Travel en-US The 8 Scariest Things Probably Coming to Air Travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-scariest-things-probably-coming-to-air-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stressed traveler" title="stressed traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hands up if you remember getting free meals on your flights.</p> <p>It wasn't too long ago that we got free checked bags, and did not have to pay for headphones or blankets, either. As time goes on, the airline industry is making changes that keep themselves in profit, and us wishing we had the money to fly first class. Or better yet, have our own plane. And things are only going to get worse. (See also: <a href="">Tricks to Make Flying in Coach (Almost) as Luxurious as Flying First Class</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight &quot;innovations&quot; that may be coming to an airline that you fly regularly. Don't be surprised if you see these changes sooner rather than later. What was once something comedians joked about is going to become the reality for almost all of us.</p> <h2>1. Vertical Passenger Seating</h2> <p>That's a fancy ways of saying &quot;standing seats.&quot; If that sounds like an oxymoron, it is. But, the one thing this invention has going for it is money. Fairuz Romili, an aerospace engineering professor at the Universal Putra Malaysia, says the standing seat would &quot;lead to a 21% increase in passenger capacity, while dropping ticket prices by as much as 44%.&quot; Think about that for a second. Yes, it sounds (and <a href="">looks</a>) very uncomfortable. Yes, it will also lead to a huge amount of people in economy class, meaning it will take even longer to get drinks and snacks. But, if it dropped the price of a ticket from $300 to $156, would you take it?</p> <h2>2. Limited Lavatories (Or Toilet Fees!)</h2> <p>Can you hold it? You might just have to.</p> <p>Cheaper airlines, also known as budget airlines, are looking into a few bathroom ideas that can chop the price of your ticket. One idea is to have just one toilet per plane. On a smaller aircraft, not such a big deal. On a 747 or 777, you better learn to cross your legs and think of something else. The other option is to charge you to go; literally, spending a dollar to spend a penny. Either one of these would be pushed on you with some great marketing spin. &quot;We're reducing frills to bring you the best possible price on your flight.&quot; Great&hellip; until you have to wait 45 minutes to answer the call of nature.</p> <h2>3. The Fat Tax</h2> <p>Some airlines are already &quot;suggesting&quot; or insisting that obese people buy two seats instead of just one. Sometimes, in the case of <a href="">Les Price</a>, they don't even give you two adjacent seats, which makes no sense at all. However, soon it won't be just purchasing extra seats. You may very well have to &quot;weigh in at check in,&quot; and if you tip the skills over a certain weight, the price of your ticket will go up. For example, males over 250 pounds and females over 200 pounds will pay extra to fly on the plane, even if they fit into a single seat just fine. This could also impact healthy people, like bodybuilders and professional athletes, who are heavy without being obese in the real sense of the word. Imagine being told your ticket will cost one third more because you're a bit on the heavy side. It's coming.</p> <h2>4. Women Only in the Cabin Crew</h2> <p>Not that having only women in the crew is bad for passengers, but it certainly isn't good for any men looking for a career in that field. How will that save money, or be beneficial? Well, we already know that women earn less than men in the same role. But according to GoAir, <a href="">hiring only women makes sense</a> because they are, on average, &quot;15-20 kilos lighter than the average man.&quot; Is that sexism, or simply a statement of fact from GoAir? Well, however you feel about it, you can expect to see either less men in the air, or only people weighing less than a certain amount.</p> <h2>5. In-Flight Phone Calls Are Coming</h2> <p>Currently, the U.S. government says <a href="">no to mid-flight cell phone conversations</a>. However, lobbyists will change that sooner or later, and when it happens you can expect your flight to be filled with inconsiderate people who absolutely cannot wait to make that call. This is, without a doubt, going to be the most irritating and awful thing to change the way we fly. Pack noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs. Lots of earplugs.</p> <h2>6. You're Doing Everything Yourself</h2> <p>We all like autonomy, but when we're flying there are still some things we like to have a trained professional for. Sometimes, they can really help when it comes to getting us on different flights, changing times, adding to our itinerary, and so on. The future is going to be completely automated. Right now, you can get onto a plane without really seeing anyone if you're doing a short hop without checked bags. That is going to change. You will be tagging your own bags and loading them onto the conveyor belt. You'll use a thumbprint to identify yourself and get on and off the plane. You'll even have to get your own food and drinks on the plane. Why pay people when you can do it for the airlines for free?</p> <h2>7. More Overbooked Flights</h2> <p>In the past, you would often fly with enough empty seats on the plane to lie down and take a nap. That will never happen in the future. To ensure &quot;maximum profit margins,&quot; every flight will be seriously overbooked. This will result in more delays at airports, and incredible complications with connecting flights and hotel reservations. You could always go and complain to someone, but of course, you'll be greeted by a computer terminal with no feelings about the matter either way.</p> <h2>8. Massive Aircraft</h2> <p>We already know about the ginormous <a href="">Airbus A380</a>. That's only just the beginning. Plans are already underway to build something bigger. One such idea is the <a href="">Sky Whale</a>, which would hold 755 passengers split into three different classes (and only those in first would enjoy the experience). Getting onto a plane that big will take a long, long time. Getting anything to eat or drink will take equally as long. And getting off, well, don't make any immediate plans when you arrive at the airport. Of course, if one of these things ever crashes, it's going to be a devastating tragedy. And one day, Sky Dinosaurs could carry 1500 people at once. The cost of fuel by then will be so expensive, it will probably not cut the price of the ticket by much.</p> <p><em>What nightmarish future airline plans are you dreading?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 8 Scariest Things Probably Coming to Air Travel" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel air travel airlines cost cutting customer service Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1211247 at The 10 Cheapest Ways to Fly First Class <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-cheapest-ways-to-fly-first-class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="first class airline" title="first class airline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There was once a time when you could show up at the gate early, dressed nicely, and have a smiling attendant hand you a free upgrade to first class without even asking for it. Now, access to the front of the plane isn't as easy, and requires a bit more of a scientific approach. But this doesn't mean you need to pay the full fare; in fact very few passengers ever do. (See also: <a href="">15 Airport Hacks by Professional Travelers</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 of the cheapest ways to fly first class.</p> <h2>Before You Go</h2> <p>Before you even pack your bag, here are a few handy tricks for nabbing a first class fare.</p> <h3>Search and You Might Find</h3> <p>Most people search for economy fares, figuring that first class fares are out of reach. However this isn't always the case. I was recently searching for a ticket from Toronto to Lima. I did the standard search on a variety of search engines, all in economy class of course. Then, I performed the same search in first class, and &mdash; glory be &mdash; I found a first class flight, for $50 more than the equivalent economy ticket. Airlines will occasionally (and very quietly) offer deep discounts on first class airfare. It always pays to search your desired flight itinerary in both economy and first class.</p> <h3>Mystery Shopping</h3> <p>Using your eagle eyes to fill out a detailed questionnaire about your experience, you can score half price flights, free hotels, and other travel deals with mystery shopping. Half price off a first class flight is a pretty good deal, but it's even sweeter if you wait for a seat sale and get half price off the sale-priced ticket, or take advantage of periodic mystery shopping promotions that entail a free upgrade to first class. (See also: <a href="">How to Sign up For Half Price Flights and Free Hotels</a>).</p> <h3>Frequent Flyer Miles</h3> <p>Although a somewhat obvious approach, I'm surprised at how many people stare at me with wonder when I tell them that all my long-haul flights are in first class, mainly due to frequent flyer mile accumulation. With a little patience and some attention to detail, you can acquire enough frequent flyer miles to fly in first class, which often represents the best value per mile you can get. (See also: <a href="">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Frequent Flyer Mile Upgrades</h3> <p>Frequent flyer mile gurus will attest to the value of purchasing economy tickets and using miles for upgrading to first class. Although I can't attest to this technique (I usually book it in first class to begin with, just to be sure), you can learn more about it through the <a href="">Travel Hacking Cartel</a>.</p> <h2>At Check-In</h2> <p>You've still got an economy ticket in your hand and your bags are packed, but hope is not lost. Here are some techniques for cheap (or free) first class upgrades.</p> <h3>Mention a Special Occasion</h3> <p>Make it known (in as natural a way as possible) that you're just married, or traveling home to hug your mother for your milestone birthday, or celebrating a noteworthy anniversary, and you might find yourself upgraded to first class for free.</p> <h3>Dress the Part</h3> <p>If you dress and act the part, an upgraded boarding pass could land in your hands. Depending on the route and airline, however, don't hold your breath. If you fly frequently for work, you're more likely to score an upgrade with your elite frequent flyer status rather than by having a snazzy suit at check-in.</p> <h3>Ask About Miles/Cash Upgrades</h3> <p>Occasionally at check-in, you can nab a good deal for a cash or frequent flyer mile upgrade to first class. It might be worth an extra couple of hundred dollars if you're getting an upgrade to a first class ticket which sells for thousands more.</p> <h2>At the Gate</h2> <p>No luck yet? That's okay. Here's how to play your cards right at the gate&hellip;</p> <h3>Arrive at the Gate Early</h3> <p>After checking passengers in at the front desk, airline staff usually move to the gate to print out rosters and do other administrative things. If you're at the gate early, you might catch them in this lull before the next rush for boarding begins.</p> <p>If you're sitting there looking nice and were cordial at check-in, the gate attendant might shuffle a few seats around and bump you up to first class. A sob story/special occasion can help if you manage to get chatting with them and ask them for an upgrade. This is how I got my first-ever free upgrade to first class. I'd miscalculated the time after 20-something hours of travel and was sitting at the gate with hours to spare and got chatting with the gate attendant about my mammoth journey, at which point she decided to make the next leg of it much more comfortable for me. It happened again in Australia after a ridiculous amount of continuous travel. I asked (some might say begged) the gate attendant for some reprieve on my final flight, and she pitied me with an upgrade to first class.</p> <h3>Volunteer to Be Bumped</h3> <p>Some airlines overbook their flights, such that at the gate they ask for volunteers to be bumped off their pending flight. In exchange for your benevolence, you'll be remunerated with things like vouchers for food, accommodation, future flights (in addition to your missed flight being rebooked for you), straight cash, and sometimes, an upgrade to first class.</p> <p>If you're eager to take advantage of this deal and don't mind missing your flight, don't wait to be asked to bump; volunteer in advance by (showing up early, and letting the gate attendant know that you're available if they're overbooked.</p> <h2>By the Way</h2> <p>Don't forget about business class. With most airlines and routes, there is very little &mdash; if any &mdash; difference between business class and first class. Although in some cases first class flights offer an additional level of opulence, few people could turn their noses up at a business class upgrade or ticket. It's not &quot;first class,&quot; but trust me &mdash; it's better than coach.</p> <p><em>Do you fly first class &mdash; for cheap? What's your secret? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Cheapest Ways to Fly First Class" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel air travel airline business class first class seat upgrade Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:00:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 1207169 at Wise Bread Reloaded: The Surprisingly Easy Way to Defend Your Knees and Other Air Travel Tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-defend-your-knees-and-other-air-travel-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="angry airplane passengers" title="angry airplane passengers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now you've heard of the contretemps aboard an airliner last weekend during which one passenger prevented the seat in front of him from reclining through use of a device called the Knee Defender. Frustration ensued until the passenger seated ahead doused the passenger seated behind and the Captain diverted to another airport and <em>both passengers</em> were escorted off the plane. Ever since, the Internet has been all worked up about whether or not the Right to Recline is an actual right (<a href="">a recent poll suggests a majority of Americans think it's a right</a>).</p> <p>Economy air travel is not as comfortable as it could be these days. And certainly episodes like last week's are probably best avoided with the simplest knee defense of all &mdash; common courtesy. Crowded travel is uncomfortable for everybody. A little courtesy takes the edge off and brightens everyone's day.</p> <p>With courtesy the floor, what else can one do to make economy air travel more pleasant? Wise Bread's writers have had plenty of suggestions over the years. Here are a few.</p> <p><a href="">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a> &mdash; Pro traveler Nora Dunn shares the tips and tricks she's learned about navigating that terrifying space between ground transportation and the plane &mdash; the airport.</p> <p><a href="">9 Things You Must When Travelling With Kids</a> &mdash; Air travel is tough, but adding kids maxes out the difficulty setting. Elizabeth Lang walks you through it.</p> <p><a href="">6 Things to Keep You Sane on the Plane</a> &mdash; Kentin Waits shares what he stows in his carry-on to make a long trip bearable, and maybe even enjoyable.</p> <p><a href="">8 Airline Fees That Are Actually Worth Paying</a> &mdash; Penny wise, pound foolish applies to air travel too, and Deia B explains which airline upgrades are worth the cost.</p> <p><a href="">Alternatives to Air Travel: Other Ways to Get From Here to There</a> &mdash; And if none of that makes air travel an attractive option, Nora Dunn suggests other ways of going. They may not be as fast, but they're bound to be more comfortable.</p> <p>Whether you're Team Recline or Team Knee, the next time you're on a crowded plane, remember this: your fellow passengers didn't decide to cram an extra row of seats on the plane &mdash; the airline did. Keep your cool, stay courteous, and aim your complaints high.</p> <p><em>How do you stay comfortable when flying? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: The Surprisingly Easy Way to Defend Your Knees and Other Air Travel Tips" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel air travel airline flying reclining travel Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Lars Peterson 1199892 at Skip the Buffet and Other Simple Rules for Healthier Travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/skip-the-buffet-and-other-simple-rules-for-healthier-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man sick vacation" title="man sick vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 20% to 50% of travelers &mdash; about 10 million people &mdash; get traveler's diarrhea every year. No bull. (See also: <a href="">How to Travel This Holiday Season Without Getting Sick</a>)</p> <p>It may be impossible to truly eliminate the risk of getting food poisoning, but you can take some precautions to reduce that possibility.</p> <h2>Food Groups</h2> <p>There are some food groups that are especially risky.</p> <h3>Meat and Seafood</h3> <p>Raw meats and seafood may contain viruses, bacteria, or parasites that can make you sick. It's only when they have been handled and cooked properly that they're safe to eat. If you're not sure the local food safety authority properly monitors eateries, eat only hot meats and seafood that are opaque in color.</p> <h3>Produce</h3> <p>Fruits and vegetables may come into contact with harmful microorganisms in the soil or water where they grow. They can also become contaminated when they're harvested or stored. When it comes to eating raw produce, choose fruits that you can peel like bananas. Even thin-skinned produce like apples and cucumbers benefit from peeling as many common types of pesticide residues and <a href="">contaminants can't penetrate the peel barrier</a> (though thicker peels make it even harder for contaminants to penetrate). If you have the time to do some grocery shopping yourself, buy any fruits and vegetables you like, then wash them yourself using clean water.</p> <h2>Restaurants to Avoid</h2> <p>When you're dining out, choose your spots carefully.</p> <h3>Buffets</h3> <p>It's safer to eat food that is hot and freshly cooked than food that has been sitting around all day like at buffets. Stick with popular eateries that cook their dishes when you order them and serve many people throughout the day.</p> <h3>Unpopular Restaurants</h3> <p>Look around. Are you the only one about to order? There may be a reason.</p> <h3>Non-Local</h3> <p>Beyond the obvious &quot;you're not in Japan to eat Mexican tacos,&quot; local chefs will likely be more familiar with local food than they are with exotic specialities. Meaning eating local can be eating safe.</p> <p>Before you choose where to eat, ask the locals for recommendations. If you have a travel agent, he could also be a good resource. You can also check out local food blogs or review websites like Yelp.</p> <h2>Water</h2> <p>In many developing countries, tap <a href="">water is not safe for consumption</a>. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a database of travel destinations that you can check for country-specific information.</p> <p>If the tap water at your destination is not safe, you have to boil it first before you drink it. If you prefer to drink cool water, you'll have to boil it in advance and place it in the fridge. This means you'll have to plan ahead.</p> <p>If that sounds like too much work, drink bottled water. It's clean and safe. Just pay attention to the seal; if it has been broken or tampered with, request another bottle. Make sure the bottle hasn't simply been filled with tap water. In some restaurants in India, waiters would bring the bottle to your table and open it in front of you before pouring the contents into your glass.</p> <p>Avoid ice cubes because they may have been made using dirty water. Instead, ask for bottled drinks that have been chilled inside a fridge.</p> <h2>Water Purifiers</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, consider buying yourself a portable water purifier, which makes it safe for you to drink tap water anywhere in the world.</p> <p>One type of water purifier works by filtering out contaminants, letting only clean water through. This filter is available as a stick through which you drink the water. Known as <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006QF3TW4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=D5VB6KIFAGSMMGEF">LifeStraw</a>, it can filter up to 1,000 liters of water. It's also available as a water bottle called LifeStraw Go. And best of all: when you buy one LifeStraw, the company provides clean water to one school child in a developing country for a year.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can also buy a device that works by using ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses and protozoa. It comes in the form of a stick called <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0041EB6EU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=V6TZMPEWS3SXCPSS">SteriPEN</a> that you submerge in a glass or water bottle for a few minutes to treat the water.</p> <p>Another option is to buy water purification tablets that contain iodine. To use, simply dissolve the tablet in water and let it stand for a few minutes before drinking. You can find these tablets at stores that sell camping gear.</p> <h2>Smartphone App</h2> <p>Certain places may be unsafe for travel in the event of an illness outbreak. An iOS app called <a href="">Sickweather</a> keeps track of these outbreaks, so you know which areas to avoid. The app tracks people's updates on social media and keeps a database of Sickweather users' reports. You can view a map of your local area and filter the information so you only see specific symptoms or illnesses.</p> <h2>Milk</h2> <p>Stick with pasteurized milk, powdered milk, or canned condensed milk that you buy yourself at the local grocery store. Avoid eating or drinking items that contain milk when you eat outside; the milk may have been sitting around all day out in the sun and may have spoiled. There is also some possibility that it hasn't been pasteurized.</p> <h2>Insurance</h2> <p>Despite all your precautions, it's possible that you'll still get food poisoning. That's unfortunate, but your life will be a lot easier if you have travel medical insurance. At the very least, you'll be able to get medical treatments if something happens during the trip.</p> <p>The right <a href="">travel insurance for you depends many factors</a>, including your destination and length of stay. Consider what exactly you want the insurance to cover. Do you want your insurer to cover the loss of your laptop or just the cost of medical emergencies? Also take into account what you'll be doing during the trip. If you plan to engage in extreme sports, you may need additional protection on top of the standard policy.</p> <p><em>How do you avoid food borne illness while traveling? Please share in comments (your advice, not your illness)!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Skip the Buffet and Other Simple Rules for Healthier Travel" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel food poisoning Health travel illness traveler's diarrhea Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Deia B 1197956 at The Secret to Getting Great Hotel Rates Anytime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-secret-to-getting-great-hotel-rates-anytime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hotel receptionist" title="hotel receptionist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that you can shave thousands of dollars off your travel expenses just by timing your trip correctly?</p> <p>Hotels all over the world discount their rates at certain times of the year, sometimes by more than 50% during the less popular vacation months. So assuming you've got a little flexibility, try booking your hotel for for these times and places.</p> <h2>Beginning of the Year</h2> <p>Travel seems to be a great way to start a new year, <a href="">according to Agoda</a>, a growing online hotel booking service. Out of the 25 cities Agoda studied, all offer lower hotel rates during the first two weeks of the year compared to the year-long averages.</p> <p>Hotel rates in New York City, for example, are dramatically slashed at the beginning of the year. On top of that, prices for other activities like watching Broadway shows and ice skating are lower as well. Agoda says that you can save as much as 40% off the average hotel rate if you travel to New York City in January or February. Trivago agrees that the cheapest month to <a href="">visit the Big Apple is in February</a>, when the average hotel rate is $267 per night &mdash; a lot cheaper than the $436 average nightly rate that hotels charge in October.</p> <p>You can also find great deals in Boston in January, when Trivago says hotel rates are $190 cheaper than they are in October. However, to enjoy this discount, you'll have to contend with Boston's winter, which can see temperature lows in the 20s. For the same reason, hotels in Chicago are $138 cheaper in January than they are in June.</p> <p>Barcelona, Istanbul, London, and Rome are similarly cheaper during the first two months of the year. (And probably not 17 degrees Fahrenheit.)</p> <h2>After School Break</h2> <p>Theme parks are packed during school holidays. If you want to visit Orlando, do it when the kids are back in school. You'll enjoy shorter lines and may actually have enough time for all the rides. Trivago says that hotel rates in Orlando are $38 lower per night in January than they are in March during the spring break season.</p> <p>For the same reason, Miami Beach hotels are cheaper in September, when families are busy with school. Worries about the hurricane season may also have something to do with these low hotel rates. In March, Miami Beach hotels charge an average of $387 per night, in contrast to the $194 average nightly rate they charge in September.</p> <h2>Skiing</h2> <p>Going skiing? You don't have to do it in the dead of winter.</p> <p>The ski resorts in Colorado, for example, offer their best rates at the beginning and end of the season. Go in January or sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.</p> <p>If you plan to travel further north, you can go later in the year. In Whistler, British Columbia, there's often great snow even in spring, when the hotels rates are much cheaper. For example, in April the <a href="">Fairmont Chateau Whistler charges $189 less</a> per night than it does in February.</p> <h2>Anytime But Summer</h2> <p>Traveling in the summer has it's advantages: outdoor festivals, busy nightlife, and long sunny days. But you'll also have to deal with the heat and the crowds, not to mention the sky-high hotel rates. According to Agoda, hotels in Oslo and Istanbul can be 50% more expensive in May compared to the year-long averages.</p> <p>In much of Europe, you can get the best hotel deals from November through March. Some hotels may be closed during this off-peak season, but those that remain open often offer great rates.</p> <p>You can find the best bargains in San Francisco from November through May. In December particularly, hotel rates average $201 per night, compared to $324 per night in September.</p> <h2>The Holidays</h2> <p>Hotel rates during the end-of-year holiday season are notoriously high. However, some cities actually have their low season during the last week of December. If you want to spend Christmas away from home, choose Oslo, Stockholm, or Riyadh for the lowest hotel rates.</p> <h2>Stable Cities</h2> <p>In some places, hotel rates don't change much throughout the year. If you plan to travel during peak season, you may do well be to choose these cities.</p> <p>Agoda's survey finds that popular Asian destinations don't discount their hotel rates much. In Tokyo, for example, hotel rates during the first week in January are only 17% cheaper than the average. Around the same time of the year in Seoul, hotel rates are only 10% cheaper than the average.</p> <p>Taipei's hotels are at their cheapest during the first week of July, but even then they're only offering about 9% discount off the average nightly rate.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of off-season discount pricing to travel? Where did you go?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Secret to Getting Great Hotel Rates Anytime" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel discount discount travel off-season travel Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Deia B 1189787 at 7 Ways You're Wasting Gas Without Realizing It <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-youre-wasting-gas-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="driving car" title="driving car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the time of this writing, the average cost of a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $3.52. And while most of us can remember significantly higher prices at the pump, today's costs don't quite qualify as bargain-basement by anyone's definition. (See also: <a href="">How to Turn Groceries Into Gasoline</a>)</p> <p>So, if you'd like to save some cash on gas, it might be time to change the way you drive. Go from a slurper to a sipper by avoiding these seven fuel-wasting habits.</p> <h2>1. Idling for More Than 10 Seconds</h2> <p>Want to learn how to reduce your fuel efficiency to zero MPG? Let it sit with the engine running. For modern fuel-injected cars, idling for more than 10 seconds is a waste of gas, even when you compare it to the alternative &mdash; just turning off the engine and restarting it when it's time to move again.</p> <h2>2. Driving Too Slow</h2> <p>Everyone knows that driving too <em>fast</em> can waste fuel, but did you know that driving too slow can do the same thing? Driving below your car's optimal speed means the engine is putting out a lot of effort and not accomplishing much. And while optimal speed is a bit of a gray area and depends on the type of transmission your car has, it's usually achieved by balancing the lowest possible RPM with an appropriate speed for the roadway you're on. Just remember: Trying to conserve gas by crawling down the expressway is both dangerous and ineffective.</p> <h2>3. Racing to the Reds</h2> <p>Ever notice how anxious some folks are to floor it when a red light changes to green in heavy traffic? It's as if the drivers don't realize they'll be hitting another red light or stop sign in mere yards. Quick acceleration is a fuel burner and the only thing it efficiently achieves is a smokin' case of car sickness. Instead, retire your drag-racing uniform, lighten up your lead foot, and accelerate slowly to boost fuel economy and save gas.</p> <h2>4. Avoiding Cruise Control</h2> <p>I've always considered the cruise control feature on my car to be the foil against my own driver's ego. But whether we realize it or not, many of us fall into a familiar rhythm when we're driving on an interstate. We speed up to pass, gun it for a mile or so, and then slow down again. Sometimes we even speed up when we anticipate being passed by another motorist. Using cruise control to maintain a reasonable and steady pace makes a lot more sense from a safety and fuel-efficiency perspective.</p> <h2>5. Buying High-Performance Tires</h2> <p>High-performance tires are those super-grippy numbers that hug the pavement and make even the most humble cars feel just a bit more capable and confident. But tires that grip take more energy to move and that takes more gas. Opt for a high-quality standard tread tire instead and don't give your engine more friction to work against.</p> <h2>6. Taking Multiple Short Trips</h2> <p>Is your day filled with short hops and skips in the car? Unless you're planning them right, you're probably wasting fuel. Since engines work most efficiently when they're warmed up, driving a short distance, stopping, letting your car's engine cool down, and going again is a fuel-sucking strategy. Instead, combine trips, schedule the longest one first, and keep each stop brief enough that the engine doesn't cool down in between. Better yet, get a bike for quick errands or consider walking.</p> <h2>7. Deferring Maintenance</h2> <p>Dirty fuel filters, clogged air filters, and malfunctioning oxygen sensors are just three maintenance issues that can be a drag on your car's fuel efficiency. And remember those high-performance tires? You can make any old set hug the road (and slowly lower your MPG) by tooling around while they're under-inflated. Keep on top of basic auto maintenance issues to improve your gas mileage and lower overall costs.</p> <h2>Start Really Saving Gas by Hypermiling</h2> <p><em>Hypermiling</em> is the practice of increasing a car's fuel efficiency by making tweaks to the way you drive or modifications to the car itself. Techniques like turning off the AC while driving, keeping tires properly inflated, and modulating speed to reduce the need to brake so often are just a few simple <a href="">ways to start hypermiling</a> now. And yes; there's an app for that. <a href="">Hypermiling MPG Calculator</a> lets drivers track fuel usage and apply tips and hypermiling strategies to reduce consumption.</p> <p>For more ideas on how to save money at the pump, download Wise Bread's free <a href="">Wise Driving Guide</a>. And for more fuel-defensive driving tips, learn the <a href="">techniques of extreme hypermilers</a>. But remember, with any driving strategy, safety always comes first. Some hypermiling driving methods may not be legal in your area or not advisable under certain conditions.</p> <p>In the end, conserving gas is a lot like conserving any other resource &mdash; it all starts with sharpening our awareness. With a little planning, better choices, sensible techniques, and maybe even an app or two, saving gas can become second nature. And until science perfects the hydrogen car or solar-powered engine, saving at the pump will only have a bigger impact on our personal budgets.</p> <p><em>How do you conserve gas? What's the simplest and most effective tip you have for others?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Gas Without Realizing It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Travel 7 Ways You're Wasting Gas Without Realizing It Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1189080 at 15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="businessman sleeping airport" title="businessman sleeping airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to save money on drinks and baggage fees, skip airport lineups, get good prices on flights, keep the kids amused, and stay safe when arriving in airports at unwieldy hours? Then read on, because I've rounded up 10 professional travelers and invited them to share their <em>best</em> airport hacks. (See also: <a href="">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a>).</p> <h2>1. Apply for Global Entry</h2> <p>U.S. Citizens can clear customs quickly with <a href="">Global Entry</a>. (Citizens of Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and other countries have <a href="">similar pre-screening programs</a> that work in tandem with Global Entry). Application involves a rigorous background check and interview, but once you're a member you can clear customs in a jiffy, and also take advantage of special security lines and procedures.</p> <p>Lisa Ellen Niver of <a href="">We Said Go Travel</a> is a global citizen who has traveled to over 100 countries on six continents. After traveling with her parents and experiencing the benefits of Global Entry, she lodged her own application. &quot;After you apply and have your interview, you no longer have to stand in long security lines. You are whisked ahead with no need to remove shoes or take computers out of cases. It makes travel seem almost civilized again!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Bring Your Own Liquor</h2> <p>Are you taking a domestic flight (and/or flying a budget airline) and want to have a drink but don't want to pay the airline's prices for liquor? Carry on a mini bottle of your favorite libation and mix it with the free soft drink, says Tamara Elliott, who offers savvy practical travel advice on <a href="">Globe Guide</a>. &quot;This works well since mix (Coke, juice, etc) is already included on-board &mdash; plus, the TSA doesn't have restrictions about what liquids you can bring, just how big they are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Hitchhike Into the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>Turner Wright of <a href="">Once A Traveler</a>, who has lived in Japan, South Korea, Peru, Thailand, and New Zealand, has an unconventional method for accessing first class lounges:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Some first class lounges allow you to bring in a guest for free, so as long as you're not too smelly and relatively personable, just hang out at the entrance and ask someone if he or she wouldn't mind signing you in (including a sob story about how you've been cooped up for 30 hours and/or missing your family wouldn't hurt).</p> <h2>4. Pay for the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>If schmoozing into the first class lounge doesn't work (or isn't your style), you can often buy a pass. It usually costs $30-$50 and gives you access to all the lounge amenities such as comfortable seating, free food and drinks (including alcohol), Internet, and sometimes even showers and quiet rooms for sleeping. If you have hours to kill before your flight or between flights, this can be money well spent.</p> <h2>5. Wear Your Extra Luggage</h2> <p>Benny Lewis as been on the road for over 11 years and was named National Geographic's Traveler of the Year in 2013. He travels with everything he owns (including books!), and flies budget airlines with over 80 pounds of gear without paying for it. His secret? He <a href="">wears his luggage</a> with the unfashionable but arguably practical <a href="">Jaktogo</a>. &quot;It's not a great fashion statement, and uncomfortable to wear while you do it, but that's only necessary while you [check in and] board the plane (since that's the only time your number of bags are truly checked). The rest of the time, you can walk around the terminal and even go through security with it in its extra bag folded up mode.&quot; (Benny himself a polyglot who teaches people to become <a href="">Fluent in 3 Months</a> with a variety of tools including a free crash course.)</p> <h2>6. Fly Red-Eye</h2> <p>Matt Stabile, founder and Editor-in-Chief of <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> says the best way to avoid the hassle of getting through airports is to choose red-eye (overnight) flights, especially if it's a long flight. &quot;If you book a flight that leaves past, say, 10:00pm, you'll avoid rush hour traffic on the way to the airport, lines at check-in are going to be minimal, security will take a fraction of what it takes earlier in the day, and once you settle in for the flight, you can simply go to sleep and wake up at your destination.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Get Help Booking Flights</h2> <p>If flying red-eye doesn't appeal, Benny Lewis also recommends using <a href="">Flight Fox</a> to book flights; he says they can often find a convenient travel time for the same cost as a red-eye flight.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Assistance</h2> <p>Airports usually involve lots of walking and standing in line, which not everybody can manage. If you or somebody you're traveling with has trouble getting around (due to age or injury), don't let pride get in the way; ask for assistance.</p> <p>Jeanne Dee of <a href="">SoulTravelers3</a> discovered this life-saver while suffering serious medical challenges and traveling with her family. &quot;Airlines can help you with wheelchair assistance, making the whole process doable for someone with health challenges, and they escort the whole family through security and customs and such.&quot; Jeanne and her multi-award-winning digital nomadic family of three have been on the road non-stop for almost nine years, visiting 47 countries on five continents for $23/day per person.</p> <p>Although wheelchair assistance shouldn't be taken advantage of, it's a huge time-saver if you have a tight connection and are unable to move quickly. I discovered this myself after suffering a near-fatal accident and traveling to the States for medical attention. I would never have made the connection in my condition without being skirted through the airport's &quot;secret passages&quot; and ushered through special lineups. (Bonus: Your travel companions are escorted through with you!)</p> <h2>9. Eat at the Airport</h2> <p>Tiffany and Chris Soukup of <a href=""></a> have been traveling and working around the world for the last 10 years. They've learned through experience that eating a solid meal at the airport can actually be cost-effective, and arriving well-fed helps battle <a href="">jet lag</a> and even helps you make better (money-saving) decisions. Tiffany uses some hacks to make it cost-effective and fun. &quot;I can't say the airport is my favorite place to eat, but I look forward to walking around to find where I'll dine. [Also], look ahead to know what restaurants are at the airport and see if you can get coupons.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Family Travel Hack: Entertain the Kids Without Gadgets</h2> <p>Rachel and Greg Denning of <a href=""></a> have been traveling since 2007 with their five (now six) children. They know better than any parents how hard it is to keep kids entertained during long hours of waiting in airports, and they say using less technology (tablets, smartphones, etc) creates better travelers.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">The mind-numbing, easy entertainment of many [tablet/smartphone] games can lead to boredom, because children get accustomed to being passively entertained, instead of actively entertaining themselves. Reading books, talking, singing, playing games (cards, iSpy, etc.) can hold their attention and lead to bonding and personal interaction, which makes travel more enjoyable for parents and children alike.</p> <p>She adds, however, that if your kids are already addicted to technology, going cold turkey in an airport isn't wise; best to start &quot;weaning&quot; them several weeks before traveling. (See also: <a href="">The Digital Detox &ndash; How and Why to Do It</a>).</p> <h2>11. Jump the Line (and Other Perks) With Frequent Flyer Status</h2> <p>&quot;The Guy&quot; dubs his website <a href="">Flights and Frustration</a> for good reason; he has been traveling internationally with his work nearly every month for over 14 years. He has found a way to use business class and priority lineups even if he's flying economy. It's all about achieving elite status with frequent flyer miles. (See also: <a href="">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a>).</p> <p>&quot;A prime example is my KLM Flying Blue card. With higher status I can use my economy ticket and still go to the business class check-in queue.&quot; For those with miles but no status, try asking for a points-upgrade. &quot;Inquire at check-in (or even before you go to the airport) to see if you can redeem points to upgrade your ticket to business class. Then it is queue jumping and luxury travel all the way.&quot;</p> <p>Having status with one airline can give you access to perks on all airlines in the alliance. &quot;I collect frequent flyer points on my Singapore Kris Flyer card for Star Alliance flights. I held a Gold Status with this Kris Flyer card whilst checking in for a domestic flight in the US with United. Due to my frequent flyer status with Star Alliance, they waived the baggage fee.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Go Through Priority Lines Anyway</h2> <p>Turner Wright (of <a href="">Once A Traveler</a>) doesn't even bother flashing a frequent flyer mile status card to jump the line. &quot;Depending on the rush, I find it pretty ridiculous to cue up in one security line when there's an empty one for first class or priority passengers. Usually I just walk up and ask if I can go through, assuming they don't just wave me in. The same goes for lines at immigration and customs.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Flash Your Travel Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p>Even if you don't have super-elite frequent flyer mile status, you can flash a travel rewards credit card to gain lounge access. Stephanie Zito has been to over 115 countries living and working on the road for the last 20+ years. In addition to her humanitarian work and <a href="">Wandering For Good</a>, she's also the managing editor of the <a href="">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> and a travel-hacker extraordinaire.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you live and work on the road and take advantage of lounges for showers, meals, Wi-Fi, and free drinks, it's worth carrying a card like the <a href="">American Express Platinum</a> getting you Priority Pass access into more than 600 lounges around the world. If you just need a pass or two, many co-branded airline credit cards offer one or two lounge passes a year as a sign-up bonus.</p> <h2>14. Catch a Rest in the Chapel (and a Shower Nearby)</h2> <p>If you've got a long layover or delayed flight and need some peace and quiet, look for the airport chapel. It can be a great place to catch a catnap, meditate, or simply enjoy a cell-phone free environment. Stephanie Zito also says it might lead you to a shower in certain parts of the world: &quot;If you're traveling through the middle east, there is almost always a public shower room somewhere in the airport &mdash; you just have to find it. The trick is to locate the prayer area. The showers will always be nearby.&quot;</p> <h2>15. Sleep in the Airport</h2> <p>Wade Shepard has been traveling since 1999 as founding editor of <a href="">Vagabond Journey</a>, and he has a formula for sleeping in airports. &quot;I usually sleep in the airport when I have an early morning flight leaving between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. or when I land between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. It's free, relatively secure, and cuts out the hassle of taking [costly] late night transportation and checking in/out of a hotel at an hour when humans are better off tucked away in bed.&quot; He even argues that it's safer to sleep in the airport than to navigate a foreign city late at night, where you might be more of a target.</p> <p>He consults <a href=""></a> to find the best places to sleep, and likes to be out of the way but still around other people (who are preferably sleeping) so there is security in numbers. As for his luggage, he secures it: &quot;I either lock my bag to the chair I'm sleeping in or I tie it my wrist &mdash; so if someone was to try to snatch it I'd wake up.&quot;</p> <p>Wade even does this with his wife and child in tow. &quot;Having three people to fend for makes the money saved even greater! I also found it works better just to let my daughter stay up late, go crazy in the airport, then crash on the plane rather than waking her up in the middle of the night and moving her out [of a hotel].&quot;</p> <p>For more from frequent travelers, check out these 25 other fantastic travel tips and secrets: <a href="">25 Secrets From the World's Most Frugal Frequent Travelers</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you have any reliable airport hacks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel air travel airport secrets airports credit cards frugal travel travel secrets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:06:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 1185372 at 7 Popular Vacation Spots That Aren't Worth the Money (and Where to Go Instead) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-popular-vacation-spots-that-arent-worth-the-money-and-where-to-go-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="las vegas" title="las vegas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to vacation benefits, America is in poor shape. According to the &quot;<a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">Vacation Equality Project</a>,&quot; America is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee paid vacation days. As a Brit, I was shocked to learn that the guaranteed four weeks of vacation that I got in the UK was going to become just one week when I arrived here in 2001 (and I was told by my employer at the time to be thankful for that). (See also: <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">11 Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Travel Dollar</a>)</p> <p>So choosing where to go on vacation is crucial. These vacation days we get are precious; we don't want to waste them. But so many of us ignore incredible vacation spots for more popular ones that are overpriced and overrated. Here are seven spots you should know about that aren't worth your hard earned money; let's call them the seven deadly sins of vacationing.</p> <h2>1. The Bahamas</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Quite possibly one of the most overrated vacation spots in the world, the Bahamas is where people go when they think they want a relaxing beach vacation. Everyone has the same idea, and the beaches are not even that good (although they are wonderfully crowded). This is tourism hell, but you'll pay through the nose for it, especially is you stay at the Atlantis. If you're looking for beaches without the fuss, try other parts of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic is beautiful and affordable, and you will get a lot of the beach to yourself it you visit Trinidad and Tobago.</p> <h2>2. Naples, Italy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>When someone tells you they're off to Naples, you immediately think of all the best parts of an Italian holiday; incredible architecture, amazing food, beautiful scenery. However, one of the first things you will notice about Naples when you arrive is the <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">smell</a>. There are frequent garbage strikes, and Naples gets very hot. That's not a good mix. Organized <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">crime</a> is big in Naples (look up the Camorra network) and if you're not very careful, you could easily be robbed or mugged. Instead of Naples, or Rome, try something a lot less &quot;popular.&quot; <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">Sardinia</a> is a much better bet, with a crystal clear sea, white beaches, and very few tourists to battle it out with. It's soul, without glitz.</p> <h2>3. Disneyland or Disneyworld</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>What?! No Disney? As comedian Jim Gaffigan said, &quot;How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable, and listen to my children complain and whine?&quot; That's the Disney experience for adults, and you really do pay for the &quot;privilege.&quot;</p> <p>Let's get it straight. You will be spending a lot of time standing in line for rides that last a few minutes. You will also be spending an awful lot of money on food that makes cinema popcorn look like a great deal. Disney is also designed to part you with your money as often as possible, and the nag factor (&quot;mommy, daddy, can I have that pleeeeeaseeee&quot;) is huge. Forget Disney. There are plenty of great amusement parks out there that offer much better value. (See also: <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">8 Affordable Theme Parks That Are Just as Fun as Disney</a>)</p> <h2>4. Dublin, Ireland</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>You know, there is more than one place in Ireland that sells a decent pint of Guinness. And yet every year, people from all over the world flock to Dublin for a taste of the other black gold. <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">The Huffington Post</a> named it one of the most overrated places on earth, and for many good reasons. For a start, Dublin caters to the tourist trade, and as such has become focused on keeping tourists happy. It's no longer a slice of traditional Ireland, and you won't see the the Emerald Isle's real culture or customs there. There are much more &quot;Irish&quot; places to visit, and they won't be bogged down by tourists. <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">They include Dunmore East and County Kerry.</a></p> <h2>5. Las Vegas, Nevada</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Vegas baby! Vegas! Vegas!! Yeah, yeah... Vegas. If you have a lot of money and are prepared to lose a chunk of it, Las Vegas is going to be great. Then again, anywhere is going to be great if you're that rich.</p> <p>But if you're looking for a frugal vacation, Vegas is going to get old pretty quickly. Yes, you can get free alcohol if you gamble. You can even play the penny slots. But the alcohol is watered down, it's not served often, and you're still in a dimly lit casino. The clubs? They're expensive and you'll stand in line for hours. You will be hounded constantly about timeshares and &quot;female company.&quot; And the famous hotel buffets are just buffets. You even stand in line for those. Forget Vegas. If you really must gamble and want to stay in the US, try Atlantic City. It's on the coast, it has the boardwalk, a lot of family activities, and it's nowhere near as crowded and sleazy.</p> <h2>6. London, England</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>As someone who lived in London for six long years, I am speaking from a great deal of experience. Yes, London has some wonderful historic buildings, but it is dirty, smelly, and incredibly expensive. Anyone visiting from the U.S. should plan on spending at least three times what they would spend on a vacation to most other parts of the world, due to the rotten exchange rate and the vastly overpriced goods and services in the big city.</p> <p>Now, this is not to say you should avoid The London Eye, Big Ben, Hampton Court, The Tower of London and other attractions. What you should do instead is find a much more affordable part of England to stay in, and then pop to London on a train or National Express coach on one or two days of your vacation. Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Arundel, and Whitstable are all beautiful, affordable and about an hour from the center of London.</p> <h2>7. Dubai, UAE</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For some reason, Dubai has become an insanely popular tourist destination over the last 10 years. Yet in polls taken by many travel websites, Dubai came out on top as <a href=";page=6" style="text-decoration:none;">the most overrated</a> and <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">overpriced place to visit</a>. It has a lot of tall buildings. If that's your thing, it's a start. But as the construction work is constant, it's not exactly going to be a calming experience.</p> <p>The city is a shrine to consumerism, and is home to things like &quot;world's biggest mall&quot; and &quot;world's largest theme park.&quot; Get ready for the &quot;world's largest disappointment&quot; and the &quot;world's most overpriced vacation.&quot; Give Dubai a pass, and instead <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">try more cultural cities</a> like Sharjah (home to many galleries, festivals, and museums), Muscat, or Abu Dhabi.</p> <p><em>Vehemently disagree? Have another overrated destination? Let us know below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Popular Vacation Spots That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money (and Where to Go Instead)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap travel expensive travel overrated destinations theme parks vacation deals Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1184471 at 10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-insane-life-affirming-and-cheap-things-you-must-do-before-you-die" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mountain climber" title="mountain climber" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like the poet William Ross Wallace said, &quot;Every man dies &mdash; not every man really lives.&quot; So how do you know if you're really living?</p> <p>Well, you could read up on existentialism or employ a life coach &mdash; or you could tackle this bucket list of must-do's that are both frugal and utterly life-changing. (See also: <a href="">5 Cheap, Amazing, and Undiscovered Vacation Destinations</a>)</p> <p>Just reading our round-up of the top 10 is sure to light a fire in your belly.</p> <h2>1. Travel Alone to Someplace You've Never Been</h2> <p>Pull out a map and <a href="">pick a destination</a>. It doesn't have to be Paris or Dubai, but it could be. The biggest myth about foreign travel is that it's prohibitively expensive. The second biggest myth is that it's dangerous to make the journey on your own. Buses, budget airlines, <a href=""></a>, and hostels catering to backpackers are just a few of the tools that can help you travel on-the-cheap. Guidebooks and common sense will help keep you safe. All you have to do is pick a place.</p> <p>Now here's the catch: Don't plan an itinerary. That way you'll be wide open for spontaneous, wonderful things to happen. Oh, and about that knot you'll feel in your stomach upon embarking on a trip full of unknowns... That's the whole point! Travel experts say overcoming that feeling and learning to thrive on your own in a strange, new setting is precisely what makes solo travel so rewarding.</p> <h2>2. Climb a Mountain</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="">mountain climbing gives people a sense of achievement</a> and boosts their self-worth. It's also downright exhilarating. Rocky peaks, narrow ledges, and burning calf muscles are all part of the experience. And the rewards are oh-so-sweet &mdash; an adrenaline high, sweaty mountaintop selfie ops, and stunning panoramic views, to name just a few.</p> <h2>3. Find Your Passion</h2> <p>Life's too short to be spent doing things we don't love. If you haven't found a career or hobby or person worth living for... well, what are you waiting for? Studies show that <a href="">people who are passionate about their work</a> perform better. And those who have established, loving relationships perform better at their jobs and feel more fulfilled in all aspects of life. So maybe it's time to change up your career. Try out surfing. Learn a new language. Take up woodworking or acting or one of the martial arts. Give online dating a fair shot.</p> <p>You'll probably always have to take out the trash and mow the lawn, but once you've found your passion you'll find you can do just about any task with a smile. (See also: <a href="">5 Simple Ways To Find Your Passion</a>)</p> <h2>4. Watch a Rocket Blast Off Into Outer Space</h2> <p>This here is free and mind-blowing entertainment, folks. Brought to you by NASA, <a href="">rocket launches can happen as often as twice a month</a> at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Watching the future shoot skyward in a cloud of smoke and fire is about the next-best thing to visiting space yourself. Just don't forget your camera.</p> <h2>5. Shower in a Waterfall</h2> <p>Need we say more? To find a waterfall near you, check out <a href=""></a> or the <a href=";msa=0&amp;ll=37.996163,-94.042969&amp;spn=46.173152,107.138672&amp;dg=feature">World of Waterfalls</a> map.</p> <h2>6. Play an Epic Game of Bossaball</h2> <p>This game of balance and strategy &mdash; a hybrid of volleyball, football, gymnastics, and capoeira &mdash; is <a href="">played on an inflatable court</a> with trampolines. It can be played anywhere, anytime. And despite the unique playing field, set-up only takes about 45 minutes. Oh, yeah. We should probably mention that you'll have about as much fun playing Bossaball as humanly possible. Intrigued? <a href="">Join a league</a> or <a href="">organize your own game</a>.</p> <h2>7. Roll Around in a Giant, Inflatable Bubble</h2> <p>If you're not already familiar, a Zorb is <a href="">a giant, inflatable sphere</a> that you climb inside and ride down hills or across wide open spaces. Why do people go zorbing? Because it's ridiculously fun. Invented in New Zealand in 1995, this gravity-trip has gone international. It's also reasonably priced. A Zorb ride typically costs about $40.</p> <h2>8. See a Volcano</h2> <p>There are about 6,000 volcanos in existence and the Smithsonian has created <a href="">a user-friendly database</a> of them all for your convenience. Now there should be nothing stopping you from checking out one the most mesmerizing geographic features that link the land we walk on to planet earth's fiery core. Don't be fooled &mdash; you can do a lot more than just look at them. You can ski the Cascade Volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest, witness the fiery lava of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as it drizzles into the ocean, and scuba dive around the underwater White Island Volcano in New Zealand.</p> <h2>9. Conquer a Fear</h2> <p>Turns out that <a href="">facing your fears really works</a>. Research shows that people who expose themselves to the thing that unnerves them &mdash; be it a gigantic, hairy spider or standing at the edge of a cliff &mdash; can actually reduce their fear of that very thing. The results can be truly liberating. So if you're afraid of spiders, go to a zoo that will let you hold one. If it's heights that make you squeamish, go cliff jumping. Life is too short to let irrational fears keep you from living vibrantly. (See also: <a href="">9 Techniques That Can Help You Conquer Any Fear</a>)</p> <h2>10. Learn How to Meditate and Practice It Daily</h2> <p>The <a href="">ancient practice of meditation</a> is proven to make you happier, more focused, and more even-keeled. Researchers say it can even make you nicer. Yet perhaps it's not scientists but Hugh Jackman who best sums up <a href="">why we all should do it</a>: &quot;Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.&quot; What a wonderful tool to have at your disposal as you progress on this wonderful, crazy ride we call life.</p> <p><em>What have you checked off your life's &quot;Awesome To-Do List&quot;? Please share in comments (and cross &quot;Comment on Wise Bread&quot; off the list!)</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Travel adventure bucket list cheap thrills Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:00:30 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1183824 at The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man on phone" title="man on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's something you may not know: Hotel rates are not set in stone. It's often possible to get the best deals simply by picking up the phone and negotiating your way into low rates, upgrades, and freebies. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">20 Secrets of Last Minute Travel</a>)</p> <p>Very rarely will these opportunities be advertised, so the only way you can find out if a hotel negotiates is by picking up the phone and asking the hotel staff. Just follow the steps below, and remember to be nice, be polite, and charming as hell.</p> <h2>Timing Your Visit</h2> <p>If your trip coincides with the busy season, it's unlikely that the hotel will negotiate their rates. When they can get other guests to pay full price, they're probably not going to give you any discounts.</p> <p>If you travel during the off-peak season, however, you're in luck. Hotels are more willing to negotiate when business is slow. The front-desk staff should have some leeway to allow discounts for guests who ask.</p> <p>You'll have a better chance of succeeding if you call as soon as you know your dates. You can try calling at the last minute or even negotiating in person when you arrive at the hotel, but you may end up not getting a room at all.</p> <p>Regardless of whether you speak with the hotel staff by phone or in person, do it when they're not busy. Avoid check-in and meal times; call in the late afternoon instead. You don't want to speak with someone who is overwhelmed by arriving guests at the reception desk. You want his full attention, so it may be a good idea to ask if it's a good time to talk at the beginning of the call.</p> <h2>Making the Call</h2> <p>Before you call, arm yourself with the hotel's published rate, as well as the rates of its competitors. You can get this information from the hotels' official websites and hotel booking sites. To minimize your searching time, go with comparison sites like <a style="text-decoration:none;" href=""></a> and <a style="text-decoration:none;" href=""></a>.</p> <p>If the hotel is part of a chain, there may be a national or even international hotline. The operator at the 800 number will probably not have any power to give you a discount. Call the hotel directly instead and ask to speak with the manager, if possible.</p> <h3>Ask for the Best Rate</h3> <p>Start the negotiation by saying something like, &quot;I found your rate online for $200 per night. Is that your best rate?&quot; You may or may not get a better deal right away.</p> <p>Follow up by asking, &quot;Is that the best you can do?&quot; or, &quot;Can you do better than that?&quot;</p> <p>If you still don't get the rate you want, continue by saying, &quot;I can't spend more than $150.&quot; Then, see what response you get. It's a good rule of thumb to try getting 25% off your starting rate because hotels generally pay that amount to third-party agents like online booking sites and travel agents for finding guests.</p> <h3>Mention the Competition</h3> <p>You can also try dropping the names of the hotel's competitors. For example, you can say, &quot;Hotel Down the Avenue has a free gym for guests to use and they only charge $175 per night. Would you be able to give me $150 per night?&quot;</p> <h3>Tweak the Dates</h3> <p>If you have some flexibility, ask the hotel manager, &quot;Does that happen to be a busy time for the hotel? Would you be able to lower the rates if I change my dates?&quot; Hotel rates fluctuate a lot, so simply adjusting your travel dates could affect the rates dramatically.</p> <p>Another trick you can use is to start out with a two-night stay and later say, &quot;I can extend my stay to three nights if you could give me a better deal.&quot;</p> <h3>Special Discounts</h3> <p>Ask if there are any special discounts. The hotel may call it a special rate or saver rate.</p> <p>Hotels often have discounts for AAA members, AARP members, senior citizens, government workers, military members, veterans, travel industry employees, hotel shareholders, business travelers, and loyalty program members. Boutique hotels may even offer introductory rates for first-time guests.</p> <h3>Discount Rooms</h3> <p>Much like the clearance racks at clothing stores, hotels also often have discount rooms that they don't offer to regular customers. There's usually a defect that makes the manager decide to keep the room empty. For example, there may be a stain in the carpet or a lamp may be missing.</p> <p>Depending on the hotel, you may be able to get this room at a discount. Just ask, &quot;Do you have any out-of-order rooms? I'd be willing to stay there if the price is right.&quot;</p> <h3>Upgrades and Special Requests</h3> <p>If you have a special request, leave it for later in the phone call. Otherwise, you may be given a more expensive room. You want to know their base rate so you can decide for yourself if whatever addon you want is worth the extra charge.</p> <p>Once you get a rate you like, ask, &quot;Oh, by the way, will this be an ocean-view room?&quot; If the hotel manager says it's not and that you'll have to pay more for an ocean-view room, you can judge for yourself whether to pay the higher price.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask, &quot;Could you throw in the breakfast?&quot; You can also ask for a room upgrade or free parking.</p> <p>Before you end the call, get your reservation confirmation code and the name of the person on the other end of the phone. These details will help you if there's any confusion or problem with your reservation later.</p> <p><em>Have you ever negotiated a lower room rate? What worked for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel accommodations hotels lodging negotiation room rates Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Deia B 1183823 at The 10 Most Creative Ways to Avoid Airline Fees (Like Wearable Suitcases) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-most-creative-ways-to-avoid-airline-fees-like-wearable-suitcases" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stewardess helping passenger" title="stewardess helping passenger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cost of flying has never been higher. Which means the ways to potentially save on airfare have never been as&hellip; creative. (See also: <a href="">8 Airline Fees That Are Actually Worth Paying</a>)</p> <p>For those interested in bending a few rules, or looking a bit silly, you can skip some of the fees and chop down the price of a ticket, with these 10 of most ridiculous ways you can avoid those pesky airline fees.</p> <h2>1. Invest in Wearable Luggage</h2> <p>Ask yourself the following question &mdash; &quot;Is it more important for me to look good on the plane, or save money on my flight?&quot; If you choose the latter option (and you're reading Wise Bread, so that's highly likely), consider saving on checked bag fees by <em>wearing your luggage</em>. That's right, a website called <a href=""></a>, which has been around since 2010, has created clothing lines that can store up to 33 pounds of luggage. It's not exactly chic or stylish, but who cares if it saves you a bunch of cash every single time you fly. Not only that, if you're not checking bags you can avoid the baggage claim delays.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Layover Stop Your Final Destination</h2> <p>This is also known as the &quot;hidden city&quot; airline ticket, and none of the airline carriers will tell you about it. In fact, many of them say it's something you cannot do. But, if the airlines insist on charging additional fees while cutting services, I say &quot;power to the people.&quot;</p> <p>The trick here is to avoid booking a non-stop flight, and instead book one to a very popular destination with a big hub. The 1-stop or 2-stop flights are cheaper than direct flights, and what you want to do is find a layover that is your actual destination. Then, instead of switching planes, you just get off at the layover city and enjoy your vacation. You can save 30% or more by taking this route. Of course, you can only do this if you have no checked baggage, you must book one-way tickets, and if you get caught, you may get suspended from the airline.</p> <h2>3. Wear Layers Of Clothing</h2> <p>The blankets and pillows used to be free on your flight. That's increasingly not the case. So, if you're in for a long flight and don't like the chill, double or triple the layers of clothing you're wearing. Two to three shirts or sweaters, or maybe even a blanket tied around your waist, can come in very handy when you're flying. Ball them up as a pillow, or use them for cover. If you're hot, it's easy enough to take a few layers off.</p> <h2>4. Check Your Bag at the Gate</h2> <p>You'll pay to check your bag at the service desk, but you can skip that fee if you decide to take the airline's generous offer of a free bag check at the gate. Of course, you have to ensure the bag would fit in the overhead compartment first; they won't let you carry a massive suitcase onto the plane. But these days, with flights being overbooked, they are always looking to save a little room. If you want to make sure you've got the best chance of being asked to check your bag for free, hang back and board last.</p> <h2>5. Carry an Empty Water Bottle</h2> <p>You can't take big bottles of liquids, like water or juice, through security. But there is absolutely nothing stopping you taking an empty water bottle through the scanner. Once you're through the gate, you can fill it at a drinking fountain, or take your bottle onto the plane and ask them to fill it with water; either option is better than paying for the expensive bottled water on the flight. Seriously: <a href="">Spirit charges $3 per bottle.</a></p> <h2>6. Baggage? Just Upgrade to Business</h2> <p>Wait, what? Isn't that going to cost more? Well, that all depends on the airline, your destination, and how much luggage you're checking. Business class seats often come with two or three checked bags free of charge. Sometimes, it can be as little as $40 for an upgrade (anyone who listens to comedian Hannibal Buress will know that story). If you do the math, you may find that you're paying the same for the business class seat as you are for the coach seat with checked bags.</p> <h2>7. Bring Chocolates on the Flight</h2> <p>These sweet treats aren't for you; they're for the flight attendants. When you board the plane, hand over a gift-wrapped box of delicious chocolates and thank them in advance for the wonderful job they do. Not only will you make their day, you will now be their favorite passenger. Suddenly, you're not paying for headphones, movies, drinks, meals, or anything else you'd normally have to pay for on board. It doesn't always happen, but when it does you'll save a bunch of money.</p> <h2>8. Buy Round Trip for One Way Journeys</h2> <p>It seems so odd that round trips are often cheaper than one-way tickets. Airline representatives state that they don't like people flying one way as it upsets schedules, so they discourage it with higher costs. There is also the corporate factor to take into account; business people will fly one way and their travel departments won't even blink at the high price. So, next time you're looking for a one-way flight, do a search for round trips as well. You may save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.</p> <h2>9. Send Your Baggage Through the Mail</h2> <p>Sadly, it has now become less expensive (in some instances) to mail your belongings to your destination than paying the additional baggage fees. Some will often charge over $100 extra for a heavy bag as well, and it can be much, much cheaper to simply box it up and send it via USPS or FedEx Ground. You'll have to make sure you analyze the weight, the time, and the hassle of going to the post office. But if it makes sense, why not?</p> <h2>10. Get a Bereavement Fare</h2> <p>Finally, the title of the article does include the word &quot;ridiculous,&quot; and this is certainly the most questionable one on the list. I asked several friends to tell me the craziest thing they had done to save money on airfare, and two came back with &quot;bereavement fare.&quot; It seems that if you are flying for bereavement, most airlines will discount your ticket. Now, the ethics of this are highly questionable (actually they're not&hellip; it's just wrong), <em>but</em> if you really are flying because of a death in the family, you should definitely take the airline's offer of a discounted ticket.</p> <p><em>To what great lengths have you gone to avoid paying airline fees? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Most Creative Ways to Avoid Airline Fees (Like Wearable Suitcases)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel Airfare airline fees luggage travel savings Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:02:01 +0000 Paul Michael 1181399 at The Best Times of Year to Travel Anywhere <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-times-of-year-to-travel-anywhere" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple travel" title="couple travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes, it's a bit of a hassle getting a trip together. Whether it be work, school, or social schedules, a family planning on traveling domestically or abroad may find it impossible to do so. And, worse, once you get to where you thought your dream vacation should be, is virtually shut down because of &quot;low season.&quot;</p> <p>Truth is, any time of year is a great time to travel &mdash; you just need to know where to go, when. (See also: <a href="">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Winter</h2> <p>Beaches, of course, both north and south of the equator, will be popular, but you can also escape the crowds and still have a great time.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>If you are thinking about Europe, think again. While the summer crowds for popular sights in Western Europe will be gone, the weather will be cold and rainy across most of the continent. The only place that I would recommend traveling to would be the ski towns of Europe, in the Pyrenees and Alps. These winter months are great for skiing, and is considered &quot;high&quot; season.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>To avoid the summer heat, why not Southeast Asia? Notoriously humid, countries like Thailand and Cambodia cool down considerably, and are out of the monsoon season during the winter months</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Beach season hasn't arrived yet in Northern Africa during the winter, but if you were wanting to backpack through the desert or check out the Pyramids of Egypt, the winter would be an excellent time to cross the Mediterranean. Further south, crossing the Equator, the high season in South Africa has arrived, and the beautiful beaches are full. I&nbsp;would avoid the East Coast of Africa, which can see cyclones during this time of year.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>South America is great during this time. The Caribbean coast of the continent is cooled off from the summer heat, and Argentina and Chile are in the midst of their summer seasons. Virtually the entire continent is open for business during this time!</p> <h2>Spring</h2> <p>If you can get the kids out of school early, spring is a wonderful time to travel.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>This is a great time of year to visit Europe, and especially if you can push the trip to as close to summer as possible. The crowds have yet to descend upon the cramped continent, and the summer weather is beginning to come back. In the south of Spain and Portugal, summer-like weather abounds.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The only places in Asia that may be decent this time of year are in North Asia, especially Japan, which experiences its famed cherry blossoms during this time. China also experiences pleasant weather during the springtime.</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Central African nations are good to visit this time of year, since the heat of summer has yet to arrive. Island countries in the Indian Ocean like Reunion are also very pleasant in the spring.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Central America and the Caribbean are still open for business, as springtime is right before the rainy season and hurricanes, which are definitely to be avoided. Baja Mexico and its Pacific coast are also good to go.</p> <h2>Summer</h2> <p>Everyone is on the road during summer, which means plenty of options, and unfortunately, plenty of other travelers.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you can handle the crowds (and a little heat), summer in Europe is a delight. If you plan on hitting Iceland during your travels, I would recommend going now, with temperatures in very comfortable ranges and almost 24 hours of daylight!</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Tourist season is certainly up in Asia, despite the heat. Indonesia's weather is quite nice during this time of year, so maybe meet up with some of your other backpacker friends and have some fun! It is monsoon season, though, which I wouldn't want to be a part of!</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>I would stick with Northern Africa during the summer, as the beaches can be quite nice this time of year.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In South America, check out the Andean highlands of Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, which are quite pleasant this time of year (I've been).</p> <h2>Fall</h2> <p>Moderate temperatures and sometimes unpredictable weather make fall a comfortable and thrilling time to travel.</p> <h3>Europe</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Deep in the Mediterranean, you can still find swimmable weather in Sicily, Malta, and Ibiza/Mallorca in Spain. Everywhere else may be a bit cold, but ski season should be open by late November in the Alps.</p> <h3>Asia</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Autumn is a particularly amazing time to visit South Korea when the leaves change. Hong Kong's notoriously humid weather has given way to quite a temperate climate. And, don't forget about usually steamy Singapore.</p> <h3>Africa</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>It's shoulder-season in Morocco, and empty of tourists if you want to see the sights on a budget. In Mali and Mauritania, river cruises make for a good vacation at this time.</p> <h3>The Americas</h3> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>In the Americas, Central America is still in the rainy season, but Costa Rica's temperatures and prices might be good at this time. In the USA, the South is great this time of year, and the beaches are still open in Miami.</p> <p><em>When's your favorite time of year to travel? Where do you go? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best Times of Year to Travel Anywhere" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel international travel off season travel when to travel where to go Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Mark Jackson 1167642 at The World's 11 Craziest Frugal Hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worlds-11-craziest-frugal-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Hotel Sidi Driss" title="Hotel Sidi Driss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love a good hotel as much as the next guy. Unfortunately, many of those &quot;good&quot; hotels cost a pretty penny (or a lot of points) to stay at for just a night. But, luckily for all of us, it's a bright, big world out there, full of chic, hip hotels that won't break the bank! So, let's take a look at 11 budget hotels around the world (that are pretty cool, too)! (See also: <a href="">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Karostas Cietums, Latvia</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Ever been to Latvia? Me neither, but there is a pretty unique hotel option there for those that can handle a little bit of discomfort. A former military prison, <a href="">Karostas Cietums</a> is now open to overnight guests (by choice) during the summer months. The prison operated from 1900 until 1997, and still features hard beds and thin blankets. Some amenities include signing up for harsh punishments the prisoners used to face (really). The price? $20 a night.</p> <h2>2. Lundy Island, United Kingdom</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Want an island vacation on a budget? Well, it can be yours in the United Kingdom, on <a href="">Lundy Island</a>. You won't find any beaches here, though. What you will find are medieval castles, a lighthouse, cottages, and a stately manor waiting for you to explore. The island hosts a population of about 18, and does have a pub (in case you were wondering). Rooms can be had for 24 pounds a night. (See also: <a href="">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <h2>3. BaseCamp Bonn, Germany</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Want the camper experience, but none of the outdoors? Come to <a href="">BaseCamp Bonn</a>, where you can sleep in your choice of 15 themed trailers, two VW buses, two Airstreams or two sleepers. The entire hotel is housed in a former warehouse, making for a fun environment of &quot;indoor&quot; camping. Room rates start at 24 Euros a night.</p> <h2>4. Nicolle Tower, UK</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Returning to the United Kingdom, <a href="">Nicolle Tower</a> is located in Jersey. Built in the 1800s, the tower was taken by the Germans in 1943 and renovated, adding another floor and is about 160 feet high. It serves as a great lookout for the sea, and starts at 31 pounds a night.</p> <h2>5. Husky Lodge, Switzerland</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Do you love dogs? Specifically, huskies? Well, there's a hotel on earth for you. In Muotathal, Switzerland, you can sleep in a hotel that <a href="">hosts a bunch of Siberian Huskies</a>, who pull sleds and bikes year round in this mountainous region. Rooms start at 34 Swiss Francs.</p> <h2>6. The Bungalow on the Beach, India</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>A decidedly luxurious option on this list, you can have access to a <a href="">former British Governor's beachfront villa</a> for roughly 35 British pounds a night. Featuring sprawling grounds and a pool, this hotel would be very hard to pass up on any itinerary!</p> <h2>7. The Gate House, India</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Remaining in India, another villa crosses our path in southeast India. Built in 1620s, <a href="">this fort</a>, built by the Dutch who were exporting spices and tea at the time, has been protected ever since, and lovingly restored. The manor should be very private &mdash; there are only six rooms, which start at 40 British pounds a night.</p> <h2>8. Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisia</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Okay, for any Star Wars fan on this earth, this is a must see. The Lars homestead (you know, Uncle Owen and Aunt Peru that got toasted at the beginning of the first movie?) is now a hotel, and it's awesome. In decidedly budget accommodations, you can live all your Star Wars fantasies until you go numb. Prices are at $10 a night, including breakfast.</p> <h2>9. Capsule Hotel, Netherlands</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>The Netherlands is known for being quite pricey, so your own hotel room for around $78 a night isn't too bad! In old oil rig &quot;<a href="">survival capsules</a>&quot; you can spend the night in this surfing community. The boats are still floating in the ocean, and can fit up to three people. One is even modeled after The Spy Who Loved Me's escape pod!</p> <h2>10. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia</h2> <p>How about a yurt for the night? Right in the middle of the Gobi desert, <a href="">this eco-lodge</a> has decidedly luxurious tents available for guests, that include a king bed, sink and toilet! And, with horseback riding and hiking expeditions in the nearby Altai mountains, what's not to like? Prices from $80 a person per night.</p> <h2>11. Het Kleine Paradijs &quot;The Little Paradise,&quot; Netherlands</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Our final listing has several options available to guests. Would you like a tree house? A yurt? A &quot;knight's tent&quot; just like Camelot? Or how about the &quot;Writer's Cabin?&quot; Well, you can have your pick, at <a href="">this retreat</a> that aims to get you to reconnect with your inner self and live a healthier life. Doesn't that sound nice? Nights from 55 euros.</p> <p><em>Do you know any other cool, cheap hotels? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The World&#039;s 11 Craziest Frugal Hotels" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel cheap hotel cool hotels lodging weird hotels Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:00:16 +0000 Mark Jackson 1158336 at 10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="hotel couple" title="hotel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In my travel experience, I've become quite good at finding a great hotel deal. This post is geared to those of you that would like to find the same deals like me and travel the world a little cheaper! (See also: <a href="">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Refuse Maid Service</h2> <p>This option is available at Starwood Hotels worldwide, and you can ask at other hotels if they offer it as well. If you refuse maid service at Starwood on multi-day stays, you can net either a $5 daily voucher or 500 daily points added to your Starwood account.</p> <h2>2. Book International Travel on Non-US Websites</h2> <p>One tactic I've used during my trips to Europe is to look at the foreign versions of websites that I frequent. Often, they have cheaper rates or free perks that aren't offered to U.S. residents. (See also: <a href="">3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a>)</p> <h2>3. Check Corporate Rates</h2> <p>This can be a great option if you work for a large firm. Often, corporate rates can save you hundreds of dollars on your room, especially during busy times. It's always good to check this rate against the &quot;best available&quot; rate, though, as I've seen the corporate rate higher than the best available before.</p> <h2>4. Work at a Hostel</h2> <p>If you're staying at hostels, make sure to form a good relationship with the people working there &mdash; you may get to work in exchange for room and board. I've done this before, and I can say it's a good way to see a city on a budget!</p> <h2>5. &quot;Flash&quot; Sales</h2> <p>Many times, hotel chains and hotel room wholesalers offer up &quot;flash&quot; sales with limited inventory, offering up rooms at a steep discount. Starwood has their weekly &quot;StarPicks,&quot; and IHG Hotel Group has their &quot;PointBreaks&quot; for award stays. Be sure to follow each hotel chain on Twitter and Facebook as a way to find out about these rare deals.</p> <h2>6. Don't Choose</h2> <p>My personal favorite website, Hotwire is known for selling you a hotel room in the city you want, in the area you want &mdash; but you don't get to find out ahead of time what the hotel is. The result? You save big money, sometimes 75% on the price of the hotel room. I use this in Las Vegas, where the hotels are easy to guess by their location and amenities.</p> <p>The &quot;Name Your Own Price&quot; function on Priceline is similar to Hotwire in that you won't know the hotel until you finish payment, but this site differs in that you make a bid for a hotel. If you bid too low, your card will not be charged. The key with this site is to not overbid for your hotel &mdash; but if you do an Internet search for the area you're traveling to and &quot;Priceline,&quot; you can find many online forums online that can help you with your exact city that you are traveling to. One great place to start is <a href=""></a>.</p> <h2>7. Points</h2> <p>Not really a surprise, but a reminder: loyalty points! By staying at the same hotel chain for all your hotel stays, you accrue points that can then be redeemed for a night anywhere on earth that they have a property!</p> <h2>8. Credit Cards</h2> <p>Want to accrue points faster than staying per-night with hotel chains? Get a <a href="">co-branded hotel credit card</a>. With the <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1142&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card</a>, for example, you can get 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 within the first 4 months of membership. Considering that you can book a room for as little as few as 5,000 points, that bonus alone can save you a bundle on your next vacation.</p> <h2>9. Status</h2> <p>Another way to save some money at hotels is by using a frequent guest status. You can get this by staying at hotels a lot, or by getting a hotel credit card. For instance, having the <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1142&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card</a> will automatically get you Hilton HHonors Gold status, which gets you large room upgrades and free breakfast at Hiltons worldwide. Other chains, like Marriott and IHG hotels, also offer mid-tier status with their credit card products.</p> <h2>10. Negotiate!</h2> <p>Sometimes, if you're a good talker, you can pit hotels against each other. If you see a hotel in the same town that you would like to stay at, see if they'll match the cheaper rate of their competing hotel. The answer is always &quot;no&quot; if you don't ask!</p> <p><em>How have you found deals on hotels? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mark Jackson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Travel credit cards discounts hotels lodging Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Mark Jackson 1158804 at Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-travel-edition-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel couple" title="travel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles from around the web on travel!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href=";cof=FORID%3A10&amp;ie=ISO-8859-1&amp;q=travel&amp;sa=&amp;;ref=&amp;ss=568j81106j6">Ten Money-Saving Vacation and Travel Tips</a> &mdash; Packing smart and sleeping cheap can help you save money on your vacation. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">Key Considerations to Help You Book the Perfect Vacation Destination</a> &mdash; When choosing your vacation destination, consider the people who will be traveling with you. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">Zoom Zoom - 8 Ways to Save Money at the Airport While Traveling</a> &mdash; To save money at the airport, bring your own reading material and stay out of the gift shop. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">How to Be Smart and Safe With Money When Traveling</a> &mdash; Being discreet and using your gadgets can help you be smart and safe with your money when you are traveling. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="">Saving Money on Attractions, Food, and Getting Around on Vacation; Lessons Learned</a> &mdash; Planning early, setting a budget, and asking locals for recommendations can help you save money on attractions, food, and getting around on vacation. [Debt Blag]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Save on Getting to and From the Airport</a> &mdash; Staying at a hotel that offers a shuttle to and from the airport can cut your transportation expenses. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Travel for Free</a> &mdash; Staying with a local or house sitting are just a couple ways you can travel for free. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="">Save Time, Save Money with a Travel Packing Checklist</a> &mdash; Using a travel checklist will help you ensure you don't forget any essentials and have to spend money on things you left behind when you travel. [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="">83 Extraordinary Travel Experiences of a Lifetime</a> &mdash; If you are looking for a travel experience of a lifetime, hug a sloth in Costa Rica or attend the Kentucky Derby. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Travel Tips and Checklist for Parents</a> &mdash; It is vital for parents to bring entertainment when traveling with their kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Travel Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Travel best money tips travel Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147496 at