Thursday, November 6, 2014

7 Biggest Travel Mistakes

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Destination: Key West, Florida          
Written by Marjorie Spoto                                        

Key West The Right Way

7 Biggest Travel Mistakes

You may think you know all of the tricks for traveling without a hitch or know all the tricks to get the perks but sometimes things come up...and even the smartest traveler could miss out on the extra benefits of traveling... or worse, the unexpected snafu. We've put together some tips so you don't make big traveling mistakes.

1. Call Your Credit Card Companies Before Leaving The Country
Nothing is worse than going to buy that nice ring and being denied by your credit card company because the "fraud alert" alarm was tripped. Call and prepare...this applies for inside the US as well.

2. Plan Which Credit Cards To Use In Foreign Countries
Capital One is no longer the only credit card that has a low foreign transaction fee. American Express has a sweet deal. Chase offers travel reward credits and waives overseas surcharges. It is a bit of a hassle calling the credit card company, but it's definitely worth it. Be prepared for 30 minutes per call as the agent reads from the long disclaimer.

3. Plan Your Carry on Bag Packing
Pack your precious carry on items in a separate bag inside your carry on luggage. You never know when if you're going to have to give your carry on bag to be loaded under the plane. Leaving your Ipad, car keys, and medications with a stranger is putting you at risk for missing those items (we hope to trust everyone, but it does happen). If you leave it in an easy-to-grab bag or put those items in your purse, you can stow it under your seat in front of you and be responsible for those items yourself.

4. Missing Out On The Hotel Perks
Is it the big milestone anniversary? Birthday? Let the front desk know when you're making your reservation, send an email to the general manager, and mention it again upon check-in. You never know, you may get a free upgrade or a bottle of champagne in your room.

5. Map Out Your Vacation Area
Don't waste precious vacation time trying to figure out where you are going. Ask the concierge at the hotel. If you don't have one, go into the nearest five-star hotel and ask their concierge. You should also print out Google maps before you go. Usually at the airports, there are tourist maps that you can grab on the way out. Don't forget to tip the concierge.

6. Passport Expiration Date
Always check your expiration date before traveling. Just because you're going to be back home
before that expiration date, doesn't mean that those rules apply to foreign countries. To be safe, make sure there is at least 6 months before expiration, and you will be fine. To find out the "real" expiration dates, check the State Department’s Web site for entry and exit requirements for the destination you’re headed to next.

7. Rental Car Damages You Didn't Cause
Sometimes you don't know if you're using a small, family-owned franchise. Those companies tend to nit pick the cars not when you take them out, but when you return. Just to be safe, always take your own photos of the car and any nicks and dings you may see. To ensure that this doesn't happen, it's best to return the car during office hours and get it in writing that you returned the car without damage.


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