Saturday, May 3, 2014

Travel Tips by Margot Justes





The pictures are from Le Cinque Terre-my favorite villages in Italy.

Travel can be exhausting, and I hear from many people how tired they are of packing and planning, and then there is the actual travel itself. I try to simplify my travel as much as I can.

I love the planning part, that is not a problem for me. There is a tremendous amount of information available on the internet. Yes, it does take time, but for me that is part of the fun of travel. The only part I dislike is the going to the airport and getting on the plane. It is no longer enjoyable.

For the upcoming trip to Rome and the Mediterranean cruise, I booked the cruise last year. It is easier to budget, if you can plan in stages. I check the prices weekly, and if there is a lower rate for my cabin category, I call the cruise line and ask for the lower price; it depends on availability and if indeed the price is lower for the cabin category.

An upgrade can be requested up until departure, however there are no guarantees. I’ve had reductions in price, but have yet to receive a ‘free’ upgrade. So far I have only cruised Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, they are sister companies. This one is a Celebrity cruise.

If travelling to Europe, I always spend at least two days in the port city. I look for hotels, and check to see if description meets my criteria-central in town, and easy walking distance to a few sites. I love to walk, and European cities tend to be walking cities. Generally I book through the hotel, there is a better chance of an upgrade. In some cases, places like Expedia might have a special price; it is best to check a few site on line, do your research.

I always request breakfast with room. This way I don’t spend time looking for a place to eat in the morning. It is easier and more expedient for me, and they tend to be a delight. A leisurely breakfast, usually accompanied by a terrific coffee is a wonderful beginning to a full day.

The next thing I do is book the flight, usually a couple of months before the trip. There is not much wiggle room. I watch the prices on a couple of airlines, and when they seem low enough I book them. I don’t gamble, but when booking a flight I consider it a crap shoot. They go up down minute by minute.

There are a few ways to save, your earned miles, or points through a credit card.
I have a credit card that gives me points on travel in general.  I don’t track my miles at all, because it is a hassle to book a flight using miles; at least for me.

I usually look for the most direct route if at all possible; the fewer transfers the better, the less chance your luggage will ultimately wind up in a different city.

I always check the various sites advertising lower rates, but they all quote similar prices to the actual airlines. Most airlines won’t give you miles if you book through a second party. The same applies to hotels.

Whenever possible, I like to arrange my airport transfer ahead of time. Rome is the perfect example. I’ve used RomeCab before. I just send an e-mail with the flight information, hotel information, and pick up time from hotel to port. They’re reliable, and I know they’ll show up at the airport with my name on a placard. It’s easy, and I don’t have to wait in a long line for a taxi. The price is about the same as a cab ride. There is no pre-payment involved, just a cash payment upon arrival in hotel, and I know up front what the price will be.

I’m all set for the trip, all I have to do is pack. I usually start a couple of weeks before the trip. I pack light, and set everything I think I’ll need on my office couch. By the time I’m ready for a suitcase, the pile is smaller, and ready to go in.

On a happy note, A Hotel in Bath is a finalist for a RONE award.



Cheers,
Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com


3 comments:

Bob Hobson said...

Good tips, thanks. I want to add something that was a life saver on my last trip to Rome. I lost my passport during the day and had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had a tracer tag on it. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on the website. I was automatically sent a text message (and an email) with a pickup location before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me, I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. Tags are available through mystufflostandfound.com That tag saved my trip from total disaster and I put them on my phone, laptop and almost everything that travels with me now.

Margot Justes said...

Bob,
What an excellent suggestion, thank you so much for sharing. Hope you had a great time in Rome and Germany.

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