travel tips http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8106/all en-US 9 Travel Destinations for Introverts http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-destinations-for-introverts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-travel-destinations-for-introverts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scenic_oregon_coast.jpg" alt="Scenic Oregon Coast" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Introverts love to travel as much as extroverts, they just prefer to skip places teeming with tourists. Breathtaking scenery, one-on-one conversations, and time for reflection are more important than, say, joining the limbo contest on a rowdy cruise ship.</p> <p>The good news is, there are many vacation ideas that are perfect for introverts. Some of these destinations promote solitude, while others make it easy to get lost in your own thoughts no matter who is around.</p> <h2>1. Visit the Great Wall of China</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/the_great_wall_of_china.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Great Wall of China actually began as a series of heavy brick walls and structures to protect Chinese empires from attacks. The first was constructed in 771 BC and later installments were connected 2,200 years ago. Today's wall is thousands of miles long, with many of its components winding through gorgeous green hills and ancient lands.</p> <p>As an introvert, exploring the Great Wall of China offers a dramatic way to walk through history and learn about the past without visiting a stuffy museum. Focus your itinerary on the less touristy areas of the wall. The Mutianyu and Badaling sections are easily accessible but mobbed with visitors. You can find tours to the Jinshanling and Simatai sections of the wall on Viator. These parts are harder to get to and may involve hiking over unrestored parts of the wall, but they are much less crowded and offer spectacular views of the wall and countryside.</p> <p>For an even less touristy visit, avoid weekends and peak travel times (usually May through August in China) and Chinese New Year, which usually takes place in February. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Flight-Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/elephant_and_kilimanjaro.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Located in northern Tanzania, the 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain anywhere. Although the fact that you can hike up Kilimanjaro without crampons or technical climbing gear makes it one of the easiest major mountains to summit, it also means it's no stranger to tourists. Still, you can take less crowded routes, and even if you're not alone, life doesn't get much more serene than atop this majestic mountain.</p> <p>Introverts can book a small group tour or even a private climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Prices vary widely, but according to the guide company Peak Planet, a good rule of thumb is to plan on spending about $5,000 for your trip, including round-trip airfare from the U.S. That's not cheap, but if you're adventurous, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Travel rewards credit cards</a> can help you defray the costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get lost in the streets of Venice, Italy</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/view_from_gondola_venice.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Venice may be bursting at the seams with people, but it's still one of the most beautiful places for introverts to travel. Walk to the Plaza San Marco at sunrise and you'll have the place almost to yourself. By all means, take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal and though the winding neighborhoods that make up this historic city (solo tours are around $100). Or find a cozy spot to sit in Saint Mark's Square for some interesting people-watching.</p> <p>But also wander off the beaten path to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection or contemporary art galleries such as Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi. Or stroll through the Cannaregio section of town whose back alleys and sunny squares offer a glimpse of everyday life for the Venetians who live here.</p> <h2>4. Tour the Galápagos Islands</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/galapagos_sea_lion.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Galapagos are a series of natural volcanic islands that belong to Ecuador. Because they were isolated from the mainland for thousands of years, they are home to some of the most unusual species of wildlife, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and the world's only equatorial penguin.</p> <p>After spending some time on the mainland, you can book a small group cruise to some of these islands. Small group trips with Intrepid Travel leave from Quito, Ecuador and start at around $2,000 per person for eight days, with boat travel, meals, snorkeling, and kayaking included. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-do-9-popular-bucket-list-items-on-a-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Do 9 Popular Bucket List Items on a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Visit the quiet shores of Nevis</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/scenic_view_of_saint_kitts.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Caribbean includes an array of gorgeous islands that feature crystal clear waters, gorgeous white sand, and natural beauty. Unfortunately, many islands are also crowded with beachgoers and partyers that can ruin the mood.</p> <p>The Caribbean island of Nevis, however, is not overrun with people or tour groups. Since major airlines don't fly here (most people take a ferry from nearby St. Kitts), renting a beachfront hotel will get you a whole lot more than beautiful scenery; you may have the place to yourself.</p> <p>There is only one major hotel chain represented on the entire island &mdash; the Four Seasons Resort. Elsewhere around Nevis, you'll find small family-run restaurants and shops, along with quaint hotels and ample beach space that provides opportunities for solitude.</p> <p>Stay at the charming Hermitage hotel for quiet mountain beauty, afternoon tea, homemade meals in the Great House, and gorgeous views of the ocean below. Or, book one of the cheaper hotels on the island, which can cost as little as $150 per night in the late summer months. Rooms at the small, eco-conscious beachfront Oualie Beach Resort start at just $166 per night, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/caribbean-island-vacations-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Caribbean Island Vacations Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>6. Head to Tulum, Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/el_castillo_tulum_mexico.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Tulum, Mexico is the perfect spot for solitude because it's so beautiful, historic, and naturally elegant. Here, you'll find ancient Mayan ruins to explore, white sand beaches lapped by crystal clear water, and exotic swimming holes knows as cenotes where you can swim with fish and other wildlife.</p> <p>While Mexico's bigger resort cities like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas are well known for their parties and crowds, Tulum offers an atmosphere that promotes peaceful relaxation and proximity to nature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a>)</p> <h2>7. Take in the Oregon coast</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/scenic_oregon_coast.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Oregon coast offers plenty for introverts, including cozy cafes perfect for reading, expansive beaches ideal for quiet relaxation, and hundreds of miles of natural beauty. The Oregon Beach Bill even ensures you'll get access to the state's beautiful shoreline. This 1967 measure established public ownership of land along the coast, meaning you don't have to stay on the water to set yourself up for long strolls on the beach.</p> <p>The Oregon coast is ideal for walking, lazing on the beach, and watching dramatic sunsets.</p> <p>Or, you can hike through nearby old growth forests while keeping your eye out for wildlife. Oregon's coast is home to numerous species you may not see at home, including white-tailed deer, burrowing owls, sea otters, and beavers.</p> <h2>8. Explore Iceland</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/aurora_over_kirkjufell_and_waterfall_at_night_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Iceland has long been considered one of the best destinations for solo travelers, mostly due to its low crime rate and the many amazing things to do and see. If you love the outdoors, you will never get bored in Iceland &mdash; even if you're alone. For example, you could head to Iceland to hike a glacier, explore the capital city of Reykjavik, swim in thermal pools, or explore an active volcano.</p> <p>One way to go is to book a solo tour with Baltic Travel Company. Starting at around $1,100, you can see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis), spend time in Iceland's cities, or even embark on a <em>Game of Thrones</em> adventure with a knowledgeable guide.</p> <p>Traveling to Iceland outside of the peak months of June through August will help you save money and avoid heavy crowds. Plus, there is plenty to see and do in spring, fall, and even winter if you can stomach the colder weather and short days (winter days have as few as four hours of sunlight). You can get a spectacular view of the northern lights from mid-March to mid-May, for example. And visitors in September can participate in annual sheepherding and horse-herding rituals, which take place in the Icelandic backcountry. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-of-the-safest-countries-to-visit-in-2018?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 of the Safest Countries to Visit in 2018</a>)</p> <h2>9. Take a budget road trip to U.S. national parks</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/yosemite_national_park_valley_at_autumn.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you like driving, a road trip around the United States may be the best idea yet. With nothing but the road in front of you, you could forget about stresses back home while watching the scenery unfold.</p> <p>With enough time, you could explore some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the nation's national parks. The best way to avoid the crowds is to plan your trip any time that kids are in school. Avoid the summer months, spring break (usually mid-March), and holiday weekends when kids may have four or five days off in a row, for example.</p> <p>A national park pass to see destinations like Yosemite, Arches National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Mount Rushmore costs just $80 annually. You can save money by staying in inexpensive hotels or camping along the way. You could enjoy some peace and quiet while hiking gorgeous cliffs, white water rafting, or just curling up with a good book in the great outdoors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-national-park-visits-in-2018?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save on National Park Visits in 2018</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-destinations-for-introverts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-to-machu-picchu-and-back-for-30">How to Get to Machu Picchu and Back for $30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries">6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you">Train vs. Plane Travel: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-european-cities-you-can-visit-for-50-a-day">5 European Cities You Can Visit for $50 a Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable travel introvert traits introverts solo travel travel destinations travel tips Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 2133485 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Vacation in Greece for $300 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-vacation-in-greece-for-300-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-vacation-in-greece-for-300-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel_to_greek_island.jpg" alt="Travel to Greek Island" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to see why Greece tops the list for so many travelers saving up for a bucket list trip. The country boasts ancient ruins, historical marvels like the Acropolis and the Oracle at Delphi, stunning scenery, and 6,000 islands, only 227 of which are inhabited. Of course, a visit to Greece wouldn't be complete without time spent in the ancient city of Athens, where you'll find big city night life along with historical relics around every corner.</p> <p>The problem with traveling to Greece is the same one you'll find when you plan trips to other far-flung corners of the world. Greece is farther from the U.S. than the rest of Europe, and thus it's expensive to get to. There are frequent sales for flights to Athens and other Greek destinations, but they are typically short-lived and only available from bigger cities.</p> <p>If you want to plan a bucket list trip to Greece at a price you can afford, your best bet is coming up with a credit card rewards strategy and implementing it early. Here's how you can score a Greek vacation for $300 or less with the right combination of points and miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Getting to Greece with airline miles</h2> <p>Since nearly all major airlines with frequent flyer programs fly into Greece, you have many options when it comes to racking up miles. One of the best choices, however, is the American Airlines AAdvantage program. You can earn miles in this program by signing up for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded American Airlines credit card</a>, shopping through the American AAdvantage shopping portal, or earning miles through the airline's dining program.</p> <p>While flights to Greece from the U.S. will set you back at least 60,000 American AAdvantage miles for most of the year, you can book these flights for only 45,000 miles during the off-peak season, which lasts roughly from November through the end of March, with blackout dates over holidays.</p> <p>Keep in mind, however, that you'll need to pay for airline taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on top of your miles. These fees vary depending on the flights and dates you choose, but they tend to run in the $125-$280 range. This could be the biggest expense you'll pay for travel &mdash; or even the only expense you'll pay.</p> <p>Another solid option within the frequent flyer space is Air France/Flying Blue. This program partners with the proprietary rewards programs offered by major card issuers, making it an especially easy option for racking up points through sign-up bonuses. With Air France, you can fly round-trip from many U.S. cities to Athens, Greece for 50,000 miles plus taxes and fees.</p> <p>A third option to consider is United Airlines. It's easy to rack up United miles through either the credit card rewards programs that lets you transfer points to United, or through <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">United's own co-branded credit cards</a>. Round-trip flights from U.S. cities to Athens will set you back 60,000 United miles plus $100-$150 in fees per person.</p> <h2>Covering your hotel</h2> <p>Hotels are easy to book with points all over Greece, but you'll want to think long and hard about <em>where</em> you want to stay before coming up with a plan. Remember that Greece is huge and that there is much to see on the mainland as well as on famous Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos.</p> <p>Your best hotel options depend on where you want to stay, but here are some of the hotels you could book with the right hotel rewards programs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Hotel Rewards Programs</a>)</p> <p><strong>Starwood Preferred Guest:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Periscope Athens &mdash; from 10,000 Starpoints per night</p> </li> <li> <p>The Romanos, Costa Navarino &mdash; from 25,000 Starpoints per night</p> </li> <li> <p>Blue Palace, Crete &mdash; from 25,000 Starpoints per night</p> </li> <li> <p>Sheraton Rhodes Resort &mdash; from 10,000 Starpoints per night</p> </li> <li> <p>The Met Hotel, Thessaloniki &mdash; from 7,000 Starpoints per night</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>IHG Rewards:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Crowne Plaza Athens, City Center &mdash; from 25,000 points per night</p> </li> <li> <p>InterContinental Hotels Athenaeum Athens &mdash; from 35,000 points per night</p> </li> <li> <p>Holiday Inn Athens near the airport &mdash; from 20,000 points per night</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Marriott Rewards:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Domes of Elounda, Crete &mdash; from 40,000 points per night</p> </li> <li> <p>Domes Noruz Chania, Chania-Crete &mdash; 45,000 points per night</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Hilton Honors:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Hilton Athens &mdash; 50,000 points per night</p> </li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind that these are just some of the options available. There are additional hotels you can book with a co-branded hotel credit card or with a travel card that lets you transfer points to hotels.</p> <p>If you sign up for a credit card that offers a bank rewards program, you could book any hotel you want through the card's travel portal. During a November 2016 stay in Athens, I booked the 360 Degrees Hotel Athens for less than 9,000 credit card points per night. This hotel features a rooftop bar with a stellar view of the Acropolis nearby as well as a great location in Monastiraki Square. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program</a>)</p> <h2>Getting around in Greece</h2> <p>Finally, how will you actually get from place to place once you arrive in Greece? Your best is to sign up for a travel credit card that offers flexible travel credit and use points to earn statement credits against charges for rental cars and ferries to the islands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards With Easy Travel Redemption</a>)</p> <p>Cards that fall into this category typically let you redeem points for travel at a rate of one cent per point, making the average 50,000-point sign-up bonus worth $500.</p> <p>Use these points to pay for a rental car around Greece, which could cost as little as $140 for the week depending on when you book. Pro tip: Make sure you use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards card that offers primary auto rental coverage</a> so you can avoid paying extra for this benefit at the rental counter.</p> <p>You can also use statement credits to pay for ferries to the Greek Islands. A round-trip ferry from Athens to Heraklion costs just $47, while a round-trip ferry from Athens to Mykonos costs as little as $90. Make sure to compare ferry services to different destinations until you find the best deal for your dates.</p> <h2>Greece for less than $300?</h2> <p>If you cover your flights with airline miles, pay for hotels with hotel points and flexible travel points, and use flexible travel credit to cover the rest, the Greece trip of your dreams could be yours for $300 or less. Your main costs are going to be the price of airline taxes and fees, which you couldn't get out of if you tried.</p> <p>Still, you should make sure to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=internal" target="_blank">budget for the rest of your trip</a>. Even if the bulk of your journey is covered with points and miles, you'll still have to pay for food, entry to attractions, and miscellaneous expenses.</p> <p>Start saving and planning your rewards strategy now, and this trip could be yours in less time than you think.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-vacation-in-greece-for-300-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation">Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy">How to Avoid Airline Fees in Basic Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-hidden-costs-of-free-travel">Watch Out for These Hidden Costs of Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel family travel family vacation greece greek island greek vacation travel budget travel tips Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2133486 at http://www.wisebread.com Train vs. Plane Travel: Which Is Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_at_the_train_station.jpg" alt="Man at the train station" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For long-haul international travel, flying is usually the only way to go. But in Europe or within many countries, train travel is a viable alternative to flights. In many cases it&rsquo;s cheaper and more comfortable than flying, and sometimes it&rsquo;s even faster. Here's how to choose whether train or plane travel is right for you on your next trip.</p> <h2>Benefits of train travel</h2> <p>Here are a few ways you can really cash in on traveling by train.</p> <h3>Lower costs</h3> <p>One of the main benefits that train travel often has over flying is cost. In Japan, for instance, you can get a JR Pass good for a week of unlimited travel around the whole country for less than $300. Europe has a similar kind of system with its Interrail Global Pass. These kinds of passes can be cost effective if you're visiting various places in a short period of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a>)</p> <h3>Better views</h3> <p>Many train enthusiasts love the fact that you get to experience the country you're traveling in from a different perspective, and often get great views from the seats. Train lines tend to run along routes that would otherwise be difficult to visit, and some of the most iconic journeys go through the heart of stunning locations. Amtrak's Coast Starlight, for example, runs between Los Angeles and Seattle, providing dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains and long stretches of the Pacific Ocean. By air, you may get a glimpse of a city or mountain range when you take off or land, but generally, you'll be stuck with mostly clouds.</p> <h3>More luggage</h3> <p>Trains also allow passengers to transport more luggage, which when traveling heavy can make a real difference. For example, Amtrak allows each passenger to check two 50-lb bags and carry on two 50-lb bags as well as two 25-lb personal items &mdash; all for no added cost. Other train services throughout the world either don't have baggage allowances at all, or don't enforce them, meaning you're free to take as much as you'd like.</p> <p>In comparison, most airlines charge at least $25 for each checked bag on domestic flights, and limit you to one carry-on and one personal item. Many charge for carry-ons these days, too.</p> <h2>More comfort &mdash; usually</h2> <p>With airlines shrinking seat size and legroom to squeeze an ever-growing number of passengers onto planes, train travel can seem luxuriously comfortable. That&rsquo;s assuming that you actually get a seat. Depending on what level of ticket you buy and the route you&rsquo;re traveling, it may not be possible to get an assigned seat or even any seat at all. On Amtrak&rsquo;s bustling Northeast Corridor line, for instance, it&rsquo;s not unusual to have to stand for at least part of the ride in coach from New York to Washington, D.C.</p> <h2>Benefits of flying</h2> <p>Here are a few ways air travel beats the train.</p> <h3>More options for destinations</h3> <p>Air travel provides far more flexibility in terms of the locations you're able to get to. In many countries, rail routes are extremely limited, and can even be nonexistent. This may actually leave air travel as your only option in many instances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h3>Plane travel is slightly less deadly</h3> <p>Plane crashes tend to be catastrophic, and the nature of traveling at such high speeds at high altitudes means that when they do happen, the number of deaths is high. However, plane crashes are far more infrequent than many people would imagine, and a study by Northwestern University found that the number of deaths per passenger mile is actually lower on planes than on trains. While both modes of transport are considered extremely safe, and both far less risky than traveling by car, perhaps surprisingly, the risk of fatality is lower in planes than on trains.</p> <h3>Guaranteed seats</h3> <p>Planes have a fixed capacity, meaning you will always have a seat and not have to stand up on any journey, provided you don't get bumped. Trains, on the other hand, are busy and overpopulated in some countries and along certain routes at peak times. While your aircraft seat may be cramped, at least you&rsquo;ll have one. And on most airlines, you&rsquo;ll have an assigned seat so you won't be frantically scanning for a seat among hordes of commuters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-get-bumped-from-a-flight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You Get Bumped From a Flight</a>)</p> <h2>The differences in speed and travel time</h2> <p>Often it's assumed that because planes travel faster than trains, getting from point A to point B is automatically going to be quicker. However, this isn't always the case, and it's important to take into consideration the full journey time rather than just the ticket's stated journey duration.</p> <p>In the case of a flight, this includes the fact that you need to arrive at the airport at least one hour before takeoff &mdash; two hours for international flights. Then there's the time it takes to get to and from the airports. Airports, particularly ones that budget airlines use, tend to be out of city limits and in less convenient locations.</p> <p>Train stations, on the other hand, are routinely located in the heart of cities, which could knock a significant amount off your total travel time. It may make your ground transportation much cheaper and easier as well, especially if you&rsquo;re using municipal public transport.</p> <p>However, for distances of more than a few hundred miles, planes are still dramatically faster than trains. You may be able to get from Philadelphia to Boston in about the same travel time, but if you&rsquo;re traveling across a country or continent, train rides are for those who have more time than money, or who relish the romance and adventure of train travel.</p> <h2>What does the future hold?</h2> <p>The gap between rail and air travel appears to be narrowing, with many new high speed rail links in the planning stages across the world. This is particularly true in China, where there's a real focus on improving the rail infrastructure and creating better and quicker links between major cities.</p> <p>For some journeys across Japan, China, South Korea, and Europe on modern train lines using advanced technology, trains travel significantly faster than they used to. New designs in development look to push the boundaries of rail travel even further. Elon Musk&rsquo;s proposed Hyperloop promises speeds of over 700 mph. If this comes to fruition, train speeds could even surpass those of planes, opening a whole new world of travel possibilities.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-hidden-costs-of-free-travel">Watch Out for These Hidden Costs of Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-to-machu-picchu-and-back-for-30">How to Get to Machu Picchu and Back for $30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable travel frequent flyer miles plane travel train travel train trips travel budget travel tips Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:30:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 2133482 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/united_airlines_boeing_747_airplane.jpg" alt="United Airlines Boeing 747 airplane" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>United Airlines is one of the largest carriers in the world, and it actually has a pretty good frequent flyer program. United's MileagePlus program offers award flights on a wide variety of partner airlines, and it's one of the few frequent flyer programs remaining that doesn't slap fuel surcharges or &quot;carrier imposed&quot; charges on any of its award flights.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the MileagePlus program has still suffered through numerous devaluations. This term refers to changes to the program that have increased the price of many popular award flights, while reducing the number of available award seats offered at the lowest mileage levels. These devaluations occur with nearly all frequent flyer programs, making it harder to find the best ways to redeem your miles for the most value. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline's Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a>)</p> <h2>Have a MileagePlus credit card</h2> <p>One of the biggest problems with most frequent flyer programs, including United's, is that there's a scarcity of award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Thankfully, travelers with any of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">United MileagePlus credit cards</a> receive expanded access to Saver level award seats (the cheapest seats in terms of points required) in economy class on flights operated by United.</p> <p>This little trick often makes the difference between finding available awards at the Saver level and being asked to pay double the miles to book the same seat at the Standard award price. To ensure that you see the expanded Saver award space, be sure to log into your MileagePlus account before you search for award flights. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-miles-and-points-for-a-big-award-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Miles and Points for a Big Award Trip</a>)</p> <h2>Use the Excursionist Perk</h2> <p>The MileagePlus program used to offer one free stopover and two open jaws on award flights, but it no longer does. Instead, it replaced this feature with something unique that it calls the Excursionist Perk. This gives you a free one-way flight within a MileagePlus defined region when you book two or more one-way flights to and from that region.</p> <p>For example, if you book an award flight from San Francisco to Athens, and a return award flight from London to San Francisco, then you are entitled to a free, one-way flight within Europe. You could use that one-way flight to travel from Athens to London, or between any other two cities that United's program includes within its definition of Europe.</p> <h2>Look for short-haul economy Saver awards</h2> <p>It always seemed unfair that a very short award flight would cost the same amount of miles as a very long one within the same region. For example, a flight from Iceland to Cyprus would require as many miles as a short hop from Frankfurt to Munich.</p> <p>Now, United is offering reduced price international partner awards for nonstop flights of 800 miles or less. For example, a nonstop Lufthansa award from Frankfurt to Rome will cost only 8,000 miles. This gives you an affordable way to travel around a region using your miles.</p> <p>Within the United States, you can book Saver award flights of 700 miles or less for just 10,000 miles, rather than the usual 12,500 miles.</p> <h2>Find the sweet spots</h2> <p>Most frequent flyer programs offer a few sweet spots, which are routes that give you exceptional value for your miles. For example, Saver award flights within central and southern Africa are just 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles each way in business or first class. Furthermore, you can redeem your United MileagePlus miles with its partners South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, which both offer extensive service there.</p> <p>Another sweet spot are flights from North America to Central America. When you fly to Central America from anywhere in the mainland U.S., Alaska, or Canada, you pay only 17,500 miles each way for Saver awards in economy and 30,000 in first or business class.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles">How to Get More Value From Delta Air Lines SkyMiles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel frequent flyer miles mileageplus rewards and points travel rewards travel tips United Airlines Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:30:06 +0000 Jason Steele 2130212 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_in_hat_relaxing_on_beach.jpg" alt="Woman in hat relaxing on beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and for many people, that means summer vacations. If you haven't already booked your trip, now is a good time to do so. The longer you wait, the more money you'll typically have to spend.</p> <p>Thankfully, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">right travel credit card</a> can offer you rewards points or miles that can help you pay for your summer travel. But even with award bookings, it's important to plan early. Airlines often black out popular travel dates or make fewer award seats available during peak travel periods. You do have a few options, though. Here's how to get started with summer award travel booking.</p> <h2>Use the rewards you have</h2> <p>Look through all the rewards programs that you currently participate in and see if you have any points or miles that you can use for summer travel. This includes any frequent flyer miles, hotel points, or credit card rewards. Too often, people accumulate these rewards and then fail to use them. Furthermore, some rewards programs offer points and miles that expire when there is no account activity for a period of time, usually one to two years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a>)</p> <p>To better help you to use your existing rewards, consider combining them. For example, you could fly one airline to your destination using one kind of miles, and a different airline back home using your miles from another frequent flyer program. You can also have some people in your party use miles, and others pay with cash. In fact, you can select seats together, even if the travelers are booked on separate reservations.</p> <p>When it comes to using your rewards for free nights in hotels, there's no reason why you can't redeem your points for some nights, and pay cash for others. If you do this, you should price out each night to ensure that you are using your points for the most expensive nights, and paying the least amount of cash for the others. For example, on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I found that I was able to use my points during the week when there was large convention in town and the hotel was charging $300 a night. But on the weekend, the room rate was only $100. So, rather than use rewards for the less expensive weekend night, I paid with cash.</p> <h2>Get new rewards</h2> <p>One of the great things about travel rewards credit cards is how easy it is to get started. Most credit cards offer new applicants a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">generous sign-up bonus</a>, just to give their products a try. For example, a typical sign-up bonus for a frequent flyer mile card might be 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within three months of opening the account. That can be enough for two round-trip domestic flights in economy class.</p> <p>Once you've met the card's minimum spending requirements, you will typically receive your sign-up bonus within a day or two of the date that your statement cycle closes. You are then free to spend your rewards on your summer vacation.</p> <p>Just note that it's best to use rewards credit cards only if you avoid interest charges by paying your statement balances in full. Rewards credit cards usually have higher interest rates than similar cards that don't offer rewards, so if you need to carry a balance, you should use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low-interest credit card</a> that doesn't offer rewards.</p> <h2>Use credit cards that offer statement credits toward travel reservations</h2> <p>While airline frequent flyer programs usually offer the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value?ref=internal" target="_blank">best bang for your rewards buck</a>, sometimes you can't use your rewards miles because of the airline blackout dates and restrictions on award seats that we mentioned earlier. One way around that is to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points?ref=internal" target="_blank">flexible travel rewards credit card</a>. These are cards that offer reward points or miles that can be redeemed for statement credits against charges that are travel-related.</p> <p>You book travel the way you normally would &mdash; directly with the airline or hotel, or through a travel agent. Then, you have a certain amount of time, often 90 days, to redeem your points or miles for a statement credit that applies toward a specific travel charge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Airline Credit Cards Vs. Flexible Rewards Cards</a>)</p> <p>When you use one of these credit credit cards, it's even possible to book your travel before you have enough reward points in your account to cover the travel charge. Just remember that you may have to pay for your reservations, or incur interest charges, if you don't receive your miles during the same statement period that you booked your travel. On the other hand, when you book a hotel or rental car reservation that isn't prepaid, you only have to pay for it when you travel. This can give you additional time to earn the reward points or miles needed to pay for the trip.</p> <h2>Use a credit card that has its own rewards system and travel portal</h2> <p>Some travel cards offer their own proprietary rewards programs that allow you the choice of either transferring points to an airline or hotel program, or using the card's own travel reservation system to redeem points. The benefit of doing the latter is that, again, you can get around an airline's blackout dates and award restrictions. You may also get decent points valuations by using the card's booking portal &mdash; sometimes as high as 1.5 cents per point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-travel-program-for-the-best-rewards-redemption?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Travel Program for the Best Rewards Redemption</a>)</p> <p>If all of these options fail and you have to pay for your trip using real money, at least make sure you use a rewards credit card so you can earn points toward your next trip. Make sure you understand all the different ways you can earn points with different cards. For example, you might get double points for booking airline tickets with one card, but not another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Miles and Points</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel free travel frequent flyer miles rewards and points summer travel travel rewards travel tips Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Jason Steele 2131788 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money-Saving Items to Bring On Your Next Cruise http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-saving-items-to-bring-on-your-next-cruise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-saving-items-to-bring-on-your-next-cruise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_enjoying_the_sea_from_cruise_ship.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying the sea from cruise ship" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your goal is to have a fun vacation while sticking to a budget, cruising is a smart option to consider. Cruises offer lodging, food, and entertainment for a single price. And since you get to avoid the costs of trains or air travel in between destinations, cruising is one of the most affordable ways to visit multiple cities (and even countries) in a single trip. If you're lucky and can drive to your departure port instead of flying, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families?ref=internal" target="_blank">cruising can even be downright cheap</a>.</p> <p>There are plenty of ways to save even more on a cruise. For example, booze lovers can buy a drink package or look for cruises that offer drinks for free. Planning your own excursions can also help you save, since day trips are often cheaper when booked off the ship. Having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-cruises?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card that earns cruise rewards</a> can be a big money-saver, too, allowing you to earn hundreds of dollars worth of discounts on cruises. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-cruise-line-rewards-programs-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Cruise Line Rewards Programs Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>Then there are things you can bring with you to save money. But what can you bring and what <em>can't</em> you? We reached out to frequent cruisers and travel experts to find out.</p> <h2>1. Laundry detergent</h2> <p>If you're going on a long cruise, you might need more clean clothing than you want to pack. In this case, it can help to bring your own single samples of detergent for hand washing.</p> <p>&quot;Packing your own detergent helps to save money in two ways &mdash; it allows you to do laundry in your cabin bathroom without the need to pay to use onboard laundry services, and it also helps to cut down on the amount of clothing packed, to help save on any baggage fees for those flying to port,&quot; says Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of Cruise Critic, an online publication featuring advice and member cruise reviews.</p> <p>Also be sure to throw in some <a href="https://amzn.to/2uMv6UF" target="_blank">wrinkle release spray</a>, says Lori Sheller, vice president of cruise development at Tourico Holidays, a wholesale travel brokerage company. &quot;Most cruise lines have banned bringing travel irons on board for safety reasons, and on-ship prices for ironing are almost always exorbitant.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Beverages</h2> <p>Bill Hirsch, founder of the online publication CruiseHabit.com, says one of the best ways to save money is by bringing some of your own drinks &ndash; if you're allowed, that is.</p> <p>&quot;Most cruise lines don't permit you to bring a bunch of liquor on,&quot; says Hirsch. That said, most lines do still allow you to bring a little something. For example, Royal Caribbean allows two bottles of wine per stateroom, and Carnival similarly allows you to bring a bottle of wine per guest, says Hirsch.</p> <p>For those who prefer nonalcoholic beverages, many cruise lines will let you carry on soda, says certified travel agent and consultant Ta-Tanisha Thomas, of travel agency Officially Crowned Travel. For example, Carnival will allow each stateroom guest to carry on one 12-pack of soda cans. If you're sailing on a four-day cruise and have four people in your cabin, the 48 cans you can bring may get you through until you return home. Considering that you'll often pay more than $2 a can on the ship, that works out to about $80 in savings.</p> <h2>3. Your own snorkel gear</h2> <p>If you like to visit beachy destinations and are planning a cruise to warm-weather destinations, it's worth considering buying your own snorkel gear. Travel and lifestyle writer Crystal Henry says she and her husband always bring their own snorkel gear when they cruise. This allows them to avoid paying for snorkel gear rentals on their cruise stops. In fact, having their own gear allows them to skip pricey snorkel excursions altogether and just snorkel on their own from the shore. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Secrets to Saving Money on Your Next Cruise</a>)</p> <h2>4. Waterproof dry bag</h2> <p>Tanner Callais, founder of cruising blog Cruzely.com says one of his best money-saving tips is to bring along a <a href="https://amzn.to/2GY7zVG" target="_blank">waterproof bag</a>. These bags only cost about $20 on Amazon. They're made of thick vinyl and can be rolled at the top to make them watertight.</p> <p>Sure, they won't necessarily save you money on your cruise fare, but they can save you a fortune from ruining valuables due to water. &quot;You can pop your phone and wallet in a bag, carry it with you to the pool or beach, and not have to worry about getting that expensive phone wet,&quot; says Callais.</p> <h2>5. Sunscreen, medications, and sundries</h2> <p>Most people know to bring sunscreen when going on a cruise, but you might be surprised by how much you'll actually need if you're in the Caribbean for a week, notes Callais.</p> <p>&quot;The bottles on the ship or in port can be expensive &mdash; sometimes double the price of back home,&quot; says Callais. Instead of getting stuck overpaying, head to the local pharmacy before your trip and buy plenty of sunscreen to bring along.</p> <p>While you're at it, pick up your favorite hair products, especially conditioner. Cruise lines are notorious for not providing hair conditioner in cabins. Stock up on any medications you might need, too, including over-the-counter drugs. Medication for children is particularly scarce and pricey on cruise ships.</p> <p>Also bring batteries along if you have a camera that requires them. If you have to buy batteries on the ship or at port, you'll wind up paying more than you want.</p> <h2>6. Cash</h2> <p>You'll often find that you can pay for whatever you need at port with a good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit card</a>. But sometimes you'll need or want to use cash. Bringing cash for taxis and day trips will help you avoid pricey ATMs on the ship or at shore, says Hirsch. Ideally, you'll be able to estimate how much cash you'll need in different currencies for your cruise, then get it from your own bank with no fees required. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>Read your cruise line policy ahead of time</h2> <p>Ultimately, what you can and can't bring on a cruise to save money depends on your cruise line's policies and regulations. The best way to figure out what's allowed is to read through their policies thoroughly ahead of time and pack accordingly.</p> <p>Remember that anything you can bring along is something you won't have to buy later on. Cruising has long been considered an affordable travel option, but the price can be even sweeter if you plan ahead.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-saving-items-to-bring-on-your-next-cruise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-must-haves-to-pack-for-your-next-cruise">16 Must-Haves to Pack for Your Next Cruise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-10-red-flags-with-vacation-rentals">Watch Out for These 10 Red Flags With Vacation Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-places-to-travel-where-the-dollar-is-still-strong">8 Places to Travel Where the Dollar Is Still Strong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-essentials-every-business-traveler-needs-to-pack">11 Essentials Every Business Traveler Needs to Pack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cruise tips cruise vacation must-have items packing tips travel tips vacation tips Mon, 16 Apr 2018 08:30:06 +0000 Holly Johnson 2129965 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/booking_flight_travel_traveler_search_reservation_holiday_page.jpg" alt="Booking flight travel traveler search reservation holiday page" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earned a nice stash of points using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a>? Now comes the fun part. Or at least, it should be fun. You've got the potential to save thousands of dollars on airfare. But in reality, booking award travel can be a challenge.</p> <p>The airlines don't make it easy to search for available awards at the lowest mileage levels. Award searches on their websites are often slow, incomplete, and inaccurate, as they have little incentive to improve your chances of finding a free flight. And if you have points that transfer to miles with several different airlines, it can be difficult to search all of the possible options.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are third-party tools that can help you use your miles to reach your destination. Each provides functionality that's missing from the airlines' websites. First, we'll tell you about four tools, then we'll give you some tips for making award booking easier.</p> <h2>Expert Flyer</h2> <p><a href="https://www.expertflyer.com/" target="_blank">Expert Flyer</a> is a very powerful tool that can help you search award space across many different airlines. It's meant for travelers who want access to the data that the airlines conceal behind their clunky interfaces.</p> <p>You can set up a free account and get seat alerts that let you know when a particular type of seat is available on a flight for which you're already booked. This service can help if you're trying to move from a middle seat to a window or aisle on a full flight, but it doesn't go beyond that.</p> <p>Expert Flyer's real value comes with its pro subscriptions. For $4.99 per month, a basic subscription allows you 250 queries per month across 400 different airlines. You can search for award seats, upgrades, and revenue flights.</p> <p>The premium version is available for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year and includes unlimited searches, and flight availability alerts that notify you when award space becomes available. It will also allow you to search for flights during a six-day period and to save queries for repeated use. You'll get access to a mobile app, too.</p> <h2>Award Nexus</h2> <p><a href="https://awardnexus.com/" target="_blank">Award Nexus</a> specializes in finding business and first class seats, or awards with complex routings. A free account is available for members of the online forums Flyer Talk and Inside Flyer (previously Milepoint), but it offers limited access.</p> <p>For more extensive access, the website offers three memberships, including premium basic for $59, premium advanced for $129, and premium expert for $249. Each level buys you a certain number of points. Each point is worth one search on one airline website for one day in one class of service.</p> <p>The tool allows you to specify which airline websites or alliances you'd like to search. You can search up to plus or minus seven days from a specific flight date. And you can get notifications when award seats become available. The main advantage of Award Nexus over Expert Flyer is that it includes more airlines, such as Cathay Pacific, which isn't included in Expert Flyer.</p> <h2>KVS Tool</h2> <p>The interface for the <a href="http://www.kvstool.com/" target="_blank">KVS Tool website</a> and the downloadable program it provides is ugly, and using the tool involves a learning curve. But for the frequent traveler, it might be worth the trouble and cost.</p> <p>The tool allows you to search for seats across each of the major airline alliances, as well as some independent airlines. Or at least, that's what the platinum and diamond memberships do. The platinum membership has limited award search capability and starts at $15 for two months, while the diamond package starts at $20 for two months. It includes about double the airlines of the platinum subscription, as well as a 30-day award availability power search and access to the mobile companion app.</p> <p>The main benefit of the KVS Tool over some of the other tools listed here is that it allows very detailed, comprehensive searches.</p> <h2>Award Hacker</h2> <p>Do you have credit card or other points with a program that allows you to transfer your points to a frequent flyer program? If so, it can be very difficult to sort through all the possibilities to find the best award.</p> <p><a href="https://www.awardhacker.com/" target="_blank">Award Hacker</a> is a free website that can help by listing all of the available awards from dozens of different frequent flyer programs, and the rewards programs that you can transfer from. For example, you might be able to transfer your Starwood Preferred Guest points to JAL and book an award ticket on an American Airlines flight for fewer miles than if you had transferred the miles to American itself.</p> <p>However, this tool doesn't tell you if a flight will have award seats available, or if the airline will impose an expensive fuel surcharge. It will only tell you the least number of miles needed for an award, if available.</p> <h2>Tips for finding award space</h2> <p>Beyond the tools listed above, we've got a few other tips for finding award flights.</p> <h3>Try searching yourself</h3> <p>While you can pay to use a tool, you could first try to search certain airline websites yourself. The trick is to understand which websites can best find award seats on the airlines in a particular alliance. There are three major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oneworld.com/" target="_blank">Oneworld</a> includes 13 airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas. American's website will search most, but not all of these carriers, so you might want to use the British Airways or Qantas websites to find award flights on the airlines that don't appear at AA.com.</p> <p><a href="https://www.skyteam.com/en" target="_blank">SkyTeam</a> includes 20 airlines, such as Delta, Air France, and Korean Air. The easiest website to search for award seats is the Flying Blue website of Air France, KLM, and others.</p> <p><a href="http://www.staralliance.com" target="_blank">Star Alliance</a> includes 28 airlines, such as United, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. United's website allows you to search most of these carriers' award flights, but never shows seats on Singapore Airlines. To fill in that gap, try the website for Aeroplan (Air Canada), ANA, or the Singapore Airlines site itself.</p> <p>Once you find award seats available on one carrier in an alliance, you should be able to call any carrier in the alliance and use its miles to book that flight. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Be creative</h3> <p>There are ways to get around airline rules and limitations using creativity. For example, try searching not just from your home airport or to your preferred destination airport, but also to and from other airports within driving distance. You can even consider purchasing an inexpensive flight to an international gateway where you can find award seats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-maximize-your-airline-mileage-redemptions?ref=seealso" target="_blank">More Tips for Maximizing Airline Points and Miles</a>)</p> <p>Another trick is to use miles from one airline for your flight out, and another for your flight back. And if you are traveling with multiple people, there will be a lot more options if you're willing to &quot;split the team&quot; by taking separate flights, as it can be very difficult to find several award seats on the same itinerary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks for Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Get help</h3> <p>Even experienced award travelers can search for hours to find the right flights, and it can be nearly impossible for beginners to be successful at finding scarce award space. Instead of trying to do it themselves, many travelers prefer to use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights?ref=internal" target="_blank">award booking services</a>. For a fee, you can hire a true expert to do all this searching for you and come up with the best options. Fortunately, most award booking services will only charge you when they can find a flight that meets your needs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Tools%2520That%2520Help%2520You%2520Find%2520Free%2520Award%2520Flights.jpg&amp;description=4%20Tools%20That%20Help%20You%20Find%20Free%20Award%20Flights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Tools%20That%20Help%20You%20Find%20Free%20Award%20Flights.jpg" alt="4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles">How to Get More Value From Delta Air Lines SkyMiles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel award flights free flights frequent flyer miles travel miles travel rewards travel tips Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:30:06 +0000 Jason Steele 2129953 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Travel Must-Haves for Nursing Moms http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/close_up_of_baby_bottles_and_breast_pump.jpg" alt="Close up of baby bottles and breast pump" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Pumping on the go is hard enough when you're a nursing mom, but how do you keep up your milk supply when you have to travel for work or for an event and can't bring the baby along? These essentials will make traveling without your precious babe a whole lot easier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-skills-for-working-moms?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Life Skills for Working Moms</a>)</p> <h2>1. Milk delivery and/or storage system</h2> <p>If you don't want to worry about keeping your pumped milk fresh, try a milk delivery service like Milk Stork. Starting at $139, Milk Stork ships a 34 oz. cooler to your hotel and comes with a pre-labeled and postpaid package to allow your fresh milk to get back home quickly without spoiling.</p> <p>If you're traveling for work, your employer might be willing to pay for this service. If not, you might be able to write it off on your taxes, since it is considered a work-travel expense.</p> <p>If you don't use a milk shipping service, you will need to stay in a hotel room that has a fridge or freezer. The hotel might allow you to store your cooler of milk in their main freezer, but it's best to call ahead of time to see what they have available to accommodate new moms.</p> <h2>2. Cooler and ice packs</h2> <p>If you decide to store and transport your milk yourself, take an <a href="https://amzn.to/2He5Clw" target="_blank">airtight cooler</a> and plenty of <a href="https://amzn.to/2HbYrdz" target="_blank">gel ice packs</a>. If you're flying, this will count as a carry on, so plan accordingly. This is not an ideal method of transporting milk home if you will be traveling for more than five days. Breast milk is good for one day transported in a cooler with ice packs, in the fridge for up to five days, and in the freezer for several months.</p> <p>It's a good idea to smell your milk before use. If it smells sour, you need to dump it.</p> <h2>3. Automatic and manual breast pumps</h2> <p>An <a href="https://amzn.to/2GXKsdH" target="_blank">automatic breast pump</a> will allow you to pump quicker and more efficiently than the manual handheld versions. I also recommend bringing along a <a href="https://amzn.to/2qapuxX" target="_blank">manual pump</a> for when you need relief but can't use your automatic pump.</p> <h2>4. Milk storage bags</h2> <p>Use <a href="https://amzn.to/2JpyIz8" target="_blank">milk storage bags</a> instead of bottles to save room in your hotel fridge and cooler, and to make life a little simpler. These can be stored in the freezer, and are much easier to transport than clunky bottles.</p> <h2>5. Sterilization bags and wipes</h2> <p>Medela makes <a href="https://amzn.to/2GAok5O" target="_blank">quick clean wipes</a> and <a href="https://amzn.to/2q7cHvS" target="_blank">sterilization bags</a> to make cleaning your pump parts and bottles easy on the go. The wipes are great for cleaning your pump in the airport or at the office, while the sterilization bags can be used in the microwave and eliminates 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria on pump parts.</p> <h2>6. Extra batteries and adapters</h2> <p>It's a good idea to bring extra batteries for your automatic pump just in case it loses power in a moment when you really need it to work. Having a <a href="https://amzn.to/2H1nPoU" target="_blank">breast pump adapter</a> is also very helpful to have on hand.</p> <h2>7. A wet bag</h2> <p>A <a href="https://amzn.to/2Hc2bMe" target="_blank">wet/dry bag</a> is a great way to store pump parts after you are done using them. Wet bags are also extremely versatile, and new parents can use them as waterproof storage for dry cloth diapers or anything else that needs to be put away immediately before being cleaned.</p> <h2>8. Nursing Attire</h2> <p>Button down blouses are the perfect career-friendly nursing attire, since they look professional and are easy to discreetly pump in. Wear a hands-free pumping bra underneath so that you can pump and multi-task at the same time. Bring a <a href="https://amzn.to/2JoZ9EO" target="_blank">nursing cover</a> or fashionable wrap with you if you want more privacy when pumping on the plane or in the airport.</p> <h2>Employee rights and breast-feeding</h2> <p>If you are traveling for work, know your <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx" target="_blank">rights as a new mom</a> at work. Make sure to discuss travel accommodations and your work needs when you're on the road. For example, will your employer provide you with a hotel room that has a fridge or freezer or pay for the delivery of your milk back home? Will your working location have a private room you can pump in and store milk when you are away from your hotel room? How many breaks will you receive to pump? Inquire about all of these things beforehand.</p> <h2>Your travel rights</h2> <p>Whether you travel for work or for other reasons, it is also important to know your rights when it comes to TSA and flying. First of all, the <a href="https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/" target="_blank">FDA</a> considers the breast pump a medical device. Some airlines allow passengers to bring the pump on the plane and not count it toward the carry-on limit. However, other airlines might not be so generous. Know your airlines' guidelines and plan ahead so that you aren't stuck at the gate with more carry-ons then you are allowed.</p> <p>In regards to bringing breastmilk on board, <a href="https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children" target="_blank">TSA laws</a> are in your favor. Per the TSA, you aren't limited to the three-ounce liquid rule when it comes to breast milk, but you need to declare your milk and supplies. You are allowed to bring a cooler, breast milk, bottles, and ice packs on the plane. Ask the TSA agent to change their gloves before opening up your cooler to inspect the milk. They might swab the outside of the milk bags, but they will not open up the bags. Ask to talk with a supervisor if you have issues.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Travel%2520Must-Haves%2520for%2520Nursing%2520Moms.jpg&amp;description=8%20Travel%20Must-Haves%20for%20Nursing%20Moms"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Travel%20Must-Haves%20for%20Nursing%20Moms.jpg" alt="8 Travel Must-Haves for Nursing Moms" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce">How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Tips for Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-romantic-getaways-any-couple-can-afford">7 Romantic Getaways Any Couple Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible">Yes, Affordable Family Travel Is Possible</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel breast-feeding new moms newborn parenting tips travel must-haves travel tips working moms Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2129350 at http://www.wisebread.com This Airbnb Scam Will Ruin Your Vacation — and Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/this-airbnb-scam-will-ruin-your-vacation-and-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-airbnb-scam-will-ruin-your-vacation-and-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/searching_for_accomodation.jpg" alt="Searching for accomodation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I came close to falling for an Airbnb scam in which I would've lost $3,300 on an apartment booking in Lisbon. Fortunately, I realized something wasn't quite right and backed out at the last minute, but there are many people who haven't been as lucky. After a bit of research, I came across dozens of travelers who have fallen for it &mdash; one who even lost $30,000 attempting to book a luxury villa for six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a>)</p> <p>Here's how this particular scam works, and what you should always look for when booking through Airbnb.</p> <h2>The scam</h2> <p>There are numerous ways this scam can occur, but they all start when you begin communicating with the host about a property that seems like a great deal. Perhaps you send them a question via Airbnb, and they ask you to email them instead, as it will be easier or more convenient. Or maybe you've found a property on a different site like Craigslist and you begin with an email conversation. Either way, once you take the communication off the Airbnb messenger, they will begin to hook you in by being helpful and friendly.</p> <p>They will answer any queries you may have and tell you a convincing story as to why their property is slightly below market value. Once you reach the stage of being ready to book, they will send you a link to the Airbnb listing asking you to complete the booking through the site as it offers protections for both of you. So far so good, right?</p> <p>When you click the link, you'll be taken to a site that looks and feels like Airbnb, and for all intents and purposes seems totally legit. You'll be able to read reviews of the property and enter the dates that you want to book it for, and even the URL will look genuine. You'll then complete the next stage of entering your dates and making a payment to secure the booking. But if you do, you will immediately lose all of the money.</p> <p>As a seasoned world traveler, there are subtle differences that I picked up on before paying the $3,000 dollars to secure the property I was interested in, but that many other people might miss. The first red flag was that the property's full address was listed on the property page, but Airbnb only shows the exact address once you've booked and paid. Then I noticed a live chat function at the bottom of the page that I used, but I&rsquo;m familiar enough with Airbnb that I know it doesn't offer a live chat function. This was clearly not the real Airbnb site.</p> <p>The best way to avoid falling for this ruthless scam is to always make sure you book directly through Airbnb, either through their secure app, or by manually entering the URL directly into your browser.</p> <h2>Other common Airbnb scams</h2> <p>Here are some other common Airbnb scams to watch out for.</p> <h3>Advance fee scam</h3> <p>This is where someone will offer to give you a discount or something else in return for paying in advance and not using the Airbnb payment method. They'll probably justify it by claiming you'll both save on fees and they'll pass part of that savings on to you. While it may sound great, you'll more than likely lose that money and the payment will be untraceable.</p> <h3>Phishing scam</h3> <p>You'll be sent an email that looks as though it's from Airbnb, asking you to click on a link and enter some personal details such as passwords or payment methods. Scammers will then potentially use this information to gain access to your other accounts. Phishing emails can also contain malware that can harm your computer and also be used to record things like passwords to sites you frequent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a>)</p> <h3>Wire transfer deposit</h3> <p>You'll be offered a fantastic savings on your booking for paying the deposit using a wire transfer service rather than the Airbnb payment process. Once that payment is received, the property will be taken down and you won't receive your money back.</p> <h2>Golden rules for booking Airbnb properties</h2> <p>In order to remove any potential for being scammed on Airbnb, follow these safety rules every time you book.</p> <h3>Keep all communication on the site</h3> <p>Never communicate with hosts outside of the Airbnb messaging portal. If they email you or send you a private number to contact them, this should set alarm bells ringing immediately. If they insist on not messaging through Airbnb, cease contact and report them to Airbnb.</p> <h3>Read all the reviews</h3> <p>Check the reviews carefully and look out for patterns of cancellations or lots of undetailed, poorly worded reviews.</p> <h3>Pay on Airbnb only</h3> <p>Always make payments through Airbnb and never respond to any requests to transfer money via bank transfer, credit card, or anything else. Paying outside of Airbnb will make it more difficult to trace the payment or prove that it was acquired fraudulently.</p> <h3>Look closely at the URL</h3> <p>Double check that you are definitely on the official Airbnb site when you're completing your booking. The best way to do this is to type the site name directly into your browser.</p> <h3>Don't trust cheap listings</h3> <p>Don't trust properties that are advertised at way below market value. While you can find great deals on Airbnb, unfortunately, if it seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. Hosts want their listings to be competitive and priced similarly to other properties in the area. If a property is listed cheaper than it should be and there's not a clear reason why, it's best to avoid the risk and move on.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthis-airbnb-scam-will-ruin-your-vacation-and-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThis%2520Airbnb%2520Scam%2520Will%2520Ruin%2520Your%2520Vacation%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520and%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=This%20Airbnb%20Scam%20Will%20Ruin%20Your%20Vacation%20%E2%80%94%20and%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/This%20Airbnb%20Scam%20Will%20Ruin%20Your%20Vacation%20%E2%80%94%20and%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="This Airbnb Scam Will Ruin Your Vacation &mdash; and Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-airbnb-scam-will-ruin-your-vacation-and-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-hotel-room-has-bedbugs-now-what">Your Hotel Room Has Bedbugs. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-10-red-flags-with-vacation-rentals">Watch Out for These 10 Red Flags With Vacation Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stay-secure-in-your-hotel-with-this-8-point-safety-check">Stay Secure in Your Hotel With This 8-Point Safety Check</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-of-the-safest-countries-to-visit-in-2018">5 of the Safest Countries to Visit in 2018</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Travel accommodations AirBnb airbnb scam airbnb tips booking an airbnb scams travel tips Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:30:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 2128969 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 First Class Airlines That Are Dripping With Luxury http://www.wisebread.com/3-first-class-airlines-that-are-dripping-with-luxury <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-first-class-airlines-that-are-dripping-with-luxury" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_in_private_jet_airplane.jpg" alt="Woman in private jet airplane" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all crave a little luxury when we travel, and flying first class is a great way to turn what could be a draining journey into a pleasurable experience. Comfortable lounges, space to move around and stretch your legs, and free-flowing champagne can certainly make your travels more enjoyable.</p> <p>Occasionally, airlines offer incredible deals that make first class seats nearly as affordable as economy. But most of the time, first class seats are extremely costly, and beyond what most of us could ever afford for a plane ticket. Unless you win the lottery, or score a massive inheritance, a private apartment on a flight overseas is not a wise purchase to make. But we can all dream, can't we? Besides, it's always fascinating to see how the other half lives (or the 1 percent, rather), and the level of luxury you could be surrounded in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-airlines-with-the-cheapest-first-class-seats?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Airlines With the Cheapest First Class Seats</a>)</p> <p>To get an idea of just how luxurious first class can be, we turned to the annual World Airline Awards, which hands out accolades each year to airlines ranked favorites by passengers. The following three airlines were voted the overall best for 2017, and set the standard for first class comfort.</p> <h2>Etihad Airways</h2> <p>Since being established in 2003 in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways has won numerous awards for its service, and it&rsquo;s been consistently recognized as having excellent first class perks. In the 2017 World Airline Awards, it took first place overall. Booking first class in Etihad doesn&rsquo;t just get you a seat, but a whole room. For instance, the First Suite product, available on the airline&rsquo;s B787 planes, walls you off into a room with a leather seat that can be transformed into a fully flat bed. Each suite also contains a personal wardrobe and your own refreshments cabinet.</p> <p>Etihad's First Apartment option, available on its A380 planes, goes even further. The 39 square foot cabins feature both a leather armchair and a separate bed. You also have access to an onboard shower so you can make sure you're feeling fresh before you disembark.</p> <p>Meals are prepared by an inflight chef who will cook up something unique at your request if nothing on the menu tickles your fancy. Entertainment includes TV shows and movies available on demand via your own flat screen monitor. You'll also have access to a lobby area where you can relax and interact with other flyers while enjoying a drink and watching a game.</p> <h2>Emirates</h2> <p>Emirates is another U.A.E airline, but it&rsquo;s based out of Dubai. It took second place in the World Airline Awards for 2017, and won in the Best First Class Comfort Amenities category. This rates details like the quality of bedding and little extras such as the provision of hot and cold towels.</p> <p>The quality of amenity kits is also considered in this category, and Emirates doesn&rsquo;t disappoint.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/1.jpg" width="605" height="412" alt="" /></p> <p>Its amenity kits are designer bags provided by Bulgari and packed full of indulgent skin care products and fragrances.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/2_0.jpg" width="605" height="403" alt="" /></p> <p>You'll also get a set of moisturizing pajamas, slippers, and an eye mask to help you get a restful sleep.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/3.jpg" width="605" height="403" alt="" /></p> <p>Private suites come with sliding doors, your own mini bar, a personal entertainment screen, and a seat that converts into a fully flat bed. Dining includes gourmet meals that can be ordered at any time from an a la carte menu, as well as nibbles and drinks you can enjoy with fellow travelers in a lounge. You can then freshen up and pamper yourself in the onboard shower spa before enjoying a special detoxifying fresh juice to get you ready for landing.</p> <h2>Lufthansa</h2> <p>As the only airline on this list that&rsquo;s part of a major international partnership (Star Alliance, the same partnership that includes United Airlines), Lufthansa may be the most accessible option for American travelers wanting to use frequent flyer points to book a first class seat. Lufthansa scored most highly at the 2017 World Airline Awards for categories related to its lounges and catering, taking the top spot in the Best First Class Lounge Dining segment and capturing third spot overall.</p> <p>Lufthansa claims that its first class meals are prepared by world class chefs and accompanied by a selection of fine wines chosen by a world champion sommelier. All meals in first class are served on china, and there's even a special caviar course.</p> <p>Unlike the other two airlines on the list, Lufthansa does not have suites. However, the seats are still designed to be transformed into comfortable 6 foot, 6 inch beds. Lufthansa's First Class lounges are consistently rated as some of the best in the world, meaning you'll travel in comfort and style from beginning to end of your journey. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-frequent-flyer-programs-with-free-first-class-seat-upgrades?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Frequent Flyer Programs with Free First Class Seat Upgrades</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F3-first-class-airlines-that-are-dripping-with-luxury&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F3%2520First%2520Class%2520Airlines%2520That%2520Are%2520Dripping%2520With%2520Luxury.jpg&amp;description=3%20First%20Class%20Airlines%20That%20Are%20Dripping%20With%20Luxury"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/3%20First%20Class%20Airlines%20That%20Are%20Dripping%20With%20Luxury.jpg" alt="3 First Class Airlines That Are Dripping With Luxury" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-first-class-airlines-that-are-dripping-with-luxury">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-should-always-carry-on-an-economy-flight">9 Things You Should Always Carry on an Economy Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-british-airways-points-on-us-flights">How to Use British Airways Points on U.S. Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-cash-in-on-getting-bumped-from-a-flight">How to Cash In On Getting Bumped From a Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-perks-you-should-ask-for-on-your-next-flight">7 Free Perks You Should Ask for on Your Next Flight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel first class flight booking flight tips fly first class travel tips Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 2128972 at http://www.wisebread.com Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hawaiian_hula_dancer_on_beach.jpg" alt="Hawaiian Hula Dancer on Beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you like to escape to the Hawaiian islands for a vacation this year? Well, who wouldn't? Tropical breezes, mai tais, snorkeling, waterfalls &hellip; once you start thinking about it, you're probably ready to pack up and go right now.</p> <p>Except for that whole money thing. A 10-day vacation in Hawaii would cost around $5,000, for a typical trip for two. And you don't have it.</p> <p>Well, mark your calendar for departure one year from today. Here's a 12-month savings road map that will make that Hawaiian vacation a reality. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-the-most-during-a-hawaii-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save During a Hawaii Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>The breakdown</h2> <p>There is practically no upper limit on what you could spend on a vacation, but by my research, you could have a nice trip for two to the islands spending $1,300 for airfare, $2,100 for lodging, $1,000 for food, and $600 for a rental car and gas. That's $5,000.</p> <h2>How to save $5,000 in one year</h2> <p>Here are some low-hanging fruit ideas for cutting $5,000 from your spending this year. You don't even have to do all of them! Pick about five of these cutbacks to get your savings total up to $5,000.</p> <h3>1. Get a better phone plan: $600</h3> <p>You may be paying up to $100 a month on for an &quot;unlimited&quot; data plan &mdash; $1,200 a year. But that's not necessary.</p> <p>The first thing you should do is log into your account and see how much data you're actually using. If you're only using two gigabytes of data each month &mdash; or if you could learn to reduce your data usage by taking advantage of Wi-Fi networks &mdash; you could switch to a Boost Mobile plan that charges $35 for three gigs, or try Ting, which charges by usage. Ting claims its average customer pays just $23 a month.</p> <p>Even if you need unlimited data, there are budget providers out there that offer coverage pretty similar to the big brands. Boost's unlimited talk and data plan is only $50.</p> <h3>2. Drop the TV plan: $388</h3> <p>The average cable TV package, with about 239 channels, has an introductory price of $72.62 per month, according to CableTV.com. But once your promotional period is over and you add specialty channels, you could be paying close to $200 a month.</p> <p>What would you miss if you replaced cable with a $20 <a href="https://amzn.to/2IbiLLk" target="_blank">digital antenna</a> and a Netflix plan ($7.99 to $13.99 per month)?</p> <p>Many families find they wouldn't miss much. Sports fanatics are an exception, and whether you can use a workaround depends on your level of involvement. You can get a package from streaming service Sling that includes the NFL Network, ESPN, and Fox Sports 1 for just $35 a month. I get my baseball fix by paying $19.99 a year for the At Bat app, which allows me to listen to streaming radio broadcasts. My husband watches his NFL team after the Sunday games are over, using NFL Game Pass, at $49.99 a year.</p> <p>If you replace a $73 cable subscription with a $14 Netflix subscription and a $25 Sling subscription, you'll get much of the same programming for $39 a month.</p> <h3>3. Brown bag it: $1,500</h3> <p>Eating out for lunch every workday at a fast casual restaurant runs at least $10 per person, which is $50 a week, or $2,500 a year.</p> <p>Won't you feel sad when your co-workers head out for lunch and you're stuck eating at your desk? Not if you put in a little effort to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids?ref=internal" target="_blank">pack delicious lunches</a>. One really easy way to pack a lunch is to simply package leftovers from dinner as you clean up. But even if you punt on planning and bring yourself pre-made salads, gourmet frozen burritos, or a can of soup, you'll still be saving time and money over restaurant meals.</p> <p>Be generous and budget $4 per packed lunch, and you're still only at $20 a week, a $30 savings over eating out. It's also a good idea to get out of the office to eat. If the weather's good, invite co-workers to a picnic in the park.</p> <h3>4. Quit the gym: $700</h3> <p>Two-thirds of people with gym memberships never go to the gym, according to Statistic Brain. Two! Thirds!</p> <p>The average cost of a gym membership is $58. If you're one of those people who is paying for the luxury of <em>planning</em> to go to the gym, definitely quit this minute. If you actually use your gym, consider whether you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free?ref=internal" target="_blank">work out at home</a> or in the neighborhood for free. There are an awful lot of fitness classes on YouTube nowadays.</p> <h3>5. Drink tap water: $1,000</h3> <p>Let's say you consume three bottled beverages a day, whether that's cans of soda, bottles of water, or flavored iced tea. Quenching your thirst is costing at least $3 a day, or $1,095 a year.</p> <p>Instead, spend $30 a year on Brita filters to make sure your home or office water is delicious, $20 on a nice reusable water bottle, and you'll never be thirsty, even when on the go. You'll even be able to pat yourself on the back for being nicer to the earth.</p> <h3>6. Change your coffee habit: $600</h3> <p>We're all sick of hearing about how spending $5 on lattés every day is ruining our financial futures. And maybe you were only spending $3 a day at the coffee shop anyway. But if you're spending that much every weekday, that still comes out to $780 a year.</p> <p>Here's a little secret: With a small upfront investment, you can make coffee at home or in your office that tastes better than most of the flat whites you've been buying. Try using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee?ref=internal" target="_blank">French press</a>, a simple pour-over, or, my favorite, an <a href="https://amzn.to/2GBYcuC" target="_blank">Aeropress</a>.</p> <p>You can make great coffee at home for 60 cents a cup, factoring in the cost of quality beans and even the electricity and water you use. If you'd rather use a single-serving machine, those prepackaged cups cost about 70 cents to $1 apiece &mdash; still a significant savings over $2 to $3 for a brewed coffee at a shop.</p> <p>As for foam, this year I invested in a fancy milk frother for about $80. And I'm still hundreds of dollars ahead.</p> <h3>7. Cut back on carousing: $2,000</h3> <p>I found the ultimate buzzkill online: the <a href="https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Calculators/alcohol-spending-calculator.aspx" target="_blank">Alcohol Spending Calculator</a>. Punch in the number of times you go out per week, the number of drinks you have, and the average cost of a drink, and it'll tell you how much you're pouring down the drain each year.</p> <p>For instance, going out three times a week, having three drinks each time, at an average cost of $10 per drink, and you're looking at $4,680 per year.</p> <p>I'm not a total party pooper, so instead of banning booze, I'll suggest you cut back to one night out per week, find ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on?ref=internal" target="_blank">save money at bars</a>, plus have a rotating night in with friends once per week, for an average weekly booze bill of $50, or $2,600 per year.</p> <h3>8. Do your own nails: $1,000</h3> <p>The average woman who gets her nails done every two weeks spends over <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-wont-believe-how-much-the-average-person-spends-on-salon-visits-each-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">$1,200 a year on those mani/pedis</a>. Fortunately, you can learn to do a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-yourself-a-manicure-at-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">professional-looking manicure at home</a> with just a few tools. Even if you splurge and spend $200 a year on manicure tools and polish, you're saving big.</p> <h2>Or do this one thing</h2> <p>Do you smoke? If so, do we have a deal for you! You don't have to quit cable, bars, Starbucks, or the nail salon. You can simply ...</p> <h3>9. Stop smoking: $5,000</h3> <p>Cigarettes cost between $5 and $14 a pack, depending on how much your state tacks on in taxes. The <a href="https://www.quitnow.ca/quitting/calculate-my-savings" target="_blank">Quit Now calculator</a> can show you how much you would save if you stopped smoking, based on how many cigarettes you smoke a day and your local price. Giving up a pack-a-day habit in one of the more expensive states could save you $5,000 in a year, with just that <em>one</em> change. (If you quit smoking in addition to the money-saving ideas above, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking?ref=internal" target="_blank">invest the savings</a> and you'll bankroll annual vacations for years to come.)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCut%2520These%25209%2520Expenses%2520in%2520One%2520Year%2520to%2520Get%2520a%252010-Day%2520Hawaii%2520Vacation.jpg&amp;description=Cut%20These%209%20Expenses%20in%20One%20Year%20to%20Get%20a%2010-Day%20Hawaii%20Vacation"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cut%20These%209%20Expenses%20in%20One%20Year%20to%20Get%20a%2010-Day%20Hawaii%20Vacation.jpg" alt="Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy">How to Avoid Airline Fees in Basic Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-hidden-costs-of-free-travel">Watch Out for These Hidden Costs of Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel cutting expenses hawaii hawaii vacation saving money travel budget travel tips tropical vacation Tue, 10 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2127514 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get More Value From Delta Air Lines SkyMiles http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/delta_airlines_boeing_777.jpg" alt="Delta Air Lines Boeing 777" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Among the three major legacy airlines in the United States, Delta has a reputation for reliable operations and quality of service. However, its SkyMiles frequent flyer program is frequently derided for the large number of miles it requires for award flights, and for its lack of transparency.</p> <p>In fact, Delta is the only major airline that doesn't publish an award chart, so you never know in advance how much your miles are supposed to be worth. Nevertheless, it's still possible to get some decent value from your Delta SkyMiles.</p> <h2>1. Wait for a sale</h2> <p>While Delta awards usually cost more miles than similar awards from other airlines, the carrier occasionally has sales where you can redeem fewer miles for an award. For example, Delta offered round-trip flights for as little as 11,000 miles during an award sale in November 2017. Other sales have offered flights to Alaska or Hawaii from 20,000 SkyMiles round-trip from the continental U.S., and flights to Asia from 65,000 SkyMiles round-trip.</p> <h2>2. Look for partner awards</h2> <p>One of the strengths of the Delta SkyMiles program is the vast number of airline partners it has. Booking partner awards can be a great use of miles for short flights within another country or region. The award availability for these partners can be great, and the prices are much less likely to be exorbitant compared to awards on Delta's own flights.</p> <p>Delta is part of the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes 20 airlines, such as Air France, KLM, Aeromexico, Korean Air, and China Airlines. Other non-alliance partners include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Brazil's GOL, and Air Tahiti Nui. Thankfully, you can use your miles to book flights online for most of these partner carriers.</p> <p>The exceptions are Air Europa, Kenya Airways, and Air Tahiti Nui. To book awards that contain flights on one of these airlines, you have to call Delta.</p> <h2>3. Consider booking business class awards on partner airlines</h2> <p>In general, you'll find more value in international business class awards than you will with economy class. This is because airlines can charge several times more dollars for business class tickets, but most will rarely charge more than twice the number of miles for business class awards.</p> <p>However, Delta is an exception. It often charges outrageous amounts for business class awards on the flights it operates. The way around this is to look for partner awards in business class.</p> <h2>4. Use Delta's flexible search options</h2> <p>Despite the lack of an award chart, Delta's award flight search feature is among the best out there. By default, when you search for an award flight, you get a matrix of award prices for the three days immediately before and after the departure and return dates you input. If you have a more flexible schedule, you may also want to try their &quot;5 Weeks&quot; search, which returns award flight prices for departures within a five-week search period.</p> <h2>5. Consider the Pay with Miles option</h2> <p>For travelers who have certain <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-delta-skymiles-credit-card-has-the-best-value?ref=internal" target="_blank">Delta credit cards</a>, Delta allows you to redeem your miles for one cent each toward an airfare. This can be a good option when the price of a ticket is very low, but you'd rather spend your miles than cash. To use the <a href="https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/airline-credit-cards/pay-with-miles.html" target="_blank">Pay with Miles</a> option, you must have an eligible Delta credit card, and have banked at least 5,000 miles for each passenger that you want to book.</p> <p>If you've met those requirements, search for flights in dollars, and then select a result marked as eligible for Pay with Miles. You can pay for your reservation with miles, money, or a combination of both. This is a great way to use a small amount of remaining miles, or to liquidate your balance if you're done with the SkyMiles program altogether. Just note that you'll usually get less value from your points if you use this option to book first or business class flights than you would if you book an economy class seat.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520More%2520Value%2520From%2520Delta%2520Air%2520Lines%2520SkyMiles.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20More%20Value%20From%20Delta%20Air%20Lines%20SkyMiles"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20More%20Value%20From%20Delta%20Air%20Lines%20SkyMiles.jpg" alt="How to Get More Value From Delta Air Lines SkyMiles" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you">Train vs. Plane Travel: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Delta delta skymiles flying delta frequent flyer miles miles and points travel miles travel tips Mon, 09 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2128880 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Sign Up for Airline Rewards Even If You Don't Travel Much http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/she_is_a_self_starter.jpg" alt="She is a self-starter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've got a busy job that never sends you on trips. Or you're terrified of flying. Or you have small kids whom you dread dragging onto an airplane. Sign up for some frequent flyer accounts anyway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Why bother if you're not going to be earning miles by buying airplane tickets? Because there are a lot of ways you can accumulate miles besides flying. Once you have all those miles, you can save up for a dream trip or one amazing vacation per year. And if you truly plan to never fly, you can even spend your miles on stuff other than flights.</p> <h2>How to earn miles without flying</h2> <p>My friends say they can't understand how I travel for free through frequent flyer miles, when they have never flown enough times to earn a single free flight. My answer is that I haven't bought enough plane tickets to earn free flights either. I earn the bulk of my miles right here on the ground. There are so many ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn frequent flyer miles without flying</a>.</p> <h3>Credit cards</h3> <p>The fastest and easiest way to accumulate frequent flyer miles is by getting a new credit card. Just today, I signed up for a card that will pay me 40,000 miles after my first purchase of any amount. Typically, a new card will pay a similar or larger bonus after you meet a required minimum spend in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.</p> <p>These cards will also pay you one or more mile per dollar you spend. If you are responsible for running a household of multiple people, like I am, you may find it easy to accumulate 3,000 or more miles per month paying for things such as groceries, kids' day care or activities, gas, etc. Even without the sign-up bonus, that would amount to more than 30,000 miles per year &mdash; enough for a round-trip domestic flight on most airlines or a one-way ticket to Europe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <p>By combining bonuses and points for my monthly spend, I've been able to get my whole family to Australia and back, among other trips &mdash; with few of those points coming from actual flights.</p> <h3>Online shopping</h3> <p>You may find it more rewarding to use an airline shopping portal than a rebate site, such as eBates, when making online purchases. During the past two years, I earned about 5,000 miles each year through online purchases, and I am not a big shopper.</p> <h3>Other partner purchases</h3> <p>Rental cars and hotel stays are also good ways to accumulate frequent flyer miles without flying. Don't forget to put down your frequent flyer number at check-in.</p> <p>Also, you can often get a mileage bonus for switching cable companies or signing up for a new phone plan. I currently get just over 400 miles after I pay my bill every month, which will net me another 5,000 miles this year.</p> <p>Finally, don't forget to register all your credit cards with airline dining programs, so that you can get miles for eating out at participating restaurants without even thinking about it.</p> <h2>What to do with the miles</h2> <p>The best value for miles is generally flying &mdash; especially international flights in business or first class. So if you don't travel much, but you would like to take a trip one of these days, saving up for a really great one is a smart move. Don't worry too much about the miles expiring, because most programs <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=internal" target="_blank">push the expiration date back</a> every time you make a transaction, including earning more miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a>)</p> <p>If you abhor flying and never plan to redeem your miles by taking a flight, you're probably better off choosing a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back credit card</a> as your main card. But that doesn't mean you have to pass when the only rewards offered for signing up for a new service or making a transaction are miles. There are lots of ways to spend those miles other than flying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <h3>1. Book travel that doesn't involve an airplane</h3> <p>On <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11373616" target="_blank">Points.com</a>, you can transfer miles from some frequent flyer programs into an Amtrak account. Just note the exchange rate. For instance, if you want to convert Hawaiian Air miles to Amtrak, you will end up with only one Amtrak point for every five Hawaiian points you cash in.</p> <p>You can book a car/hotel package, including activities, with miles on American Airlines Vacations, or pay for a cruise with miles through United.</p> <h3>2. Subscribe to a magazine</h3> <p>If you are the kind of person who still likes having paper magazines on your coffee table, the site MagsforMiles.com can be an affordable way to subscribe. For example, to get a year of my favorite, Sunset, would cost me only 600 Hawaiian Air miles. Since these miles are worth about 1.2 cents each, that's a year of the magazine for about $7, which is not a bad price, especially if you're looking to spend a few &quot;pocket change&quot; miles that will never amount to a larger transaction.</p> <h3>3. Go shopping</h3> <p>Delta allows members to <a href="https://marketplace.delta.com/" target="_blank">exchange miles for retail items</a> such as Tumi bags as well as vouchers for the $100 Global Entry fee, or even gift cards for the airline. United allows you to redeem miles for <a href="https://partner.audiencerewards.com/mileageplus/index.cfm" target="_blank">tickets to Broadway shows</a>, among other things.</p> <h3>4. Get gift cards</h3> <p>Points.com will exchange many kinds of airline miles for gift cards, which could be helpful if you need to get a birthday gift for someone and are short on cash. The individual airline sites may also have information about trading miles for gift cards. However, be sure to check the rates and make sure you're not throwing away large amounts of miles for small value cards.</p> <h3>5. Donate to charity</h3> <p>Each airline has its own list of charities to which you can donate miles. If you were going to give cash anyway, this can be an efficient way to get the miles off your hands while helping the organization. The only drawback is that, unlike a cash gift, a miles donation is not tax deductible.</p> <h3>6. Send a loved one on a flight</h3> <p>Many airlines will charge you a fee to transfer your miles to another person, but there's a way around that: You can use your miles to book a flight for someone else just as you would book it for yourself. So even if you plan to never set foot onboard a plane, you can send your niece on a graduation trip or pay for your mom to come visit you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Should%2520Sign%2520Up%2520for%2520Airline%2520Rewards%2520Even%2520If%2520You%2520Don%2527t%2520Travel%2520Much.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Should%20Sign%20Up%20for%20Airline%20Rewards%20Even%20If%20You%20Don't%20Travel%20Much"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Should%20Sign%20Up%20for%20Airline%20Rewards%20Even%20If%20You%20Don%27t%20Travel%20Much.jpg" alt="Why You Should Sign Up for Airline Rewards Even If You Don't Travel Much" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-airline-miles-while-you-shop">How to Earn Airline Miles While You Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-understanding-airline-flight-routes-can-score-you-better-rewards">How Understanding Airline Flight Routes Can Score You Better Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel airline miles airline rewards rewards points shopping tips travel miles travel tips Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2127517 at http://www.wisebread.com How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_traveler_doing_selfie_in_the_international_airport.jpg" alt="Young traveler doing selfie in the international airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Racking up airline points by flying or using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> is fairly easy, but redeeming them for award flights can be more challenging. It can be hard to find available award seats using the airline's search functions, and it takes time to pore over multiple partner airlines' websites and consider different routing options.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are services that can help you get the most value out of your reward points and miles. For a fee, you can hire a professional award booker to find and book your award, saving you not only time, but sometimes points worth hundreds of dollars.</p> <h2>The challenges of award booking</h2> <p>When you have reward points or miles with a single airline, at first it might seem like a straightforward process to redeem those miles for an award flight. When in fact, it can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming. First, you might try to use the airline's website. However, these websites may not show most of the airline's partner award flights.</p> <p>For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage program only allows you to redeem miles online for flights on American and seven of its partners. That leaves over a dozen other airline partners that you can only call to book, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, and Etihad Airways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a>)</p> <p>But even if the airline claims to show all partner awards, its website might not actually display what you are looking for. For example, some airlines will only show itineraries with a certain number of connections. If your itinerary requires you to make more connections than the website will display, then you will be unable to book your award online.</p> <p>And if you do call the airline to get help with award booking, you will often reach indifferent customer service agents who may have little training and even less incentive to spend time on the phone helping you redeem your points and miles.</p> <p>This task becomes exponentially more complex when you're trying to redeem reward points in a flexible program that allows transfers to multiple airline partners. For example, one credit card rewards program lets you transfer your points to miles with nine different airline programs, while another has 16 different transfer partners. The Starwood Preferred Guest program has over 30 airline transfer partners. When you consider that each one of these frequent flyer programs can have over a dozen redemption partners, the award travel possibilities are overwhelming.</p> <p>Finally, booking an award flight can be extremely time consuming. I've been seriously collecting points and miles for more than 10 years, and have redeemed my miles for dozens of award flights for myself, my family, and my friends. I've also researched and written hundreds of articles on credit card rewards and award travel.</p> <p>And yet when I have to book an award, I can spend hours searching various websites, piecing flights together, and calling the airlines to book them. If it takes someone like me that long to book an award flight, imagine what it's like for the average traveler.</p> <h2>How award booking companies work</h2> <p>I have several friends who offer award booking services, and they have two advantages that I lack. They have access to numerous programs and websites that help to automate airline award searching. Sometimes these programs grant special access to the airline reservation systems and can return far more accurate and comprehensive results than the airlines' consumer facing websites do. Other services simply query multiple airline websites and aggregate the results in a more helpful format. Some of these services are available to the general public, but for a fee, that's rarely worth it for most occasional award travelers.</p> <p>In addition, professional award bookers have invaluable experience that they can draw on. These are hard-core travel geeks who have memorized airline award charts and flight routes, and instinctively know how to redeem the fewest points for the best flights. Many award bookers even know how to instruct airline customer service representatives to use their systems to book awards that the agents weren't trained to do.</p> <h2>How to work with an award booking company</h2> <p>To get started with an award booking company, you will typically have to fill out a form or have a telephone consultation in which you list the points and miles you have, where you are trying to go, and the dates you are willing to travel. Award booking companies are great, but they are not miracle workers. Therefore, you'll have the best results when you can specify a range of possible dates, and you'll do even better if you offer alternate departure airports or destinations.</p> <p>To have the award booking service ticket your itinerary, you will also have to give them your frequent flyer numbers and login information. Once you submit your information, you can expect the process to take at least a day or two before you are presented with proposed itineraries for your approval.</p> <p>Most award booking companies charge clients only when they are able to find an acceptable itinerary. The prices vary but you can usually expect to pay between $100 and $200 per person. For example, Gary Leff runs <a href="http://bookyouraward.com" target="_blank">Book Your Award</a> and charges $185 per person. He got started in the business in 2009 after getting many reader questions about award booking on his travel blog, View From The Wing. His service has since been written about in Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and many other publications.</p> <p>Leff specializes in helping people secure premium cabin international award seats, which are often the most valuable use of your points and miles. &quot;Digging into the minutiae of airline partners and frequent flyer program rules isn't for everyone,&quot; Leff says. &quot;And you can't always just enter where you're starting from and where you're going and get all of the options for your trip from your frequent flyer program's website.&quot;</p> <p>Ari Charlestein runs <a href="http://www.awardmagic.com" target="_blank">Award Magic</a>, which charges $179 per person for one-way and round-trip awards, and $279 per person for multi-destination and round-the-world awards. When Charlestein was in college, he met someone who flew to Australia each year in business class with miles. He recalls thinking, <em>You're telling me these miles that my parents wasted to go skiing in Colorado, we could have used to fly to Australia in business class?</em> When he told his friends and family that he could help them book award flights, and they told their friends, he started doing this on the side, and later went full-time.</p> <p>Typically, his clients reach out to him through his website and schedule a phone call. He then goes through every possible routing and airline, looking for the best combination. For example, he could help you use credit card points to transfer to Virgin Atlantic to redeem for a flight operated by Japan's ANA airline.</p> <h2>Should you use an award booking company?</h2> <p>For most travelers, it makes sense to at least try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=internal" target="_blank">book an award yourself</a>, especially if it's a simple itinerary. There are lots of tips and tools to help you along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tips to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <p>But once you've tried and failed to find award space at the lowest mileage levels, and you are feeling overwhelmed, then it might be the time to seek professional help. This is especially true if you're looking for an international flight in a premium cabin, or if you'd like to make multiple stops on your trip. By paying an award booking service a few hundred dollars, you can save the time and aggravation necessary to book an award trip that might be worth thousands.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Professional%2520Award%2520Bookers%2520Can%2520Get%2520You%2520Free%2520Rewards%2520Flights.jpg&amp;description=How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights.jpg" alt="How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-vs-plane-travel-which-is-right-for-you">Train vs. Plane Travel: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel award bookers credit card rewards flight booking travel budget travel rewards travel tips Tue, 03 Apr 2018 08:30:13 +0000 Jason Steele 2124242 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid Airline Fees in Basic Economy http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_caucasian_woman_waits_to_disembark_plane.jpg" alt="Young Caucasian woman waits to disembark plane" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The airline industry has changed dramatically in the last few years. First, ultralow cost carriers became very successful by offering extremely low fares, but adding fees for nearly everything you can imagine. Next, most of the major airlines started to offer so-called basic economy fares that replicated the fee intensive business model that worked so well financially for the ultralow cost competitors. Now Americans are trying to figure out how to save money on airfares, while avoiding all of the airline fees imposed by basic economy fares. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-sneaky-fees-on-discount-airfare?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These Sneaky Fees on Discount Airfare</a>)</p> <h2>How basic economy fares work</h2> <p>When you search for airfare on American, Delta, or United Airlines, you're likely to be offered three different options. You have the standard economy ticket, which includes a carry-on suitcase and a personal item that can fit under the seat in front of you, such as a briefcase, purse, or small backpack. Standard economy tickets also tend to include seat assignments and can be upgraded or changed for a fee.</p> <p>Then there are the economy plus, or economy comfort seats, which offer additional legroom and a free checked bag. These fares may also include priority boarding and even a free alcoholic beverage.</p> <p>On the other end of the spectrum are the newer, basic economy class fares. Although the seat is the same, it often won't come with seat assignments, and you may be randomly assigned a seat at check-in. Basic economy fares may not include a carry-on suitcase, just a personal item. Also, you can't receive upgrades based on elite status, and you may not be able to make changes to your reservation at any price, except within 24 hours of purchase.</p> <p>So how can you save money on basic economy fares without paying extra fees? Here are some suggestions.</p> <h2>1. Choose the right carrier</h2> <p>Not all airlines have the same basic economy rules, and some are actually not so bad. For example, Delta's basic economy fares allow you to bring a standard carry-on and a personal item, just like any other passenger. In addition, you'll get your seat after check-in.</p> <p>In contrast, United and American only let you have a personal item and can assign the seat to you without you having a say.</p> <h2>2. Choose the right aircraft</h2> <p>When you fly on basic economy fares, you'll have a pretty high chance of being stuck in the dreaded middle seat. However, there are some smaller airplanes that don't even have middle seats, so you are guaranteed a window or an aisle. To ensure that your basic economy fare won't put you in the middle seat, look for regional flights on the Bombardier CRJ or Q400 planes, or the Embraer ERJ planes, which only seat three or four across, rather than Boeing or Airbus aircraft that seat six or more across.</p> <h2>3. Learn the dimensions of the personal item</h2> <p>Every airline allows passengers to bring a personal item with them, even on a basic economy fare. Although this can be a purse, briefcase or backpack, it doesn't have to be. You can carry a duffel bag or even a small roll-on suitcase, as long as it fits within the specified dimensions.</p> <p>For example, United defines a personal item as nine inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. On the other hand, American lets you carry a personal item that's 18 inches x 14 inches x eight inches. Find an <a href="https://amzn.to/2GincqC" target="_blank">underseat bag</a> that meets those dimensions and you are free to cram as much stuff as possible in it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-should-always-carry-on-an-economy-flight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Should Always Carry On an Economy Flight</a>)</p> <h2>4. Bring your own entertainment</h2> <p>In today's world, there's no need to pay to use an in-flight entertainment system. Simply bring along your own smartphone, tablet, or laptop downloaded with music, videos, and games.</p> <h2>5. Use the right credit card</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Airline credit cards</a> can act as kind of a &quot;get out of jail free&quot; card when you are booked in basic economy class. For example, many airline credit cards offer priority boarding and a free checked bag as cardholder benefits that are not surrendered just because you purchased a ticket in basic economy class. American also allows travelers with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">AAdvantage credit cards</a> to bring on a regular carry-on bag for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which United MileagePlus Credit Card Should You Get?</a>)</p> <p>Other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">premium travel credit cards</a> offer airline fee credits that can be applied to things such as luggage fees, change fees, and charges for in-flight food and entertainment. Using these credit cards restores many of the comforts associated with standard economy seats.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Avoid%2520Airline%2520Fees%2520in%2520Basic%2520Economy.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Avoid%20Airline%20Fees%20in%20Basic%20Economy"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Avoid%20Airline%20Fees%20in%20Basic%20Economy.jpg" alt="How to Avoid Airline Fees in Basic Economy" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation">Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-hotel-booking-websites-can-save-you-money-and-headaches">How Hotel Booking Websites Can Save You Money (And Headaches)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-hidden-costs-of-free-travel">Watch Out for These Hidden Costs of Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel airline fees baggage fees economy flight flight tickets travel budget travel tips Mon, 02 Apr 2018 08:30:11 +0000 Jason Steele 2124243 at http://www.wisebread.com