Top Travel Tips from Frequent Fliers
Everyone knows to show up early to the airport, have identification ready, and not to carry weapons (or anything that could be construed as a weapon down to cuticle scissors) when traveling by plane these days, but what secrets do frequent fliers know that the common folk don’t? Here are some things that Mercedes-Benz of Princeton recommends that regular business travelers do to decrease time spent in airports, at rental car counters, and in bad hotels. Now you can take a page from the seasoned travelers’ handbook and make your next travel experience hassle-free.
At the Airport
Make sure your ticket has the exact name that’s on your identification. Airport security may not know that Charles and C-dog are the same person. Airport security, by the way, has no sense of humor. They find nothing funny. Unlike the stewardess and ticket taker who get paid to flash fake smiles, airport personnel are more concerned about keeping everyone safe in the air and in the airport.
Frequent fliers are acutely aware of the difference between a non-stop and a direct flight. Direct flights stop at airports other than the one you want to go to, even if you don’t need to leave the plane. Frequent fliers also carry the airlines 1-800 customer service number and use that if they miss a connecting flight instead of waiting in a line with you, twenty-three kids, and four pregnant women.
At the Hotel
Frequent travelers know the importance of staying at the right hotel. Make a mental checklist of the most important features or amenities to you. Some travel pros look mainly at price, others at location, and others at the number of body chalk outlines done annually on hotel grounds. Narrow the search and read independent reviews online. Serious travelers call the hotel’s front desk disguised as a guest in order to gauge the level of customer service.
Frequent travelers also know how to save money by inquiring about special deals and researching the best prices online. For those with an adventurous spirit, forego the reservation and find late night vacancies that hotel managers are willing to fill at a discounted rate. It’s less of a hassle if you bring your cell phone and call from the lobby of a nearby competitor.
At the Rental Car Counter
Get the reservation before you leave the house, if possible. Preparation is the key to car rental success. Online rate comparisons and reservations provide optimal results. Make sure your car rental choice serves the airport to which you are traveling. Most provide shuttles.
Make yourself aware of rental policies. Some, for example, won’t rent to people under twenty-five. Others require a credit card and will not accept a debit card to guarantee payment. All require you have a driver’s license. Check the company’s roadside assistance policy, prohibited driving areas, check in time, and how much they charge for gas upon return. When traveling with kids, make sure to check about child safety seats. Always remember, savvy travelers get the car they want even if it means paying a little extra.