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16 Travel Tips for 2016

Brianne Miers - January 29, 2016
Boats on Lake Titicaca
Paris building

Pauline Frommer and her famous father, Arthur, host a nationally syndicated radio show together, Travel Show, each Sunday. At the New York Times Travel Show earlier this month, they took the stage together to share their views on where the travel industry is headed in 2016. Following Arthur’s presentation on the top trends to watch in the coming year, Pauline provided some very helpful and insightful tips:

  1. For the best prices, book your domestic flight 57 days in advance and your international flight 171 days in advance.
  2. Book your flight a Sunday to have the greatest chance of getting the lowest fare.
  3. The cheapest days to fly are Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
  4. You’ll find the best prices by using search engines, not by directly booking with an airline. Skyscanner and Momondo are the two sites that consistently produce the lowest fares.
  5. Be careful of the new basic fares offered by major airlines – make sure you know what they include and what the add-ons are.
  6. Some budget airlines have alliances, so check to see where you can earn points before you book.
  7. As a general rule, don’t fly budget airlines in Africa or Russia (This one seems obvious!).
  8. You might save money by being flexible – non-direct flights or two one-way flights can sometimes be cheaper.
  9. Travel advisors and agents are making a comeback – use a destination-specific travel agency for their local relationships and connections.
  10. Monitor an airline’s social media channels and website for sale announcements.
  11. The best websites for booking hotels are booking.com and agoda.com.
  12. The best hotel search websites are hotelscombined.com and Trivago. The best “blind” sites are Priceline, Hotwire and The Bidding Traveler.
  13. Be sure you read the fine print before booking a vacation rental like AirBnB, HomeawayFlipKey, VRBO – there are more “gotchas” these days; for example, Homeaway now charges fees.
  14. Always buy travel insurance but never buy through the travel provider – check comparison sites like SquareMouth and InsureMyTrip (I always book through InsureMyTrip).
  15. Consider a volunteer vacation – check out Earthwatch, Give the Kids the World Village (Florida), Vaughn Systems (Spain), The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, American Hiking Society, and Global Volunteers.
  16. To get the best exchange rate, use your ATM card to withdraw the local currency. However, every card has different rules, so be sure you know what the fees are.

Given her family’s prominence in the travel industry, I was particularly impressed during the Q&A session when she gave a shout-out to low/no-budget travel options like Couchsurfing, WWOFing and the free walking tours that have become so popular in cities worldwide.

And when asked whether it’s safe to travel to Paris, she declared, “We all should go to France! We cannot let the terrorists rule our lives. We beseech you to travel.” I could not agree more!

New York Times Travel Show Exhibit Hall

New York Times Travel Show Exhibit Hall

22 comments

  1. Fascinating tips! I am particularly interested to hear the exact number of days suggested to book a ticket in advance. I’ve always been curious about that!

  2. Some great tips – but beware the ATM card to get the cheapest money. I’ve discovered that due to the fees attached it is a lot cheaper to use a credit card in the ATM – make sure it is debt free and has the amount you wish to withdraw in credit. So, you are right – check the bank fees first.

  3. Lots of great tips here! I love Hotwire for car rentals. I’ve never used Priceline to bid on hotels but have thought about it.

    Definitely agree about momondo and skyscanner. I just saved $200 using momondo for a jetblue flight from Boston to DC!

  4. Some great trips, especially on how to save money. Going to need to purchase travel insurance for the first time this year, will have to give those sites a try.

    1. I just started buying travel insurance last year for all my trips (only emergency medical & evacuation). It makes me feel like a responsible adult 🙂

  5. These are really great tips! I heard before that Wednesday was the best day to buy airline tickets, but I guess now it has changed. Also, that’s a great tip about withdrawing from the ATM to avoid the highest exchange rates. I’ve heard that before as well. But, it’s good to get the confirmation.

    1. I think I had heard Tuesday at some point, so I’m definitely going to give Sunday a try! And, yes, I always use an ATM card when I travel (I have a Charles Schwab checking account that reimburses all ATM fees.)

  6. Great tips. I’ve started to use Momondo more now because it does seem to pull up the cheapest flight options. It’s good to stay on top of these things since there are so many options now.

  7. I’ve just literally copy / pasted this and will print it out tomorrow – these are some amazing tips!!! Thank you very much – there is a whole load I didn’t know…i had no idea about the 57 / 171 days prior for flight bookings….awesome 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! Glad you found it helpful. I actually waited until today to book a flight because it’s a Sunday (AND I went straight to Momondo!).

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