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Travel - Secrets

Chapter 29

The following are all the secrets of travel that did not make it into Chapter 28.

Be A Host to Save on Accommodations

The Affordable Travel Club provides a way to travel more cheaply by staying in peoples homes, if you are willing to open your home to others as well. You pay annual dues of about $75 (last time I checked, and then you can select from over 2000 homes in most states and many other countries. You can stay at them for just $15 ($20 for two), which includes breakfast. The catch is that you have to provide the same opportunity to others in the club, and you have to be at least 40 years old.

If you like to meet new people, this is an interesting option. You can learn more at the club website here: The Evergreen Bed and Breakfast Club has a similar deal, which you can read about at They limit membership to those over 50.

Cheaper European Travel

Europe has become More expensive for travelers, but there are still some great destinations that are relatively inexpensive. Some are half the cost of the more popular areas for hotels and meals. Here are a three to check out:

Lisbon, Portugal - Not the cheapest of destinations, but still typically 25% less for accommodations than most other European capitals. Great parks, Saint George's Castle, and an active night life.

Krakow, Poland - On the Vistula River, near castles ancient markets, and the Auschwitz death camp.

Bohemia, Czech Republic - Accommodations in the smaller cities of this area are much less expensive than most of Europe. There are nature trails, music festivals, historic castles and more.

Getting Bumped On Purpose

My wife's grandmother was bumped from a flight back to Ecuador from Los Angeles, and the airline paid for the hotel and meals for the three of us even though we were not flying with her (we explained that we had driven a long way and she needed us to stay). They also gave her a voucher good for $400 towards any flight on their airline. We later learned that they bumped people almost every night on this particular flight, so if you wanted get a free airfare voucher you could plan on it.

On a recent flight to San Francisco our plane was over-booked. The employee at the gate asked if anyone was interested in taking a different flight. We asked for details and he offered my wife and I $200 each in fare credit if we would take a flight that connected in Phoenix instead of Salt Lake City. As it turns out, we would arrive just twenty minutes later than with our original itinerary.

We agreed, but unfortunately we were not "bumped" because some passengers did not show up. These opportunities do come up fairly often, though, especially on some routes. You are usually well-compensated too. We would have been paid $400 each if the delay would have been greater. So if you are interested in getting a free plane ticket or two and you are flexible, pay attention, and even ask if the flight is overbooked. If so get put on the "bump list." By the way, this works best if you are traveling with only carry-on luggage, since they may not bump those who already have luggage checked.

Getting Through the Airport Quickly

Here are five things you can do to reduce the time spent in lines at the airport:

1. Timing Matters

If the price is the same and you have flexibility, you may want to book a flight that leaves on Saturday mornings, or any early morning or late evening. These less popular times are less busy, with fewer and shorter lines.

2. Check In Online

Northwest, Continental and Delta Airlines, as well as some others, allow you to check in online up to 24 hours before your flight. This saves you time at the airport, although you'll still have to check your luggage and go through security.

3. Check Bags Early

Some airlines allow you to check your luggage in the day before the flight. If you are leaving from a local airport, this can be a nice way to avoid the long lines the day of the flight. Ask if your airline allows this.

4. Dress Nice

Research shows that clothing matters. Specifically, it has been found that those wearing sloppy clothing are subjected to more searches than those wearing business clothes. In any case, tuck in your shirt.

5. Make It Easy For Security

Have unusual items in your checked luggage, not in your carry-on bag, where it will be noticed and cause a search. Also, pack your carry-on neatly and not too tightly, so it can be searched and repacked quickly. have the bag unlocked and ready for a search, and know what is allowed or not. Be ready to remove your shoes. Have allowable liquids in the required clear plastic bag.

Cheaper Rental Cars

The discount rental car companies are not all the same. We have seen the rates for a compact car at some companies be as much as double those at others. At the moment (2007) Thrifty Car rental seems to be the cheapest pretty consistently, but that can change, so check several companies.

Check the deals available through any frequent flier programs you are enrolled in. The same car can be as much as 40% less using one versus another.

Use the internet. Many car rental companies are still trying to build their online presence. They offer discounts for booking over the internet, because it saves them money.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

Note: This chapter on secrets of travel was part of the e-book Travel Secrets (the last one, in fact). Now you can get all of them for free. See the homepage (the link is at the bottom of this page) for a list of all chapters and links to them.

Other Pages:

United States Travel
Cheap Family Vacations
Cheap Solo Vacations
10 Cheap Vacations

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