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I always use Expedia to get a general idea of how much something will cost, though I rarely book through them anymore. I like Delta because they are generally cheap, I have a miles thingy with them, they aren't as sucky as United, they are pleasant and have tons of movies to watch... I'm easily pleased. I have also flown with Emirates, Virgin Australia, Qantas / American Airlines - all good but not normally the cheapest.
For US domestic, I love Southwest but my next choice is Delta. I'm all about the cheapest and fastest. For Australia domestic I pretty much always used Jetstar or Tigerair.
I have read many people suggest getting a travel rewards credit card, and I completely agree. It is one of the best, easiest ways to get free flights. I personally love Delta, but there are tons out there - I have heard great things about Southwest and Chase Sapphire.
- Compare, compare, compare. Like I said, I use Expedia to get an idea of how much things will cost, I look at different airlines, airports and dates as well. When planning for Europe, I looked at buses, trains and flights to see which was the cheapest / best option. Another example - flying from Louisville to London is about $1,500. Flying from Louisville to Dublin is about $1000. Say what? A flight from Dublin to London is about $100 and we want to see Dublin anyway, so really we saved ourselves $500. And when you're married and it's coming out of one account-that's $1000. Shopping money!
- Pack lightly. This goes for checked & carry on. If it's a short trip, a carry on backpack or small suitcase is all you need, plus a handbag or something. Airports and planes are not the places you want to be lugging awkward and heavy things (trust me, I've
- Bring at least one snack and one book. Obviously, I love to read so I always bring a book.. or two... I also bring a snack (like almonds or rice cakes) although airport food is sometimes necessary and unavoidable, I try to save that just for meals during layovers.
- Buy a drink at the airport - after security. I personally buy a big ol bottle of water after I get through security. I know you get free drinks on the plane, but I hate waiting and they never give me enough - I like my liquids. Flying makes me feel dehydrated, so h2o FTW.
- Comfort is key. I have a similar 'uniform' for each flight I take - leggings, boots or sneakers, comfy tee and a coat with a hoodie. I like the hoodie because its like a mini pillow, and helps a little to block out the light and noise.
|LC does it again|
- Calm down and be nice. People can be kind of annoying and it can get frustrating when they hit you with their bags or stand in front of you at the luggage merry go round (I'm waiting too, butthole). I try to always be pleasant to security, flight attendants, other passengers - I know this should be common courtesy but I really find it makes my day more pleasant if I just be nice, patient and remember to smile.
Tripadvisor - I don't think I have ever actually booked anything via tripadvisor but it is an absolutely fabulous tool for finding good hotels and tips about certain places.
I frequently check agoda, priceline and hotels.com as well - but tripadvisor has never steered me wrong.
I read as many reviews for a place as I can because somebody else's 'worst hotel ever' reason might not be a big deal to me. I don't particularly care about the staff unless they spit in my face. I just want somewhere clean, safe and a good location. It would be great if the staff were wonderful and helpful, or the breakfast was delicious but I care about people saying things like bed bugs, items stolen or bad areas.
My goals for hotels are cheap, safe, clean and comfortable.
I would love to stay in fancy hotels, or just better than average hotels, but at the end of the day we won't be spending our vacation in a hotel - and if we do, we're doing it wrong.
I google distances as well - KC and I love to walk, but I don't want to save money by staying in x area if we have to catch taxis to get everywhere. I would rather stay as close as possible so I can walk everywhere, or utilise public transport. So I pick something, like Big Ben, and then I 'get directions' to the hotel to see where it is. Obviously I don't want to stay right next to Big Ben, but you get the idea.
I, personally, never expect an upgrade or freebies. If I want a certain room, that is the room I will book. I don't bribe or try to sweet talk the front desk person because that's just not my style. However, on our honeymoon, I guess we were just so happy and nice and honeymoon-ey that the front desk lady upgraded us to a penthouse suite. I know she probably does that for everyone, but it was a nice and unexpected gesture.
- Pick something you want to be near, like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or the like. Google to make sure that is a good area, and then use Tripadvisor and google maps to find a good hotel.
- Set a budget - like, $100-$150 a night for the whole trip. You might have to pay more in places like Paris, but you can make up for it by going cheaper in another city.
- Pay in advance. A lot of hotels will let you book without paying or only with a deposit, but I prefer to pay in advance. It's often cheaper, and that way it doesn't come out of the money that you bring with you to your destination.
- Use a name your own price feature, like Priceline or Hotwire - I have only used this a couple of times and it is a great tool. There is a plethora of information on the internet and lots of good experiences. I am hoping to use this more when we go to Europe. Better Bidding is a brilliant place to start.
- Be friendly and polite. It never hurts. I'm sure people working at hotels (well, people everywhere) deal with rude, assuming, demanding people all the live long day. Won't you be a refreshing change?
I also find it super helpful to write everything down as I am planning in a cute little travel journal or notebook.
Do you have any tips or resources that are essential to your travel plans?