It’s the time of year when many of us are planning our holiday trips or vacations. So I thought I would provide some updated tips from my travel book, Doctor Travel’s Cure For The Common Trip. While the book was written a few years ago, much of the advice is still applicable today. There are still ways to be an expert flyer without being a road warrior.
- Find flights at Oneworld.com, Kayak.com, expertflyer.com
- Start online but don’t be afraid to call the airlines directly. Some airlines charge you a booking fee, but if you tell them you could not find what you wanted online, often they will waive the fee.
- Follow the chatters and bloggers. Boardingarea.com, Flyertalk, and Milepoint.com along with specific airline posts on Twitter and Facebook will help you to find early deals.
- Get credit cards that offer frequent flyer points. Capital One, Citibank, Chase Ink, Diners Club (MasterCard) offer points that can be redeemed for free flights when you use their cards for purchases such as utilities, cell phone, gasoline, etc.
- If you are not enrolled in airline, hotel and rental car loyalty programs sign up before you plan the next trip. You can keep track of the points using Points.com or Awardwallet.com.
This week Hurricane Sandy canceled thousands of flights. You never know what will happen when you book a vacation trip. Road warriors create strategies to protect their flight travel, why don’t you?
- Avoid booking airlines that are in labor negotiations.
- Avoid bookings with tight connections.
- Fly early in the day so you have more time to rebook in the event of a cancellation.
- Ask for status match if you have a top-level status on another airline. Often the airline will match your perks such as upgrades, early boarding, and special check-in.
- Know your rights. In Europe, for instance, passengers on flights that is four hours or longer to the U.S. may be entitled to $774 in compensation, if the flight cancelation was avoidable.
- Consider purchasing a back-up ticket, if the flight is absolutely necessary, on another airline. If your flight is delayed, take the refund and fly on the backup ticket.
- Carry your bags if you have to move to other flights on route.
- Join airline clubs. Not only is it a great place to relax, enjoy free snacks and beverages, the most experienced and helpful agents work the front desk. They treat you better, often have better solutions and have few angry customers. If you don’t have a membership, most clubs offer a daily fee, which may be worth the small investment.
Even if Halloween, the Election and Hurricane Sandy are scary, travel doesn’t have to be.