While traveling is comparatively cheaper than it used to be thanks to increased competition and Internet-based bookings and deals, grabbing a flight is still hardly a matter of throwing a bunch of change on the ticket counter and picking up your boarding pass. Traveling with your family can be an expensive hassle, and even going to-and-fro for work-related purposes can add up if your company isn’t picking up the entire tab. That’s why it’s important to get your hands on as many tips for safe, cheap travel as you possibly can.
Travelling well primarily involves combining some common-sense tips with a little shopping around to see what best suits your needs, and the needs of your family. Here are five tips to help you travel anywhere safely, cheaply, and with as little hassle as possible.
Be careful when packing your bags – Airlines today aren’t shy about charging $25 or better for a checked bag, and getting hit up for the charge can be a nightmare if you’re not expecting it. Travel light by packing effectively: roll up your clothes instead of folding them, for instance. With some skill, you can greatly reduce the amount of luggage you’ll need to check at the ticket counter. Don’t forget that you can’t take large amounts of liquids on the plane with you, however. If you’re staying at a hotel, it’s not a bad idea to use the toiletries provided (shampoo, soap, toothpaste) in lieu of lugging your own shampoo.
Consider travel options beyond planes – If you have a few extra hours to spare, travelling across a State or two by train or bus might not be the worst idea. Trains are a relatively relaxing way to travel, and while buses aren’t as comfortable as planes or trains, they’re incredibly cost-effective thanks to companies like Megabus.
Prep your smartphone and laptop for travel – If you have e-tickets, forward them to yourself just before boarding so that you can bring them up easily and efficiently. Make a checklist of all the tech you need to take on the trip (don’t forget chargers!!), and definitely learn how to sniff out free Wi-Fi hotspots.
If you fly a lot, get a rewards card – In the United States, many credit card companies offer a card for frequent fliers. This is a great way to earn points for seating upgrades, not to mention massive discounts on fares.
Ask retail stores to ship your items home to avoid additional costs – Going shopping while you’re away? Sure, what else is a vacation for? Going back to that little factoid about airlines charging high rates for checked baggage, however, it’s never a bad idea to ask retail outlets if they’re capable of shipping your purchase home. It’s far easier than paying out the nose to cram it on a plane.
For more great tips on safe, cheap travel, visit:
10 Ways to Travel Safer and Cheaper at LifeHacker
Budget Travel at About.com
The 7 Cheapest Ways to Travel at the Independent Traveller