Our favorite (above-board) tip is to download a program such as NetStumbler, which goes above and beyond your computer's built-in Wi-Fi detector by locating "hidden" Wi-Fi networks your PC might have missed. If you're on a Bluetooth-enabled Mac, iStumbler will provide the same service. Smartphone users can get apps like JiWire's Free Wi-Fi Finder, whose directory tracks the exact location of nearly 150,000 free networks worldwide.
As I mention above, every minute you pass without a seat assignment is another minute that your aisle or window seat is given to someone else. Your best bet is to check in online, which can typically be done up to 24 hours before your flight. But note that not all flights, airlines or classes of travel permit advance check-in (or seating assignments).
Outsource your airfare benchmarking by signing up for alerts that deliver the best current flight deals to your inbox. Customize your route and dates, and you'll be able to keep tabs on price drops and quickly find out when prices are on the rise. Both Kayak and FareCompare offer notifications for specific city combinations and dates. Another handy fare-alert option comes from our sister site, Airfarewatchdog.
What happens if you arrive in a city, go to grab your email confirmation for your accommodation, and your phone and laptop are out of battery? I always make sure I have a hard copy of my guesthouse name and their address, as well as directions if I won’t be taking a taxi. Once I arrive, I’ll grab one of the hotel’s business cards, so I’ll always know where I’m staying, and can show it to locals to ask for help with finding my way back.
However, experts warn against passing up extremely cheap flights for the sake of accumulating points. Sometimes there are offers out there that really are too good to miss, and one ought to stay level-headed within the points game. The same goes for balancing frugality and practicality. The cheapest flight is often not the one that gets you from Point A to Point B the fastest, so it is important to know what makes sense for the trip at hand, or how much you can handle as a traveler. Although, it is beneficial to try to consolidate a trip into one or two airlines if possible (less distance to cover when running between gates!).
For us, that's Aeroplan. Recently, we bought tickets to Palm Springs and we made sure to purchase tickets on Air Canada. Now, when we fly, we'll automatically earn miles towards future travel. This saves us a lot of money each year because we can use our Aeroplan miles towards airline tickets or hotels. It really saves us a lot by picking a preferred airline and flying with them as much as possible.
Tissue Paper: For delicate items, one of our favorite packing tips is to use tissue paper. Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
Having trouble paying for your next jaunt? Invite a few friends. The more people you can get to pool money into a single getaway, the better. Groups of travelers hitting the road together can see huge savings on packages, accommodations, and more, whether by taking advantage of low-priced vacation rentals or snapping up discounted group package rates.
If you're going to be traveling routinely, it's worth buying duplicates of key items and leaving them in your travel bag, versus remembering to repack them after using them at home. For me, this is things like laptop and phone chargers, toothbrushes, and basic toiletries. I rarely forget these necessities since I have a travel set that's always in my suitcase or laptop bag.
Very informative post Lauren! I use most of these tips myself but there were a couple that I hadn’t thought of before – I especially love 89. I google image places to see what they look like too. I have also always used Skyscanner but have started looking on Momondo a lot more as there have been a lot of times when flights are cheaper on there. I also recently discovered Secret Flying which publishes error fares and great deals for flights – some of the deals on here are unbelievable!
It’s a far cry from doctors’ typical jet lag tips ― like avoiding caffeine and alcohol before you try to sleep, slowly adjusting your sleep schedule to a new time zone or even using small doses of melatonin to help fall asleep when your body typically wouldn’t want to, the study’s author Cristina Ruscitto, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Surrey (and former long-haul air crew member), told The Huffington Post. The idea is, she said, “that you readjust by eating in line with local time ― not just sleeping on local time.” This revelation could be an easy fix for jet lagged travelers everywhere.