Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.
You should always sign up for an airline’s frequent flyer program. First of all, it’s free. In addition, having your information on file with the airline saves you some time when making a reservation. You can also put your Known Traveler Number (KTN) into your profile if you have enrolled for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry, which you should do if you travel even somewhat regularly.
Here are the links to the programs from the major US Airlines along with how long the miles you earn are good for. Note that while many plans will claim your miles will “never expire,” they will deactivate your account, thereby cause you to lose any miles earned, if you don’t have a qualifying activity within a certain time frame.
We’ve seen several people who have mentioned looking for advice to find cheap airfare, so we knew it was a topic we needed to address. Not knowing exactly how to start this post, I did what most people would do when asking the question, “How do I find cheap airfare?” I asked the interwebs.
The first few hits were from Online Travel Agencies like Expedia and Kayak. Not exactly what I was looking for. The next few hits were articles, so I checked out what they had to say and I found the same tips on several of these websites:
- Be flexible with your travel dates
- Be flexible about where you want to go
- Fly budget airlines
Nope, nope and nope. So much for that approach.
After writing about the family who was split up in middle seats throughout the plane on our United flight to Chicago, I wasn’t expecting the response we got from our readers. We received a number of comments from readers with differing viewpoints. One one hand, we received two comments that I’m sure United would be just thrilled to read:
- I won’t be flying with United. My kids won’t handle being separated from me.
- Yup. Not flying United.
If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you know the drill. First the people with super duper airline status are allowed on, then just super statuses people, followed by the plain ol’ status folks. They’re all followed by active service people, then those who need extra time, then families with small children and then the regular people are finally allowed onto the plane. But from 15 minutes before they even make an announcement that they’re going to start boarding soon, 3/4 of the people who will be on that flight are surrounding the boarding area, and those whose tickets say they will be the absolute last group to board the plane are usually the ones closer to the gate than anyone else. I don’t know about you, but I personally think the system is totally disorganized and sets people up to worry about who’s in the way, who just cut the line, etc. It’s the epitome of the “cattle” atmosphere that modern-day flying has become and is simply annoying. I guess the executives and planners at United must have thought so too because this past Friday, while preparing to go to Chicago, we encountered a whole new way of boarding the plane.
If you’re flying to a vacation destination, one of your first stop after the bathroom and baggage claim might be the rental car counter. I hope you used the tips I listed in in this article and got a good price on that car. But what you might not have known is that you can also earn airline miles for most car rentals. Here’s how… Continue reading “How You Can Earn Airline Miles By Driving”
I’m pretty obsessive about keeping track of my account balances. Ok, I’m very obsessive about it [edit by Sharon: Yes. Yes, he is 😉]. I’ve written about how I use the website AwardWallet to keep all of our accounts in line. If you haven’t signed up yet, here’s a referral link that I’d appreciate if you use (full disclosure: I may get a bonus if you sign up with my referral link). One of the best functions of the website is they’ll send you an email alert when you have accounts that are about to go inactive. That is, except for when they don’t send an alert because they don’t know the account details – but that’s not their fault. For example,