Thursday, December 15, 2011

Travel Tips for the Holidays

Once again, the holidays are approaching like a whistling train heading toward the station full of travelers awaiting seat assignments and permission to board. What better time, then, to discuss some travel tips with the hope that it will make your holiday travel a bit more enjoyable. The following tips may seem like common sense to many seasoned travelers, however, with holiday travel days rushing toward us like oncoming headlights many of us forget the basics in our rush to schedule the trip.
Tip #1:  Use Your Long Beach Airport!
Because we are not LAX, which is forecast to be the busiest airport in the nation this holiday, your trip will already be more pleasant by taking advantage of your Long Beach Airport’s easy-in, easy-out facility. And, generally speaking, our ticket prices are the lowest in California. We also boast a “Yelp” rating of 4.5 stars out of five, which is a coveted rating for any business.
Tip #2:  Look for fare sales
Check search engines, airline websites, sign up for email alerts, and pay attention to the social network sites for pop-up fare sales. Even some private jet charter companies are selling one-way “empty legs” on their private jets on Facebook. Some companies are using Twitter to advertise sales as well.
Tip #3:  Travel at off-peak hours and days
Travelers may save a substantial amount of money on their ticket by traveling at off-peak hours, which typically means very early in the morning or late at night during the weekdays. Many times one may find a deal if an airline is trying to fill remaining seats on a route with lower demand. Check the travel websites and compare.
Tip #4:  Try to book early
Try to book your flights at least 21 days in advance. This approach may save you some money. Avoid last minute buys if possible.
Tip #5:  Compare total costs
Using a travel search engine such as Orbitz or Bing is an easy way of quickly comparing prices. These search engines will help you narrow your choices. When you have selected your airline, check their website for schedule and pricing. It may be surprising to note that prices on the search engines and on the airline’s own website sometimes will vary. When comparing travel costs take into consideration ancillary fees such as baggage fees, change fees etc.
Tip #6:  Pack light and ship the gifts
Baggage fees, fees, fees. Need I say more? Snow globes will be confiscated if found in carry-on bags. So will the wine. Check the gifts or ship them before you travel. Even the baby food needs to fit within the approved amount of liquid allowed on board. However, many airlines do not charge for baby strollers or child seats. Pre-wrapping any gifts in the luggage can be a waste of time and there’s a good chance they’ll be opened and checked by screeners.
Tip #7:  Check the TSA website
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is really working hard to be as traveler friendly as possible while still maintaining the highest levels of security and fulfilling their federally mandated mission of protecting the public and the country. Their website is full of useful information. The following link will take you to the Travel Assistant page on their website which will answer many questions and help with your travel plans:
Tip #8:  Copy all documents, identification and credit cards
Make copies of all documents, identification, passports, credit cards, insurance cards and contact numbers. Store them in a separate location, apart from the actual items, so you’ll have copies of everything should you need to report them lost or stolen. Also, place identification inside your luggage. If the identification outside your luggage should disappear, and your bag is lost or stolen, identification inside the bag can solve lots of potential problems.
Tip #9:  Split up the valuables
If your wallet gets lost or stolen it will be less of an issue if you split up the credit cards, cash and other valuables.
Tip #10:  Carry a change of clothes
If you’re traveling internationally or making one or more stops on the way to your destination, carrying a change of clothes onboard can substantially lessen the headache of lost, stolen, or delayed baggage.