Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays from Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays

Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays

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Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays

About 47 million Americans journeyed 50 miles or more from home in 2015, the highest number of travelers since 2007. This is a 0.6 percent increase over the previous year, according to AAA Travel. Airlines carried more than 27 million passengers over the 4-day holiday, a 2.5 percent increase. If your Thanksgiving or other holiday plans include traveling, whether by plane or car, you need to know how to cope with the imminent chaos.

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You fold your clothes

If you want to save money on clothes while you’re away or avoid paying baggage fees for overweight luggage, don’t fold your garments as you put them in a suitcase, roll them. There is lots of air between the clothes when you fold them – space in which you can fit two extra pairs of shoes or a week's worth of underwear. Don’t take up extra room with toiletries if your hotel provides them.

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You avoid big chain hotels

Save yourself some time and search for rooms in hotels with familiar names. Small boutique lodgings don’t offer as many deals as big chains, Becky Hypolite, travel agent and owner of Crystal & Clear Travel, says. “They also don’t vacuum as often which mean higher chance of bed bugs,” she adds. “Make sure you read reviews on rooms.”

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You book a flight on the wrong day

“The best time to book a flight is on Tuesday night or Wednesday early morning,” Ivy Chou, travel expert at DealsPlus, says. “And the best time to fly is on a Wednesday because it’s farthest from the weekend,” she adds. “Companies want to push sales.” The timing is similar with hotels. The heaviest travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday and Monday after. High demand means high prices.

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You book tours in advance

“I personally never book in advance unless it’s something very specific like a wine tasting with a 5-course meal,” Hypolite says. If it’s something general – like a ride on a double-decker bus – buy a ticket when you get there. “This is how you get the most bang for your buck,” she adds. There are a lot of options, and booking ahead makes it hard to exchange or cancel without having to pay extra.

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You don’t ask for discounts

Don’t be shy; you can save yourself a lot of money. Not finding a good deal online doesn’t mean one is not available. “Travel agents do 98 percent of the sales again,” Hypolite says. “Between Priceline, Expedia, Kayak, etc., companies have no idea what you really want.” Agents aim to price match them and even beat their price, she adds, getting you a good deal.

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You overpack

The only aspect of which you have full control is your luggage. Don’t check bags because then you’ll have to spend more time at the airport and away from friends and family waiting for it at the carousel. Many people pack too many clothes but end up wearing a pair of jeans or two and a few tops. Besides, checked bags often get lost. Also, save money on baggage fees.

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You fly during the day

There are a handful of benefits to flying at night—typically lower rates, fewer delays, less crowded airports and the potential to sleep through the flight—but what many people don’t realize is that there are also fewer delays during the morning. After analyzing 6 million flights, experts recommend avoiding flights between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. to dodge delays that get worse as the day goes on.

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You don’t have your own entertainment

Charge all of you electronic devices and download all of the movies, shows, videos, music and games you know you’ll be watching, listening to or playing. You can’t count on the airport or airline’s Wi-Fi, which is often not free and slow. Don’t waste a minute being annoyed; it’s not good for your health.

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You don’t check in online

Make your time at the airport minimal. Head straight to the security check line. Make sure you print your boarding pass if you have to. Not all airlines give you the option to board the plane by scanning your ticket. Sign up for flight alerts to be notified if there are any changes to your flight.

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You wrap gifts in advance

The TSA has a lot of rules, and you may be unlucky enough to pass through a security point where the agents are very strict. If they ask you to open the presents so they can see inside you have to do it. Also, know what you cannot carry in a carry-on, just in case. The TSA recommends passengers to place presents in gift bags or wrap gifts after arriving.

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You forget to drink water

Traveling tends to dehydrate you, which can wreak havoc on your body. It’s important to keep water on-hand. Staying hydrated will help you feel better when you land, keeping energy levels up. Dehydration dries your skin and causes muscle cramps, headaches, bad breath, fatigue and bad mood. Don’t do any of these to yourself. Bring your own bottle and refill it often to save money.

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You book tickets over the phone

Time is money. So when you call the airline to book a flight, the travel agent will charge you a fee. It usually is between $15 and $35. Calling your credit card provider to book a flight – with your reward points or not – will also cost you extra. New air bookings made by phone are additional $39 per ticket, according to AmEx Travel.

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You use your miles

Using your miles to buy a ticket may seem like you’re flying for free. But some airlines have constraints. According to Airfare Watchdog, using your miles may cost you $75 for “Last minute” which can vary between 20 days to three days before the flight date. Plus, you’ll also have to pay the airport and fuel fees. In the end, depending on where you’re going, you may have to pay the same amount as if you were not using your miles. You might as well save them then.

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You bring your own toiletries

If you take them with you, you have to check a bag. Most airlines will charge you at least $25 – it can sometimes even reach $75, especially if you’re using a discount airline – for the first checked bag. Most hotels have shampoos, soaps and conditioners in the rooms, free for you to use as you please. Even buying a small-size shampoo or body wash at a local store will be less than $25.

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You don’t plan any activities

Making vacation plans and getting ready to stoke your wanderlust have been scientifically proven to improve health. The largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. If you’ve heard of the expression “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” this is what it means. Also, having a plan will save you time looking for what to do and places to go while on you’re supposed to be having fun.

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You don’t talk to locals

Do you want to go to secret locations only locals know? Be nice to them and make friends. Unspoiled and almost empty beaches, forests, valleys, camping locations and hiking trails may be within a few miles of where you’re staying. But you may be missing out because you were too close-minded and only read the travel brochure.

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You’re not impulsive

The unexpected experiences often end up being the most fun. Plan as much as you can, but leave some room for maneuvering. What if you knew you were going to visit a museum but didn’t like it? Don’t endure it for another minute and leave. Go hiking, BASE jumping, or surfing. Don’t eat cheeseburgers all the time because “you know what’s in it” and try exotic cuisine. Avoid the tourist traps and enjoy a real adventure.

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You stay in tourist areas

It’s easy to be carried away and misled when you visit a place to which you have never been before. A quick Google search usually suggests the most popular sites. More people visit the recommended locations, resulting in overprices foods and services. This is not to say that you should avoid popular destinations such as Paris, Rome and London. Go on an adventure and get lost. These places have a lot more to offer than the unpleasantness that invariably comes with huge crowds.

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You don’t get travel insurance

Thanksgiving travel is famous for long delays, bad weather and canceled flights. Travel insurance will reimburse you if you need to change your flight or cancel your trip altogether. It also covers any items that may have been lost during delays. It usually costs around $20 per trip.

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You don’t buy a package holiday

This option is very convenient if you don’t want to worry about anything during your trip, including how to get to and from the airport. Tour operators have that covered. If there is a delay or the flight is canceled, they have to figure out a way to deliver what you pay for. They either make new arrangements and no cost to you or give you your money back.

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You don’t have copies of your important documents

Your passport, credit cards and hotel reservations are very important documents of which you should have a copy in case the originals get stolen. They can be used as proof that you actually made a reservation so you won’t sleep on the street and/or that you are a citizen and can enter the country.

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Your face is in your phone all the time

People are addicted to their cell phones. It’s a bond that is not easily broken, but you should do very best to enjoy yourself and look up and around you instead of at your phone. Disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle and don’t miss any magical moment while on a holiday. To truly unwind and relax, you can vacation at a destination where there is no cell service at all.

Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays