Travel Column


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Can flying first class be frugal?

Finding cheap first class flights just takes a little legworkWhile checking in to a flight recently, sheer curiosity led me to see how much it would cost to upgrade. I was surprised to find out that moving up to first class would only be fifty bucks. Granted, it was a two-hour flight, but first class for only $50 more than coach? That’s a decent deal, especially when you factor in the free drinks, lots of extra leg room and priority boarding and disembarking that typically come with a first class ticket.

Obviously, it’s cheaper not to upgrade at all. But if you’re looking for a little splurge or just want to try first class out, here are some ways to score cheap first class flights.
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Do You Need Travel Insurance?

AirplaneThe point of any insurance policy is to protect your assets in the event of an unexpected event. This is true of travel insurance as well.

If you are going on a major trip — particularly if you plan to travel overseas — it can make sense to purchase travel insurance as protection. Travel can get expensive, and if something goes wrong, your travel insurance policy can keep you from getting stuck holding a bill that’s bigger than you can afford.


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How to Avoid Travel Scams this Summer

travel scamsOne of the things I love about summer (or any time of the year) is all the travel. I love going new places and seeing new things. However, whenever you travel, whether it’s for a summer vacation, or for some other purpose, you have to be on the alert.

Scammers can be found almost anywhere. They prey on the unsuspecting, hoping to get some of your hard-earned cash. Watch out for the following travel scams — especially when you go abroad:

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Will You Be Surprised By Hidden Hotel Fees?

Hotel FeesIt seems straightforward. You book your hotel, and you see the cost per-night. You might even see that you will pay taxes, including state and local taxes, and possibly a room tax. What you might not see, though, are “resort fees” or other sneaky charges that some hotels are starting to add to their bills after you arrive. So you book, and when you arrive you see fees added to the bill. Most travelers are too tired to be bothered with looking elsewhere for accommodations once they get to this point, so they accept the charges.

Even though the FTC recently sent letters to some hotels, insisting that they begin revealing the total cost at booking, you still might not get the whole story when you reserve your hotel online. And, even though hotels might disclose their resort fees on their web sites, you might not see these fees if you are looking for a deal by using a third-party booking site like Orbitz or Travelocity.

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Travel Gratuity: Who To Tip and How Much

Most of us know who to tip in our everyday lives, but when we travel, we run into a new set of people who help us such as valets, housekeepers, taxi drivers, to just name a few. Who do we tip and how much do we give them? The answers, frustratingly, vary, and also depend on a country’s culture.

Let’s start with travel within the U.S. first. You should tip the following people:

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What Insurance Do You Need When You Travel?

GlobeIt’s been awhile since I’ve traveled outside the country, but I do like to take frequent trips in the United States. Whenever you travel, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are protected. This means that you need to have adequate insurance coverage.

There are different types of insurance coverage available for travelers, and you need to carefully consider your needs before deciding what will be required for your trip.

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5 Helpful Tips for a Successful Home Swap

Jeda Villa BaliOne of the growing trends in travel is the use of the home swap. If you are interested in staying in a location for a month or more, you might be able to save on your travel expenses by cutting out the cost of lodging. With a home exchange, you stay in someone else’s home, while they come and stay in yours.

Instead of paying for a hotel or for an apartment, you pay a monthly fee to the home exchange site you belong to, and receive access to thousands of listings. For between $100 and $500 a year (depending on the site, and the level of membership), it’s possible to find people willing to exchange with you. On the cheapest options, your yearly membership fee basically pays for itself after you’ve spent one night in someone else’s home. This option is even cheaper than vacation home rentals.

It’s important to be careful, though. Remember that you aren’t just staying in someone else’s home; someone is coming to stay in your home as well. Here are 5 tips that increase your chances of success:
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VRBO.com Review

Jeda Villa BaliOne of the growing trends in travel is finding a vacation rental on your own. A home, or some other unit, might be rented out by an owner who is only there part of the time, or by an owner who has the property exclusively for rental purposes. The owner tries to make a few bucks on a home that would otherwise sit empty, and a vacationer can receive a good deal on a rental, often saving money when compared with getting a hotel room for the duration of a longer trip.

For trips of a week or more, a vacation rental can often be just the thing. Web sites like VRBO.com can provide you with access to vacation rentals all over the world. But, as with almost anything you arrange online, you need to be aware of some of the risks.

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