Unless your job frequently takes you across the country or around the world, you're likely to be baffled or even intimidated by the complicated world of grouchy TSA agents, overworked airline attendants, impatient car rental personnel and sometimes snobbish hotel staff. Here's what the pros can tell you about cheaper, safer, more convenient travel.
1. Choose Your Frequent Flyer Program Carefully
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by Kuster & Wildhaber Photography
The best frequent flyer program includes all your travel points on a single card. If you have multiple cards, you're probably never going to amass enough miles to get great perks. Carefully research an airline before choosing it to make sure they cover the areas you want to travel, or at least honor miles from ones that do.
2. Learn How to Pack Bags Smartly
Packing your entire closet seems like a good idea until you've had to wrestle with it for several thousand miles. Pack one set of clothing for each day of the week and plan to wash them once per week. Roll an entire outfit, including underwear, socks and accessories, up for each day. Then all you'll have to do is grab, dress and go. Rolling clothes causes fewer wrinkles than folding.
3. Put on Your Happy Face
Most people underestimate how much good it does to be cheerful, polite and courteous to the staff at airports, car rentals and hotels. These people face grouches all day every day, and often bend over to help the few who are patient and nice.
4. Drop Several Devices and Bring a Smartphone
If you carry an MP3 player, an eReader, a GPS, a phone, an alarm clock and a camera, your bag is going to weigh a ton. Ditch the multiple devices and carry your smartphone. You'll always have your phone, and you'll also have access to the weather, news, a GPS, a clock (which automatically changes as you cross time zones) and useful apps like flashlights, sports scores, bar code scanners and more. For those on business, Blackberry mobile device management
ensures that all of your portable devices are updated simultaneously any time you make a change to your schedule.
5. Always Question Your GPS
The Wilson family followed Google Maps flawlessly for over 2,500 miles. But on the sixth day of their travels, the GPS sent them three hours out of the way with incorrect directions to Mt. Saint Helens. Always double-check your GPS directions with a local before heading out. Sometimes these directions send you into dangerous areas or miles out of the way.
6. Secure Reservations Early
The earlier you book reservations, the better price you can get. Six to eight weeks is good, six months is better, and one year is great.
7. Rethink Your Baggage
Rolling cases are popular, but many experienced travelers find a simple backpack or duffle bag is easier to manage. Before deciding, pack the bag and spend several minutes carrying it. Don't head out without a fully tested pack.
8. Learn a Few Native Phrases Before You Go
Knowing how to say a few phrases in the native language can mean the difference in finding a bathroom, making your tour on time or even missing a flight. Learn how to ask for important travel sites (airports, train depots, taxis, etc), bathrooms, and other common phrases.
Take these pro tips and make your next travel adventure easier, cheaper and more enjoyable.
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