Over the years, I have traveled over 1 million miles to nearly 50 countries. Given that I fly so frequently, I am often asked for my suggestions for traveling more comfortably, efficiently, and cheaply. Here is a VERY short list:
- Subscribe to TripIt Pro - TripIt is an awesome website/app that makes life easier for all travelers. When you book a flight, hotel or car, you simply forward your confirmation email to TripIt and it populates your travel plans in one place. The pro version monitors flights and tells you of delays (typically before you hear from the airline). And it notifies you when prices drop. I have saved hundreds of dollars just on this one feature. In fact, I just saved another $150 today.
- Travel with an iPad – Although this is a minor tip, if you bring your iPad instead of a computer, you save time in the security line. You don’t need to remove iPads from your briefcase (except in some countries outside of the United States). I use Carbonite to back up all of my files from my computer in the cloud, so I can access them on my iPad anywhere/any time.
- Use SeatGuru.com – If you fly often and have not used SeatGuru, you are missing out. This website has the configuration of every aircraft on every airline. It tells you which are the best seats and which ones to avoid. If you augment this with my strategy for always getting a good seat on a plane, you will be more comfortable.
- Buy Premium Seating – First class seats are typically overpriced, especially for shorter trips when you can suck it up and be uncomfortable for a couple of hours. But getting extra legroom AND getting priority access through security lines and boarding is worth the money for any flight. Several airlines offer this. United has Economy Plus with Premier Access. JetBlue has Even More Space seating which also gets you through a special line at security and early boarding.
- Use Hotwire and Priceline – I have been using these sites for ages and can get incredible deals on hotels. A few years back (2006) I wrote an article on how to use these sites most effectively to get the best rate. Things have not changed much since then, although there are sites where people share their deals with others helping you find the best rates.
- Take Advantage of Credit Card Offerings – Most people are not aware of the deals you can get with your credit card. Some offer car rental insurance (I pay extra to use AMEX’s $25 flat fee for complete coverage). Other offer freebies like Global Entry (speed through US Customs), airline companion tickets, or airline lounge access (e.g., Priority Pass). And don’t forget to use your AAA card for discounts (Hilton offers great rates with the card).
There are SO many more ways to travel comfortably, efficiently, and cheaply. What other suggestions do you have?