Spotting an expert traveler at the airport is easy. While their appearance might not be the same – some are immaculate and completely suited and booted, whereas others are unshaven with a heavy backpack and hiking boots– the trait they share in common is the way they act.
You can see they are completely organized and know what to expect. One thing about traveling is that you gain experience, and with time, you know what you are supposed to do and the exact way of doing it. Traveling for the first time can be stressful, but the good thing is that you will become better with every subsequent journey.
Here are the top 5 facts every seasoned traveler knows:
1. It all begins with research
There is no arguing with the fact that you need proper research and strategic planning before you go on a trip. Research should include everything from the flight you will use for departure to your return journey and everything that comes in between. The first choice is definitely the destination. Where do you plan to visit? This is a choice made according to your preferences, but you could also check for recommendations.
Expert travelers begin to take their research and planning to another level. The first thing about booking a flight is that it is best done when your browsing is in incognito mode. This would ensure that you don’t fall prey to third-party cookies which would then cause an increase in your flight fares.
The time of booking is also a factor to be considered. Travel and holiday deals cut a significant chunk of cost from their expenses. As such, an expert traveller doesn’t accept the first price that pops up. He or she keeps looking for the best packages for accommodation and flights.
2. Loyalty pays
There is so much to be gained by staying loyal to an airline, and this is a fact that expert travelers know. Airlines are known to reward loyalty. You stand a higher chance of an upgrade if you use one carrier for all your travels. Just make sure that you are comfortable with the services the airline offers before selecting. Another thing you could do is get the airline’s reward card and accumulate points. You can later convert the points to miles or use them to get better ticket deals.
The seating in the plane is another thing that expert travelers are keen to check. You want to score a more comfortable seat if you are on board for hours on end and that would need a strategy. The mistake many people do is fake sickness to get a better seat. The bluff may be called leaving you embarrassed. Just make plans early enough, and a polite request can do wonders.
3. You can get compensation for delays and cancellations
You will be amazed at the number of travelers who know nothing about their air-passenger rights. For starters, you can get compensation for delayed or canceled flights. Most airlines will notify you of any changes in time and sometimes make plans for another alternative. Southwest Airlines, for instance, will compensate delayed and canceled flights but it must be done following their procedure and requirements. Here is what you need to know:
Notification of changes to flight schedules
Should there be an alteration in the flight schedule, Southwest will notify the passengers within 30 minutes. This would be done using the means you chose when making a reservation which can be either a voice call, email or text. Furthermore, all the integrated display screens and voice announcements will pass the information at different points at the airport.
Southwest Airlines compensation for delayed flights is available to any customer that has missed their flight to no fault of the airline. The passenger can opt for a refund of the unused fare or ask the airline to arrange for his or her flight on another Southwest flight that has available seats. This arrangement will not cost the passenger any extra fees. The airline will not allow boarding if it is sure of a delay of two or more hours, and will commence boarding 30 minutes in advance of a confirmed departure.
4. Packing smart
A seasoned traveler knows the importance of packing smart. You can have all your essentials in one backpack and not feel the need to have additional space. Another thing about having many bags is that it increases the chances of those bags getting lost. This is something that can happen to anyone, but seasoned travelers seem to have found a way around it – since many people will have black bags, it is best to have a unique color, just in case.
Have an emergency kit in your carry on. This should contain spare underwear, toiletries, toothbrush, laptop/phone charger, and clothes. This should act as a backup in case the undesirable happens. When packing, stuff your shoes with underwear and socks to not only save on space but also keep the shoes in shape.
5. Plan your finances
After a whole year of saving for the travel, it only makes sense to plan your expenditures. Better yet, you can find ways of cutting unnecessary expenses, an art that expert travelers are good at. You want to know the exchange rates to the currency of your destination and also make sure you inform your bank that you are traveling so that they don’t treat your international transaction as a fraud. Before you leave your home, confirm that your credit card will be accepted in the country that you are visiting.
It is a smart strategy to convert to the local currency for the simple purchases when you land. Also, seasoned travelers will tell you the importance of keeping a secret stash of cash. It is not unusual to find yourself spending more than you had planned, and the secret stash can save the day.