Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success. Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money.
Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there. With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination. Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher. Check out BeFrugal’s Fly or Drive Calculator (www.befrugal.com, find it under the Tools tab). It will take into account the current price of gas and the MPG of your vehicle to give you a final cost and time estimate should you fly or drive. How’s that for a nifty tech travel tip?
Flexibility can save you some serious coin. Check out Hipmunk to factor in the cost of alternate travel options such as train. If you determine that flying is the way to go, consider looking at airports “nearby” your final destination, in case you can save a few bucks on the flight. Travel sites such as Travelocity will allow you to compare surrounding airports and flights one or two days before or after your desired travel dates to find the absolute cheapest option.
Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best place to sleep. Researching hotels for our summer vacation yielded some costly results, especially when trying to accommodate our family of four comfortably. When I looked for an apartment instead, I was surprised at how much money I could save. Travelocity has some great deals, but be sure to also check out Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owner and Home Away. Vacation rentals have many cost saving advantages – you can save on meals by using the kitchen to eat in, parking and internet are typically included, and many have washers and dryers. Just be sure to read reviews, choose a reputable place in a good area, and ask the owner all your questions before you reserve.
Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to pay. If you pay off yourcredit card balances regularly, you may want to consider signing up for a credit card that earns rewards. Some cards offer signing bonuses that can equate to hundreds of dollars after you charge a certain amount, effectively paying you back for paying for your trip. Not all rewards are on travel, either. Many cards offer gift cards for major retailers or even cash back. Compare card perks, rates, annual fees and credit rating requirements at sites such as www.nerdwallet.com orwww.creditcards.org.
Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to protect your stuff. There’s nothing like a stolen wallet or credit card to ruin a vacation fast. Corporate Travel Safety has tons of products like backpacks, purses, and camera-carrying straps designed with theft prevention in mind. While you’re there, check out the pages and pages of tips about how to travel smarter.
These days, thieves don’t even need to physically rob you to steal your identifying information. As of 2006, all US passports have imbedded RFID tags. Thieves can use an RFID scanner to capture the personal data stored in the tag (like your name, passport number, etc) as you pass within range of their scanner. An RFID blocking wallet or passport billfold will protect your cards and documents from high tech hoisters.
Your camera can be your best friend, but I can’t stress this enough: back up your photos! We almost lost all our pictures from Hawaii because our camera’s storage disc went bad. Either save them every day onto your laptop, or use a backup system like Dropbox or Crashplan to store them online. They’re free, have mobile plans that allow you to access your data from anywhere, and the five minutes it takes to sync can save you some serious heartache later.