Another first-person story from an anonymous traveler, who paid too much. “I should have known better,” she admits – but, we’re all human, we all make errors. Learn from hers!
Yes, even before I saw Rick’s post on “Top 5 Tips to Get the Cheapest Airfare this Spring and Summer” – I knew that procrastinating was stupid. Really I did. Unfortunately, nobody put a gun to my head and said “get your ticket today”, and so I let it slide.
Make that, two big mistakes. For some reason, I decided that this weekend event I had to attend in the Midwest required me to fly out on a Friday and return on Sunday. I could’ve gotten an extra day or two off, but nooooo. It didn’t occur to me to ask.
With the result that I made reservations on the two most expensive days to fly (well, they usually are) plus, I waited until just a couple of weeks before departure to book the tickets. Idiot. Somehow I forgot that there are fewer flights these days, and that other people might possibly want to travel when I want to travel.
Anyway, I’ve flown this route numerous times for $300 (and occasionally for a lot less). But I paid $500. On Southwest. You should have seen what the other airlines were asking.
I better have a real good time on this trip, that’s all I can say. Oh, I can also say, read Rick’s tips – and follow them. Seriously.
The coming vacation season is not like last year. So, I’ve been thinking about how you can get the cheapest possible airfare for any trips you’ll be taking this spring or summer.
Of course, you’ll want to start at FareCompare.com. But there are other things to keep in mind, too – including when to shop, and when to travel. So take a look at these tips – and have a wonderful (and cheap) trip.
Top 5 Tips to Get the Cheapest Airfare this Spring and Summer
1. Don’t procrastinate: Last year, procrastinators were rewarded with last minute discounts; not this year. Begin shopping a few months before you plan to travel, and make your purchase no later than a month before you go.
2. Shop for airfare on Tuesdays through Thursdays: The airline sales are short-lived – they typically last 3-days or less – and tend to debut on Tuesdays (or sometimes late Monday).
3. Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays: These are typically the cheapest days to travel, and some airfare sales specify travel on these days; if you can only put half your trip on one of these days, do so and you’ll at least get half the benefit.
4. Opt for connecting flights: Sure, non-stops are more convenient, but sometimes connecting flights are half the cost.
5. Pack light: Use a carryon to avoid bag fees that can be as much as 30% of your total ticket price; it’s an easy way to save.
The airports are hoping for more fliers this summer – at least more compared to the doldrums of last year – and if you’ll be joining the anticipated crowds, you’ll notice some changes (as USA Today did).
Some of you might feel the need for a refresher course in airline and security procedures. And naturally, I’m here to help.
Haven’t flown since Christmas? Since 2007? Since 9/11? I’ve got you covered – with the basics - so please keep reading…
So You Haven’t Flown in Awhile – What to Expect at the Airport
UPDATE: See the latest from the TSA below:
I’ve been hearing a few horror stories about kids on Spring Break getting their wallets stolen (or losing them).
Yes, you can cancel your credit cards – but what about that all important government ID such as a driver’s license – which must be shown to get through security and onto your plane?
Here are some things you should do if you’re a victim of “ID theft”:
- Make a police report: Do this as soon as possible; you never know, it might result in getting your ID back, but at the very least, it will provide you with paperwork to show security and airline officials, as proof of your loss.
- Contact consulate: If traveling in another country, contact the nearest embassy or consulate immediately – find country-by-country listings and contact info on the State Dept. website (in fact, print it out and take it with you on your travels).
- Contact your airline: This may not be necessary or even do much good, but it doesn’t hurt to call and they may have some advice for you. A rep for American Airlines says, “Get to the airport early.” I agree.
- Be at the airport at least 3-4 hours (my estimate) before your flight departs: You will probably have to undergo “additional screening” as well as a possibly lengthy interview with a TSA officer; be polite and cooperative. UPDATE: from the TSA’s Greg Soule – “Passengers who lost their ID’s should allow extra time to go through security, bring other IDs that may be help verify their identity and explain to the security officer why they do not have proper ID. Passenger may have to provide additional information to verify their identity and in some cases may receive additional screening.”
About all I can add to this is, try not to lose your ID in the first place; a female colleague suggests women not carry purses into bars or restaurants, but simply slip money and ID into a front pants pocket.
I just wanted to alert everyone who will be traveling to another country this year, that the State Dept. has a useful and informative section of its website called “Country Specific Information” under international travel.
Although not a cultural bible, by any means, it can be an excellent resource for staying out of trouble (plus they have helpful phone numbers in case you do get into trouble).
For example, if you read my post about the “sexy text messages” you know that earned a couple of airline cabin crew members a jail sentence in Dubai. However, had they researched Dubai on the State Dept. information (under United Arab Emirates), they would have seen this:
“Persons violating Emirati laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Americans have been arrested in the past for obscene hand gestures, using inappropriate (foul) language with a police official, and for public displays of affection, such as kissing.” – U.S. State Dept.
Perhaps you’re thinking you don’t need this if you’re just traveling to good old Europe. Maybe. Maybe not. I saw this under “United Kingdom”:
“A number of U.S. citizens are lured to the United Kingdom each year in the belief that they have won a lottery or have inherited from the estate of a long-lost relative. Invariably, the person contacted is the victim of fraud.” – U.S. State Dept.
Okay, I don’t really think you’ll fall for that. But somebody is…
I was reading an article on Hipster Travel that mentioned FareCompare in the headlines, and it was all about how the writer failed to score a cheap airfare that he/she was alerted to.
In fairness, the author realized his mistake, which was waiting waaay too long to take advantage of the alert.
If you want to find the cheapest airfare, see my easy “how-to” response – complete with a companion video. I promise it will be worth your while.
People in Los Angeles were jolted awake this morning by a 4.4 quake, but, I’m guessing most probably just went back to bed.
After all, they’ve seen worse. It has a tough year in terms of seismic activity what with the Haiti quake, and the terrible temblor in Chile.
Now suppose you’re traveling when a quake hits – do you know what to do? If you’re not from California, maybe not – and I’ll bet some of my friends in LA could use a refresher. So I’ve put together some useful tips and info to help.
Keep reading for what to do before, during and after a quake, to keep yourself safe and sane…
Travelers: What to Do Before, During and After an Earthquake
Gadling’s always-entertaining Galley Gossip notes that popular singer Lady Gaga was on a recent transatlantic flight when her legs started to swell. She allegedly had to be coaxed into changing into a less restrictive outfit.
What was she wearing? Platform shoes – and black and yellow tape. Yes, tape.
Anyway, Gaga changed her “clothes” and a good thing, too, because swelling can be a sign of Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), which according to the Healthy Travel Blog, you don’t ever want to get. You can avoid it by exercise (and United’s website has some good ones, with pictures).
Keep reading for more easy “staying healthy on a long flight” tips (that means you, too, Gaga)…
How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights – Attention Lady Gaga