Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

5 Ways to Get Free Air Miles

Airline miles have significant value, and they are by far the best way to save when traveling by flight. For the airline, the idea is that by awarding frequent flyer miles, they can inspire customer loyalty. The easiest way to accrue these miles is to fly often. However, that’s not practical for everyone, so let’s explore five ways to get those air miles free.

1. Use frequent flyer programs to your advantage.
For a frequent flyer, it’s best to settle on the most lucrative program, and then use it exclusively. The rest of us, however, can do well to participate in multiple programs. It generally doesn’t cost anything to join, and you should avoid the ones that do. Your only responsibility then is to join their email list, and then monitor their website for offers. Sometimes, you’ll find a marketing offer that matches your needs/wants, which will allow you to claim a bunch of free miles.

2. Use airmiles credit cards.
Credit card rates can only fall so low, so in order to distinguish themselves with good customers, credit card companies use incentive programs. Some employ cash-back and points systems while others award air miles. For clients that will use the miles in a timely fashion, we’ve found airmiles credit cardsto be much more lucrative than credit cards employing other incentive types. Some cards even have a 50,000-point bonus, which equals almost two round-trip tickets anywhere.

3. Beyond the bonus, take advantage of travel rewards.
Users with good credit can take a credit-card-based approach to their finances that will accrue them a large amount of free air miles on a regular basis. To do this effectively, you avoid paying with cash or using a debit card. Instead, you pay for everything with your travel rewards credit card: groceries, fuel, mortgage, insurance, utilities and so forth. Then, you pay the bill each month within the grace period so that you don’t incur charges.

4. If you fly for work, use that to your advantage.
If your company has a preferred airline, then join that frequent flyer program, and choose a travel rewards credit card that works with that program. If you have the option of handling the travel purchase, do that. Not only can you claim the miles for the flight, but also you can make the purchase for the ticket on your credit card, which translates into even more points each trip.

5. Involve yourself in the frequent flyer communities online.
On the Internet, there are a number of large frequent flyer communities with websites, newsletters and best of all, forums. Choose one of these communities, immerse yourself and check in at least once per day. Through this participation, you’ll learn various strategies for maximizing the accrual and spending of points. You’ll also be privy to bonus promotions that don’t last long enough to be advertised.

How to get the best deals in Flights

If you wish to book your flights online, head over to eBookers. It is a comprehensive service where you will find an array of great features that can save you money and help you locate the right airline for you. The site provides access to 250 different airlines around the world. Apart from listing cheap and affordable airlines, the site also gives access to over 95,000 hotels all over the world. You will be amazed at the testimonials that people have left on the site.

The site makes it very easy for you to locate the service that you are looking for. There is a comprehensive search facility which can help you locate the best hotels with star ratings at the best locations of your choice. The hotels also come with unbiased reviews so you know what you are getting and the price you need to pay.

The site offers location maps and virtual tours of different hotels which make it very convenient for you to pick your choice. The maps would also help you locate the hotel when you finally get there. Use eBookers to get the best possible deals at down to earth prices.

You can save a lot of money by using the promotional discount codes offered on the site periodically. The site puts up flash sales from time to time and also offers regular discounted rates for visitors. All of these features can help you save a lot of money on your vacation.

You can find which deals offer an extra free night at a hotel and which ones come with complimentary breakfast, and use them to your advantage.

The best way to save money is to go for package deals. You can book multiple travel components at eBookers and avail huge discounts. In fact, the site offers up to 40% savings when you book multiple components using the site.

The site is mobile-ready, which means that you can make your bookings from your mobile phone. If you need to check flights and hotel room bookings that are filling up fast, the “Act Fast” feature promptly shows you which component of your bookings you need to pay immediate attention to.

Sales and customer support is always available through live chat. The website is a member of IATA and ATOL, and you can rest assured that your money is very safe. If your booking has a flight element included, then you would get a full refund if any of the components in the package gets cancelled. The packages and flights are protected by the CAA. The site is also accredited by Verisign. All of these features make eBookers a very safe site to use for all your booking needs.

An All Inclusive Mexico Trip

When you have limited travel time, you want to have the best vacation ever right? After all, like most Americans, I only get a few weeks of holidays each year. I’m jealous of all the people around the world that get up to a month or more. (The French seem to take a month off PLUS get August off just for food measure. That’s not fair!)

While I love long term travel, lately because of work I haven’t had the chance to do it that often and have only been able to take short holidays. So I figure if I am going to only get a few days off, I might as well pamper myself with an all inclusive holiday package. I was skeptical of them at first. I pictured Club Med resorts with old people in socks and sandals. But a friend of mine told me they were worth doing if you find the right one so after looking into it more I realized they weren’t all like that.

I found a few all inclusive packages that did offer excursions out of the resorts and into the country I was visiting. What I learned in my research (and I had to research because this isn’t something that I normally did) was that all inclusive holidays aren’t really packaged tours but just instead a bundling of services.

With all inclusive holidays, you get flight, hotel, and sometimes food and drinks covered. It’s really a great deal. I priced my trip out (I went to Mexico) separately and it turned out to be more expensive. By getting a package, I saved 200 dollars. A friend of mine said that was very common, especially for popular destinations like Mexico, Europe, or Hawaii. Airlines and hotels often work together. I always used to think these all inclusive packages I saw online were a rip off but in some cases they can actually work out to be a better deal.

More You Need to Know About Cheap Travel Insurance

If you are a U.S. citizen and like to travel around the world, you really need to think of buying a separate travel insurance coverage. Some people think they don’t need to make a new purchase since they already have their U.S. health insurance in place. This is not the right thing to do, especially due to the fact that your local health insurance usually isn’t accepted abroad. Even if your policy covers you in another country, you still need to pay for care upfront and try to get your money back once you’re back in the U.S.

It is therefore makes a lot of sense to pay some extra money to purchase travel insurance coverage when you plan a trip to another country. In case you are worried about spending a lot of money, you don’t have to – especially when you can find cheap travel insurance. There are a few points that you need to bear in mind in order to obtain a cheap travel insurance coverage. For instance:

  • Always look for a package policy. It means that if you want travel insurance, you should ensure that you get medical coverage wrapped in it. This will save you from coughing up a lot of money and you will get enough coverage. To cut a right deal, you need to buy it directly from a travel-insurance company.
  • Even if you are interested in buying a package policy, you should seriously think of comparing a few plans before making a choice. There are several sites that allow you to make a comparison to find the best package policy.
  • When making a comparison, always know your needs. Packages also include trip-interruption and –cancellation insurance along with some other medical benefits, but sometimes it is better to buy just evacuation coverage or medical coverage. This will again cost you less.

What it means is that you can always see some reduction in the cost of purchasing a travel insurance plan if you are willing to opt for a package policy and that too after making a comparison. However, you will find a couple of other points that need tending too. For instance:

  • Although it’s tempting to cut corners, you will end up putting yourself in trouble for not having sufficient coverage. Many people go overboard with the idea of buying cheap travel insurance and often get a coverage that doesn’t provide cover for personal liability, medical expenses, baggage, cancellation or cash.
  • Make sure you have the most appropriate travel insurance. What it means is that it is of immense importance to ensure that the type of holiday you are planning matches the insurance policy. If you are interested in skiing or water sports, make sure you are covered for these activities.

The fact of the matter is that though travel insurance coverage costs you around 4% to 8% of your total trip expenses, some people just don’t want to pay the extra money. If you know the importance of traveling with a right coverage in place but don’t want to make a move because of the cost of taking out an insurance policy, you should pay attention to above mentioned points to clinch a better deal.

Travel Checklists

Dream vacations don’t always go as planned. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there! While I will spare you the ugly details of some of my vacation nightmares, I will give you two key tips to help you avoid a vacation of costly ruin.
Firstly, making a travel checklist is key—It is a great way to keep you organized, make you prepared, save you time, and save you money. A travel checklist is the prep work for your trip, which allows you enough room to pick up things last minute, without inflated prices, and ensure you have everything you need for an awesome, dream vacation. Doing this in advance and making a copy will help set you off with ease.

Start off by thinking about everything, (and I do mean EVERYTHING!), you need and writing it down. Try to be as detailed as possible; and don’t leave off the obvious stuff! Important things such as passports and tickets are often left behind, more than anything. After you compile a rough draft, look over your list and refine it—doing something as simple as categorizing your needs can be a big help.

When it finally comes to packing day, always remember to double check your list!

Secondly, a travel checklist can’t necessarily save you from health or injury related issues. That is why, it is important to include travel insurance on your checklist! For external, effectual events, travel insurance is key. Anything from getting the flu to sustaining a major injury, such as breaking your leg can put a damper on your traveling plans and often times, your pocket. I highly recommend out-of-country, adventure, and senior travel insurance.

While travel insurance isn’t cheap, it will offer you peace of mind and can save you from unplanned expenses, such as: cancellation fees, extra ticketing prices, medical expenses, baggage loss, and even damage expenses.

When you are older, you never know what might happen. The risks associated with travel greatly increase, especially the medical risks. Not all domestic insurance can cover you while you are overseas and you don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country with a large medical bill. Most seniors live on fixed incomes so a large bill can do a lot of financial damage. Getting travel insurance is the best way to keep your self protected and have piece of mind on your trip.

Five Last Minute Travel Bargains

There’s nothing better than that smug, satisfied feeling you get when you find out that the person on the next sun-lounger to you paid a lot more for the same holiday. Yet there’s an art to getting the best last minute travel bargains that can be difficult to perfect.

The following are examples of last minute travel bargains to suit every budget and taste.

1) Borneo

Holidays in Borneo can be surprisingly good value for money, and Southeast Asia as a whole is growing in popularity as a destination.

A study conducted by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that the popularity of Southeast Asia as an overseas tourism destination has grown continuously throughout 2009 and 2010. Should you take the plunge and book a last minute break to Borneo you are sure to discover why.

A diverse country of lush forests, misty mountains, stunning beaches and secluded islands, Borneo is a nature lover’s paradise. With internal flights offering excellent value for money, it is a place that is inexpensive and easy to get around. This means that you get to see the best that this beautiful country has to offer in one trip.

2) Thailand

Another Southeast Asian destination that offers excellent value for money is Thailand. Once you have organised your flight over there, accommodation is astonishingly cheap.

Thailand is another place that is easy to get around, meaning that you get to see more for your money. It is perfectly possible to spend a few days enjoying the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, followed by a spell exploring the temples of Chang Mai, and rounded off perfectly with a beach break on one of the Thai islands.

Koi Samui is one of the most beautiful of all the Thai islands and offers Thailand’s trademark white sandy beaches and warm waters. Chaweng, Bophut and Big Buddha are all popular beaches perfect for relaxing on with a drink in hand.

3) Iceland

Iceland is a place that is currently picking itself up and dusting itself off after the collapse of its currency, the Kronur. Once a prohibitively expensive place to visit, Iceland is now much better value for money.

A welcome change from the typical beach holiday, Iceland is a magical and mysterious place. Wallowing in a steaming lagoon, taking in ice caps and volcanoes, and even possibly seeing in the Northern Lights, are all memories that can be made in Iceland.

Reykjavic is Iceland’s capital city and is a charming place to spend a few days. With a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains, this modern city with an olde-worlde spirit is a cold but warming city.

4) Bulgaria

Cheap flights are readily available to this eastern European destination, and it is a country that shouldn’t be overlooked. Boasting beautiful beaches along its Black Sea Coast, a trip to Bulgaria is an interesting mix of beach holiday and culture.

The city of Sofia is somewhat surprisingly cosmopolitan and has some beautiful city parks just waiting to be explored.

All in all, Bulgaria may surprise you with what it can offer for your money.

5) London

Fair enough, London is hardly an exotic destination; however, if you only have a weekend to spare, it has a lot to offer in terms of a last minute mini-break. The UK recession has hit the capital hard, and hotel and restaurant prices are cheaper than they were a few years ago.

Even many high-end London hotels are slashing their rates to keep business booming, making a luxurious last minute stay a possibility.

Deals can also be had on London attractions such as West End theatre tickets, and don’t forget that many of London’s best attractions are absolutely free.

For example, the amazing Science Museum and the iconic British Museum are both free to enter, as are all museums and galleries to be found in the capital.

When you imagine how much art and culture you could enjoy during a trip to London, the destination seems like excellent value for money.

Wherever you choose to take your last minute bargain holiday, you’re sure to have an even sweeter experience with the knowledge that you got it at the lowest possible price.

Ways to lower the cost of your trip even more are to shop around, be flexible on flight dates, times and destinations, and consider using some of the lesser known areas or resorts as a base. That way you’ll get more holiday for your money, and maybe even have some cash left to spend on a London mini-break when you get back home.

© 2012 Pat Travels the World