can re-process them and ‘discover’ long-lost, really good pictures. If they’re in JPEG (which 80% are), my options are far more limited.
—Eric Stoen, photographer and family travel expert, Travel Babbo
- Score early check-in.
If you’re arriving by plane in the morning, book your airport-to-hotel transfer through your hotel’s concierge because it will improve your chance of an early check-in.
—Linda Terrill, travel advisor, Luxury Travel Group
- Turn meetings into walks.
On business trips I always try to reach out and connect with as many of my contacts as possible. Instead of asking these folks to take time out of their schedule for a meeting, a meal, or even coffee, I now ask them to go with me on a walk. ‘How about we meet for a 20-minute walk at the front door of your office at X p.m.’ usually elicits a surprised and enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ and leads to a more memorable meeting. Try it and you’ll see!
—Chris McGinnis, founder, TravelSkills
- Upgrade your flight at the gate.
Especially on international flights, airlines are happy to generate additional revenue by selling (comparatively) inexpensive upgrades to premium economy or business class right at the gate. Sometimes these are offered at the check-in kiosk or sometimes there’s a sign. But often, you simply have to ask the check-in person. A current example: A couple flying from Boston to Paris last week on Air France asked at the gate. For $100, they were moved to the Upper Deck of Air France’s 747. The seats there offer two more inches than the standard coach seats in the lower deck. But the kicker is that the gate agent blocked the middle seat in the row too. So, for $100, the travelers had seats on the quieter upper deck, an empty middle seat, and more legroom. Needless to say, they got a lot more sleep than they expected, got into Paris refreshed, and spent their arrival day exploring the town (and eating, of course) rather than fighting fatigue and trying to stay awake.
—Joe Brancatelli, editor and publisher, Joe Sent Me
- Take the metro to the last stop.
This is an easy way to see how the locals really live, and it works in almost any city. When you take the metro to the end of the line, you won’t find the most picturesque part of town, but you’ll be plunged into the everyday routine of the local people, with no tourists around. Alternatively, take the metro to a small neighborhood festival or sporting event outside the city center; you’ll get a true taste of local life there too.
—Wendy Perrin, travel advocate, TripAdvisor
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Author: Wendy Perrin
Original Article: http://blog.tripadvisor.com/2015/10/16/10-genius-travel-tips-youve-never-heard-before/