Low Cost Airlines

The Travel Hackers Toolkit

Dane Homenick is the founder of Journo a travel company. It's Journo's mission to help fellow travelers better remember their adventures with their popular travel journal app with auto-route-tracking, printable mementos, collaborative Journos, and more. After countless hours, they have come up with the ideal process for maximizing your savings when booking a flight no matter where in the world you're departing from or going to. It's called 'The Ultimate Guide To Travel Hacking Cheap Flights. You can have one of those fancy coffees at Starbucks or you can become the flight expert among all of your friends by being the guy or gal who finally knows all the dirty little secrets that the airline industry tries to keep from us, and how to exploit them to your advantage! You'll save countless time, money and headaches by finally knowing how to book the cheapest possible flight, based on the elusive booking windows and hacks you're about to discover. More here...

The Travel Hackers Toolkit Summary


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Author: Dane Homenick
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The Travel Hacker's Toolkit - Luxury Travel On A Poor Man's Budget

Highly Recommended

I've really worked on the chapters in this ebook and can only say that if you put in the time you will never revert back to your old methods.

All the modules inside this e-book are very detailed and explanatory, there is nothing as comprehensive as this guide.

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Can Travel Agents Beat Web Fares

Unless you have had a close relationship with a travel agent for many years, there is a good chance that you will at least match or often beat a travel agent's search, for several reasons Travel agents have little incentive to spend considerable amounts of time in search of rock-bottom fares since commissions are low or nonexistent. In certain circumstances, travel agents do not have access to Web-only fares offered by the major travel reservations Web sites.

Wont Your Travel Agent Help You Utilize All These Strategies

The first key principle of travel savings is that you are the sole person responsible for obtaining great values for your travel needs. Neither travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, and so on) nor travel agents have the responsibility for expending the time and energy to find exceptional values, or even informing you when they may know of better values. In fact, if anything, just the opposite holds true. Suppliers in all industries inevitably seek to get the highest amount for a given product or service airlines, hotels, and car rental companies are no different. It gets even worse when we consider travel agents Agency commissions from airlines were cut back dramatically in 1997, thereby providing the impetus to charge service fees and scale back their efforts to find exceptional value for budget-conscious travelers. In 2002, airline companies reduced travel agent commissions to zero Still, travel agents may have preferred override agreements with an airline, meaning they receive a...

What About Frequent Flyer Programs with Low Cost Airlines

It is not simple to compare the frequent flyer programs of the major airlines with those of their low-fare value brethren, not least since major airlines offer frequent flyer miles whereas most low-cost airlines provide points or segments toward earning free trips. The two low-cost airline exceptions are 1. America West, which was originally a major airline but switched its fare model to one resembling a low-cost airline while still retaining its original frequent flyer program 2. Frontier, which offers frequent flyer miles and has a program that quite closely resembles those of the major airlines The following highlights the key differences associated with the low-cost airlines' programs Limited Award Coverage. Low-cost airlines do not fly to Hawaii or abroad, so eliminate those possibilities. The two possible exceptions may be America West, which has partnerships with Hawaiian Airlines and British Airways that will get you to paradise and beyond with a free ticket and Frontier,...

Airfare Savings Part I

Two years ago, while making plans to attend the National Speakers Association's annual meeting, I diligently went to work, following the principles in this book to try and find a great airfare. My research paid off when I booked a terrific sale fare at the rock-bottom price of 252 for a Los Angeles to Philadelphia nonstop roundtrip ticket. Feeling pleased with my-self especially since I had a 100 discount coupon I could apply for additional savings, bringing the fare down to an unheard of 152 I stopped by a United office not far from my house the following day to pay for my ticket. Pay strict attention to ticketing deadlines given by the airlines and other travel companies. Know the rules and apply them correctly. If you don't, you may find yourself paying more for an airfare than you anticipated or losing it altogether.

Airfares Pre PostCruise Hotel Offerings

Unless you live within driving distance of your port of embarkation, you'll probably be flying to Vancouver, Anchorage, Seattle, or one of the other ports to join your ship. Your cruise package may include airfare, but if not, you'll have to make other arrangements. You can book air travel separately, but remember that those attractive discount fares you see in the newspapers may not apply, especially if your cruise departs on the peak travel days of Friday or Saturday. A better option is usually to take advantage of the cruise lines' air add-ons. Why First of all, as frequent customers of the airlines, cruise lines tend to get decent (if not the best) discounts on airfare, which they pass on to their customers. Second, booking air with the cruise line also allows the line to keep track of you. If your plane is late, for instance, they may hold the boat, though not always. When you book air travel with your cruise line, most lines will include transfers from the airport to the ship,...

Frequent Flyer Discounts

Car rental companies frequently offer discounts to members of various frequent flyer programs, though no proof of membership (such as frequent flyer number or card) is ever requested. The traveler doesn't even have to be flying in to the TIP destination on the particular airline mentioned to qualify for the frequent flyer rate. Simply ask for the American, Continental, Delta, or even Southwest Airlines frequent flyer rate. nificant frequent flyer program

How Frequent Buyers Become Frequent Flyers The Wonderful World of Affinity Cards

An affinity card is simply a credit or charge card that pays back the cardholder with a reward of some kind for its usage. In general, for every dollar you spend with an airline affinity credit card, one frequent flyer mile is automatically deposited into your frequent flyer account, usually posting within four to eight weeks of your credit card statement date. Obtaining a MasterCard or Visa credit card that automatically earns miles or points can therefore boost your frequent flyer mile or hotel point balance considerably. Annual fees are typically higher than for nonmileage cards usually ranging from 25 to 125, depending on whether you select a Classic (regular), Gold, or Platinum card. Credit card companies offer frequent flyer mile enrollment bonuses that typically range from 2,000 to 10,000 miles once you are approved for the card. However, for travelers who carry significant balances, exorbitantly high interest rates (15 to 19 percent is standard) charged by affinity credit...

The Opportunity Cost of Frequent Flyer Miles

Some small business travelers who pay for their travel out of pocket fail to recognize the opportunity cost concept, resolutely holding their frequent flyer miles for inexpensive vacation tickets while overlooking their use for more expensive business travel. Even if business travel costs are tax-deductible, travelers will typically keep more of their money by using frequent flyer miles for those costly business trips where the luxury of a cheaper fare isn't an option than for their vacation tickets, which can often be found at bargain rates.

The Cream of the Frequent Flyer Crop

By now, you should recognize that there is no such thing as The Best Frequent Flyer Program '' Determining the best frequent flyer program depends on the individual and on a significant number of possible variables. For example, if you live in a hub city for a particular airline, that will be a powerful reason to focus your business on that airline because of the greater range of nonstop options and that will be the best frequent flyer program for you. But if you're not locked into one particular airline, you might consider a number of factors. You might like American for its focus on more room throughout coach'' on most of its flights, more opportunities for earning nonflight miles than any other airline, and its extensive number of alliance partners that can get you anywhere in the world. Reasons NOT to consider a frequent flyer program may be that its mileage awards expire in one year or it won't get you to Hawaii or abroad both drawbacks of Southwest's program. Some may eliminate...

You Dont Have to Take Flight to Earn Miles

The secret is out Even though major airlines have lost tens of billions of dollars since the turn of this century, one component of their business is consistently profitable the sale of frequent flyer miles. The options for earning frequent flyer miles have soared over the past decade, as the major U.S. airlines have sought new revenue streams. It has even been proposed that frequent flyer miles constitute the second currency of the United States For airlines, selling miles to companies for distribution to customers and employees has been a revenue bonanza. They receive payment far in advance of the free trips being redeemed, often for frequent flyer miles that are never even used. Let's review the most important ways that you as a world traveler or road warrior can boost your frequent flyer miles in ways other than flying Credit Cards. Paying for everything with airline affinity cards is by far the easiest and potentially most lucrative source of frequent flyer miles without flying....

Purchase Frequent Flyer Miles Regularly

Purchasing frequent flyer miles is the most effective strategy for assuring confirmed upgrades at a fraction of the retail business- or first-class fares. For example, if a first-class ticket to Europe costs 8,000 or redemption of 100,000 miles, purchasing the miles at 30 per 1,000 will save over 5,000. That's a guerrilla-sized savings of 65 percent The world traveler who wants to fly in luxury regularly can do so by systematically purchasing miles from not just one but many airlines. This strategy works much like a savings plan, ensuring a large payoff for the frequent flyer who consistently purchases the maximum amount of miles allowed to his account. Frequent flyer miles may be purchased at retail prices from the airlines as Top-Off Miles select airlines offer the ability to deposit miles into your frequent flyer account that is a few thousand miles deficient for redeeming a specific reward. American Express allows the primary cardholder enrolled in Membership Miles to purchase up...

Frequent Flyer Miles with Car Rentals

In the good old days,'' generous amounts of frequent flyer miles were awarded to travelers for each car rental. Today, those generous rewards have disappeared for the most part, and most car rental companies impose a tax on the traveler for the small amount of frequent flyer miles awarded At the time of writing this book, that penalty is restricted to travelers requesting frequent flyer miles and does not apply to those who request hotel points. As far as we can tell, no car rental agency shines in awarding frequent flyer miles (usually a maximum of fifty miles per day, which is worth less than a dollar and for which you may be charged 0.50 ), so shop around for the best price or remain loyal to the company that offers you the best service. Occasionally a car rental agency will have a special bonus offer, such as 500-1,500 miles with the rental, but you may be required to request a special code number when booking or present a certificate at the car rental counter when picking up the...

Keep Frequent Flyer Miles Ready

I once needed an on-the-spot ticket to Toronto and was amazed when Continental offered me a 25,000-mile saver award without charge (other than a 29 tax and security fee) when I called the airline's One Pass frequent flyer desk from my cell phone at the airport baggage check-in desk. Want to ensure that you get exceptional value even when flying without advance notice Keep sufficient frequent flyer miles at the ready. On most major airlines, an award ticket can be requested within two hours of a flight, either without charge or for a nominal expediting fee (typically 50 to 100). Rules for requesting award tickets within twenty-one days of departure may vary significantly from airline to airline, so check with the frequent flyer desk as soon as you know about a possible need (or better yet, an anticipated need). With few exceptions (such as Northwest and Continental Airlines saver awards), frequent flyer programs for the major U.S. carriers do not require a Saturday night stay in the...

Earning Frequent Flyer Miles with Codeshare and Alliance Partners

When flying on an airline partner within North America, you will almost always be eligible to earn frequent flyer miles in your preferred program (actual or partner airline) unless your ticket was purchased from a consol-idator. However, the rules for earning frequent flyer miles when flying on an international partner are complex. (Refer to Chapter 10 for details regarding earning frequent flyer miles when flying with an international partner.) On routes outside North America, miles earned on a non-U.S. partner airline will frequently not be eligible for frequent flyer miles or bonus miles if you purchased a discounted nonre-fundable ticket, unless the ticket reservation was made with your preferred airline, which purchases a certain portion of seats on the partner's aircraft in a codesharing arrangement. Given the complexity of alliance and codeshare rules, we recommend a careful review of your preferred frequent flyer program's fine print'' in the most recent membership brochure,...

Why Using Frequent Flyer Miles Is More Important Than Ever for All Travelers

As will be discussed in this chapter, using frequent flyer miles has had the greatest value for travelers seeking to travel for less in business or first class or who need to travel at the last minute. However, using frequent flyer miles also offers significant benefits for travelers who use advance-purchase nonrefundable tickets on major airlines 1. Nonrefundable (revenue) tickets are worthless if not used within one year of the date of purchase. If you need to cancel or change your ticketed schedule, you must do so prior to the initial flight's scheduled departure time. When rebooking either with the same or a different itinerary a 100 change fee (higher for international or if booking through a travel agent) will apply. However, if you decide to cancel an award ticket and will not fly within a year, you simply redeposit the miles into your account for a fee that is almost always less than 100, and then can rebook anytime in the future. Some airlines allow you to change dates and...

The Two Tiers for Frequent Flyer Redemption Standard and Premium

Most of the major airlines' frequent flyer programs have two tiers of awards saver awards, which require fewer miles, but for which fewer seats Another angle to requesting a premium award is to check the availability of a saver award in business or first class, which often costs the same or less in frequent flyer miles than a premium award ticket

Watch for Airline Frequent Flyer Mile Specials

Any traveler who is committed to maximizing mileage must at least scan the regular newsletter from his frequent flyer program(s) carefully to benefit from special bonus-earning opportunities. For example, bonus miles may be offered to travelers flying a new route following entry of a new competitor or during slow months (typically January through March). To be informed of the best frequent flyer opportunities as they occur, sign up for a free weekly e-zine at Traveltactics.com. For travelers serious about the nuances of earning frequent flyer miles, the monthly magazine Inside Flyer provides in-depth analysis of various programs and issues pertinent to frequent flyers, as well as detailed information regarding bonus opportunities and partners for every major program. Annual subscriptions cost 45 to 60 for 12 monthly editions. To subscribe, call 719-597-8880 or 800-767-8896, or visit their Web site at Webflyer.com. New subscribers are frequently eligible for bonus frequent flyer miles,...

Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles

Using frequent flyer miles from an airline that does not require a Saturday night stay when redeeming a saver award is perhaps the simplest and quickest way to save when you don't want to This won't work on Continental and its partner Northwest, however, as they do require a weekend stayover in your destination when you cash in a 25,000-mile saver award. All airlines will waive capacity controls on redemption of awards when passengers are willing to use double miles. A better alternative to spending double miles may be to use a premium award for business or first class on that same flight, which frequently costs less than the double miles required for a coach-class saver award. For details regarding use of frequent flyer miles, refer to Chapter 11.

Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles

Flyer miles is for premium (business- or first-class) travel especially for international travel, where flight times typically exceed eight hours and frequently include overnight travel. There are two ways that frequent flyer miles can be used for domestic or international upgrades 2. By purchasing a coach-class ticket and using a smaller amount of frequent flyer miles to upgrade. For example, a United saver award in business class from the United States to Australia may be 90,000 miles or can be obtained with 50,000 miles in conjunction with an advance-purchase, nonrefundable, roundtrip ticket priced around 1,600. The benefit of the latter is that the traveler will earn miles because he is flying with a paid (or revenue) ticket. In some cases, frequent flyer miles cannot be used for an upgrade in conjunction with the cheapest nonrefundable airfares, but that doesn't mean you need to purchase a full coach fare to benefit from the miles-for-upgrade option. For It is extremely important...

The Affinity Card Advantage

Those four roundtrip business-class tickets on British Airways were all free, courtesy of Diners Club, which I use for all travel expenses and anything else I can. As an affinity card, Diners Club has had a standing annual promotion with British Airways in which earned miles that is, those miles banked in a Diners Rewards account until needed are doubled if converted into British Airways frequent flyer miles during the specified period. Credit cards allow users to carry a balance that may be paid off over several years, while charge cards require complete payment within one to two months of each transaction. But beware Carrying a balance on frequent flyer affinity credit cards can incur significant interest costs.

Getting the best deal on your airfare

Business travelers who need the flexibility to buy their tickets at the last minute and change their itineraries at a moment's notice and who want to get home before the weekend pay (or at least their companies pay) the premium rate, known as the full fare. But if you can book your ticket far in advance, can stay over Saturday night, and are willing to travel midweek (Tues, Wed, or Thurs), you can qualify for the least expensive price usually a fraction of the full fare. On most flights, even the shortest hops within the United States, the full fare is close to 1,000 or more, but a 7- or 14-day advance-purchase ticket may cost less than half of that amount. Obviously, planning ahead pays.

Surfing For Airfares

Each has different business deals with the airlines and may offer different fares on the same flights, so it's wise to shop around. Expedia and Travelocity will also send you e-mail notification when a cheap fare becomes available to your favorite destination. Of the smaller travel agency websites, SideStep (www.sidestep. com) has received the best reviews from Frommer's authors. It's a browser add-on that purports to search 140 sites at once but in reality only beats competitors' fares as often as other sites do. Also remember to check airline websites, especially those for low-fare carriers such as EasyJet or Ryanair, whose fares are often misreported or simply missing from travel agency websites. Even with major airlines, you can often shave a few bucks from a fare by booking directly through the airline and avoiding a travel agency's transaction fee. But you'll get these discounts only by booking online Most airlines now offer online-only fares that even their phone agents know...

Getting to San Francisco

The Internet has made it possible for anyone to play travel agent. You want to compare flight schedules and ticket prices You want to take a virtual tour of a hotel You want to purchase theater tickets online It's getting easier by the day. Or would you rather let your local travel agent make the calls If you do use a travel agent, make sure the agent has in-depth knowledge of the destination and isn't just reserving the hotel that will give him the largest commission. In-laws of mine (who shall remain nameless) let their travel agent recommend the hotel on their last trip to San Francisco, and it turned out to be a dump because the agent hadn't done her homework. The pitiful looks on their faces made me want to hit them over their heads with San Francisco For Dummies, of course.

Getting a Visa in Hong Kong

Almost any travel agent can obtain one for you or you can apply directly to the Visa Office of the People's Republic of China ( 852-3413 2300 7th fl, Lower Block, China Resources Centre, 26 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai S 9am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri). Visas processed here in one two three days cost HKS400 300 150. Double six-month multiple one-year multiple visas are HKS220 400 600 (plus HK 150 250 if you require express urgent service). Be aware that US and UK passport holders must pay considerably more for their visas. You must supply two photos, which can be taken at photo booths in the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and at the visa office for HK 35.

Information Elsewhere In The City

From spring to autumn hotel reservations in overcrowded Venice should be made as far in advance as possible, either through a travel agent or independently. The tourist office (see below) does not make reservations. Azienda di Promozione Turistica, San Marco 71F ( 041 5298711), is open daily 10am to 6pm. Posters around town with exhibit and concert schedules are more helpful. Ask for a schedule of the month's special events and an updated list of museum and church hours because these can change erratically and often.

Hitting the slopes Arapahoe Basin

Rf uw Local snowboarders have numerous reasons for adoring the steep little mountain they call A-Basin. The Arapahoe Basin Ski Area ( 888-ARA-e Jgg p, PAHOE or 970-468-0718 www.arapahoebasin.com) has free parking right near the base, so you won't need a travel agent to get from your car to the chairlift. The 13,050-foot summit the highest inbounds terrain of any North American ski area leaves flatlanders breathless but lets the area stay open into summer for die-hard boarders. And, finally, the terrain is a hoot. A-Basin is less than one-tenth the size of Vail yet has as much really steep terrain as you'll find in Vail's entirety. When not hiking the chutes on the area's East Wall, skilled boarders gravitate to the steep gullies and glades below the Pallavinci Lift. Intermediates can cruise the gentle bowls nearer the summit. Beginners are relegated to the lower mountain or Keystone. Even the trail map seems relaxed and familiar, as befits an area for locals. It advises that the...

Sampling the citys department stores

Two of Paris's major department stores, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, offer visitors a 10 percent discount coupon, good in most departments. If your hotel or travel agent doesn't give you one of these coupons (they're sometimes attached to a city map), you can ask for them at the stores' welcome desks the clerks speak English.

When a New Fare Beats the Fare Youve Already Paid

Let's imagine that you have paid for your air ticket, either online or by calling the airline or a travel agent, and you subsequently notice a special lower Internet fare. You must call the airline or travel agent direct to request the lower fare if the reservations agent cannot bring it up in his general computer system as a published rather than Web-only fare, your previously purchased ticket cannot be reissued at the new lower special price. However, if you notice a lower airfare in a newspaper advertisement as part of a sale, and those seats can be found by an airline reservations agent, the airline will reissue a ticket that was originally purchased on the Web, unless it was purchased as part of a Web-only special or white label'' fare and is designated as nonrefundable and nonchangeable.

What Is a Consolidator

Consolidators are travel agents who purchase tickets direct from an airline at an agreed-upon discount price in return for promising a guaranteed volume, which they accomplish by exclusively promoting the airline and its destinations. Unlike the traditional travel agent, who earns his living from service fees charged to clients and commissions from the airlines and tour operators, the consolidator either marks up the ticket price from its wholesale cost or receives an inflated rebate (or refund) on the regular retail cost of the ticket. Either way, the consolidator will usually make more per ticket sold than the traditional travel agent selling published airfares. While the majority of consolidators sell exclusively through traditional travel agents and do not work with the general public, a significant number do sell direct to the public. Some consolidators are tour companies that package the various components of travel, including airfare plus hotels and other components of an...

Package Vacations

Package options to Freeport and Grand Bahama are not as readily available as those to Nassau and New Providence. Several independent operators offer packages to one or two designated hotels. Other than that you'll need a creative travel agent's help to build your own package. Perhaps the strongest provider is Princess Vacations, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They own Resort & Casino, and have arranged exclusive charter services with Laker Airways Ltd. This means they can offer package rates other suppliers can't even meet, let alone beat. The Royal Oasis Golf Resort & Casino and its packages are described in detail in the Where To Stay section of this chapter (page 125). Contact your travel agent, or call Princess direct at s 800-545-1300. www.princess-vacations.com.

Getting There Away

Because of the requirement to visit in a group of four, most people visit on a tour arranged through a travel agent in Leh. Expect to pay US 60 per day, including accommodation. Alternatively, you can arrange the permit through a travel agent and then travel independently by jeep or bus - see p376. However, soldiers have been known to turn back groups of less than four at the Khardung La, even with the correct permit.

Transportation Entry Details Entry Requirements

Martin Sint Maarten are simple. US citizens entering for three months or less need to show either a passport or a certified birth certificate with a photo ID. Canadian citizens entering for 14 days or less must show a passport, birth certificate or naturalization certificate. Canadian vacationers staying over 14 days but less than 30 days will be issued a certificate of admission. Visitors also must show an onward or return ticket. Citizens ofother countries should check with their travel agent or the tourist bureau for admission requirements.

Special Dietary Or Menu Requests

Though many cruise lines these days offer vegetarian and low-fat meals as a standard feature, you should still arrange any special dietary needs through your travel agent at the time you make your reservation. Some lines offer kosher menus, and all will have vegetarian, low-fat, low-salt, and sugar-free options available.

Travel Insurance At A Glance

There are several kinds of travel insurance trip-cancellation, medical, and lost-luggage coverage. First of all, however, you should check your existing insurance policies, since you're likely to have partial or complete coverage. If you do need additional coverage, ask your travel agent about a comprehensive package. The cost of travel insurance varies widely, depending on the cost and length of your trip, your age and overall health, and the type of trip you're taking. Insurance for extreme sports or adventure travel, for example, will cost more than coverage for a cruise.

Electronic Travel Authority ETA

Many visitors can get an ETA through any International Air Transport Association (IATA)-registered travel agent or overseas airline. They make the application direct when you buy a ticket and issue the ETA, which replaces the usual visa stamped in your passport - it's common practice for travel agents to charge a fee, in the vicinity of US 25, for issuing an ETA. This system is available to passport holders of 32 countries, including the UK, USA and Canada, most European and Scandinavian countries, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Korea.

So What Does This Mean for You in Your Quest to Get the Lowest Fare

What this all means for you, the traveler, is that an airline ticket price is determined by a vast array of variables, including class of service (coach, business, first) as well as fare category (including 3-, 7-, 14-, or 21-day advance purchase, whether you will stay in your destination over a Saturday night, low or high season, whether purchased direct from the airline or from a travel agent or consolidator, and so on). When overall demand is lower, airlines may start a sale to boost cash flow. Conversely, seats for flights departing at peak times (such as Monday morning and Friday afternoon) will typically be higher because these are preferred flight times for business travelers.

Getting There Departing

Guadalajara, and less often from Acapulco. Here are the local numbers of some international carriers Aeromexico (& 755 554-2018 or 755 554-2019), Alaska Airlines (& 755 554-8457), America West (& 755 554-8634), Continental (& 755 554-4219), and Mexicana (& 755 554-2208 or 755 554-2209). Ask your travel agent about charter flights and packages, which are becoming the most efficient and least expensive way to get here.

Getting to New York City

Ou can get to New York in a variety of ways, depending on where you're starting from. Choosing the best mode of transit for your needs and preference depends on distance, convenience, and cost. Are you willing to arrange your own transportation Or would you prefer to have someone else make all the arrangements (such as a travel agent or tour company) When you arrive, do you want to explore the city by yourself Or do you want the company of a group In this chapter, I give you the pros and cons of each option.

Dahlak Islands Wh AiV

It sounds like another tropical paradise on Earth but it's certainly not. Don't be confused the Dahlak Islands are not the Bahamas. Those searching for room service, fully fledged resorts, all-night carousing and luxurious pampering were badly advised by their travel agent. The only superlatives that spring to mind are 'austere', 'rough', 'desolate'. If you come prepared, you'll enjoy this sense of austerity.

The Internet Opening a Whole New World for Travelers

Imagine calling a travel agent every morning for two months and asking him to price the same itinerary as you patiently wait for a bargain airfare to emerge. You would drive him crazy Yet that's what you can now do on your own in a matter of minutes, thanks to the Internet. There is no question that the Internet has revolutionized airfare searches, giving the industry outsider'' the same access to flight information, pricing, and availability that only travel agents enjoyed up until end of the twentieth century. It is essentially a huge marketplace, where you can find travel bargains, special discounts, last-minute opportunities, and easy ways to compare prices. Online travel sites have been one of the real success stories of the Internet, thanks to rapidly improving technologies and competitive travel agent companies that relentlessly focus on creating user-friendly Web sites. Now, with a few clicks of the mouse, you can The Internet also offers at least three distinct advantages...

An Introduction To Shipboard Dining

Spa treatments range in price from about 60 to over 150, plus the 10 to 15 tip that's expected (some lines add this on automatically) and can be charged to your onboard account. Celebrity and Windstar allow you to pre-book spa packages with your travel agent, but appointment times cannot be reserved until you board the ship.

Selecting A Dive Operator

Question everything when looking for the dive operation with which you're going to spend your hard-earned holiday time and money. Get satisfactory answers about the operation you are planning to dive with, the type of equipment, boat and its maintenance, divemasters, insurance coverage, cost of diving, the knowledge of the travel agent you are booking with. Check the Internet, and send plenty of emails.

Online Travel Sites for Business

The big three online travel agencies (Orbitz.com, Expedia.com, and Travelo-city.com) are now courting companies large and small, to have their business travelers book through the site rather than dealing with traditional travel agencies. Each of the three enables negotiated rates to be input into the system, and promotes unique features such as the ability to display corporate negotiated fares and rates integrated with the Web site's regular fares and rates into one combined screen display. Any of the three may also offer hotel discounts the Web site has negotiated (typically 15-20 percent off rack rates). McDonald's selecting Orbitz.com as its corporate travel agent in 2003 was the first instance of a major company moving into the online travel world in a big way expect many more to follow. One benefit of having business travelers book online is research showing lower overall fares when the traveler is presented with multiple options on a screen versus having a travel agent do the...

Deposits Cancellation Policies

You'll be asked by your travel agent to make a deposit, either of a fixed amount or of some percentage of your total cruise cost. You'll then receive a receipt in the mail from the cruise line. You'll be asked to pay the remaining fare usually no later than 2 months before your departure date.

Getting Around the United States

BY PLANE Some large airlines, Northwest, for example, offer travelers on their transatlantic or transpacific flights special discount tickets under the name Visit USA ( VUSA ), allowing mostly one-way travel from one U.S. destination to another at very low prices. These discount tickets are not on sale in the United States and must be purchased abroad in conjunction with your international ticket. This system is the best, easiest, and fastest way to see the United States at low cost. You should obtain information well in advance from your travel agent or the office of the airline concerned, since the conditions attached to these discount tickets can be changed without advance notice. of passes, covering 6 geographic regions. All of the passes allow for 15 or 30 days of unlimited travel on Amtrak ( 800 USA-RAIL www. amtrak.com). The Northeast, which includes Washington, D.C., in its coverage from Virginia to Montreal, Canada, also offers a 5-day ( 149) pass, along with its 15-day (...

American FlyAAWay Vacations

They offers air-inclusive vacation packages to the Cove Eleuthera from most major US cities, connecting to American Eagle in Miami. Typically, a five-night package for two - no meal plan - from Atlanta will cost about 1,200 for two persons, maybe a little less, depending on the time of year. Break that down and you see that you're paying around 600 per person, including airfare, which represents great value for money. Rates from other gateway cities are comparable. Facilities include tennis courts, a fresh-water swimming pool, and ocean fishing. Accommodations are in duplex-style cabins surrounded by tropical gardens. These are comfortably furnished, and enjoy either a garden or ocean view. There are no telephones or televisions in the rooms these are available in the main building. If you're looking for a real getaway you'll enjoy the feeling of being beyond reach. You can book through your travel agent, or call American FlyAAWay, s 800-321-2121, www.aavacations.com.

Vacation Planning Online

There are online bargains to be found it's just a matter of knowing where to look. But keep in mind that a good travel agent will often have first-hand knowledge of the popular resorts and will be able to recommend good hotels, restau- (packages sold through travel agents, but you can visit their website to see what they offer)

Package Tour Paradise

There is a variety of tour packages available from travel agents in all Western countries, and a number of online booking agents also offer special flight and hotel deals. If you want more than just a straightforward combo package, a good travel agent is essential - they can negotiate better prices at the larger hotels, handle Air Tahiti bookings for your domestic flights once in French Polynesia and have your schedule finalised before you arrive. In addition to the traditional travel operators, there are agencies that specialise in diving tours. These packages typically include flights, accommodation, diving fee and diving tours.

Necropoli di Pantalica

The site is a difficult place to reach unless you have your own transport. If you don't, your best bet is to ask at the tourist office in Syracuse or at a travel agent to see if any tours of the area are available. These deals can come and go - see p222 for details of tour operators.

Finding the best rate

Ii Travel off-season and on weekends. Room rates change with the season and as occupancy rates rise and fall. You're less likely to receive discount rates if a hotel is close to full, but if it's nearly empty, you may be able to negotiate a significant discount. Expensive hotels catering to business travelers are most crowded on weekdays and usually offer big discounts for weekend stays. ii Use a travel agent. A travel agent may be able to negotiate a better room rate than you could get by yourself. The hotel gives the agent a discount in exchange for steering his business toward that hotel.

Taking Advantage Of The Internet

And as we said above, not all the sites accept bookings, and while you may find special deals at the sites, these are usually the same deals your travel agent can get you. When Internet-only deals are offered, they tend to come from agencies rather than the cruise lines themselves. Tip If you do find a better rate online than your land-based agent is offering, you can always ask your agent to match the price.

If you must rent Getting the best rate

When making your rental reservations, don't forget to mention member-'ikiflM ship in AAA, AARP, frequent-flier programs, and trade unions. These usu- Hy ally entitle you to discounts ranging from 5 to 30 percent. Ask your travel agent to check any and all of these rates. And check to see whether your rental earns you points on your frequent-flier account most rentals are worth at least 500 miles.

Cutting Costs but Not the

If you can travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you may find cheaper flights to your destination. When you ask about airfares, see whether you can get a cheaper rate by flying on a different day. For more tips on getting good fares, see Chapter 6. ii Try a package tour. For many destinations, you can book airfare, hotel, ground transportation, and even some sightseeing just by making one call to a travel agent or packager, for a price much less than if you put the trip together yourself. (See Chapter 6 for more on package tours.)

Booking A Mainstream Cruise

If you don't know a good travel agent already, try to find one through your friends, preferably those who have cruised before. For the most personal service, look for an agent in your local area, and for the most knowledgeable service, look for an agent who has cruising experience. It's perfectly okay to ask an agent questions about his or her personal knowledge of the product, such as whether he or she has ever cruised in Alaska or with one of the lines you're considering. The easiest way to be sure the agent is experienced in booking cruises is to work with an agent at a cruise-only agency (meaning that the whole agency specializes in cruises) or to find an agent who is a cruise specialist (meaning he or she specializes in cruises). If you are calling a full-service travel agency, ask for the cruise desk, which is where you'll find these specialists. A good and easy rule of thumb to maximize your chances of finding an agent who has cruise experience and who won't rip you off is to...

Booking Air Travel Through The Cruise Line

Except during special promotions, airfare to the port of embarkation is rarely included in the cruise rates, so you'll have to purchase airfare on your own or buy it as a package with your cruise through your travel agent or online cruise site. You can usually find information on these air sea programs in the back of cruise line brochures, along with prices. The benefits of booking through the cruise line is that round-trip transfers between the airport and the ship are usually included, and as big customers of the airlines, the cruise lines tend to get decent (if not the best) discounted airfare rates. Also, the cruise line will know your airline schedule, and in the event of delayed flights and other unavoidable snafus, will be able to do more to make sure you and the other people on your flight get on the ship if you've booked your air transportation separately, you're on your own. The only time it may pay to book your own air transportation is if you are using frequent-flier miles...

Finding the Best Room at the Best Rate

The rack rate is the maximum rate a hotel can charge for a room. That's the rate you get if you walk in off the street at the peak of high season and ask for a room for the night when the hotel is almost full. You see these rates printed on the fire emergency-exit diagrams posted on the back of your hotel-room door. Chains are happy to charge you the rack rate, but you can almost always do better. Perhaps the best way to avoid paying the rack rate is surprisingly simple Just ask for a cheaper or discounted rate. You may be pleasantly surprised. Also, a travel agent may be able to negotiate a better price than you can get by yourself but usually only with hotels that belong to a chain. (That's because the hotel often gives the agent a discount in exchange for steering his or her business toward that hotel.) Exploring package tours, which offer both airfare and hotel at a discount, is also worthwhile. (See Chapter 5 for more on this.)

Getting Around Russia By Train

The most pleasant, romantic, and historical way to travel around Russia is by train. The Moscow-St. Petersburg route is the most frequented and best maintained. Travelers choose between a 8-hour night trip in a comfortable sleeping compartment, and a 5-hour day trip (prices run from 45- 85). Arranging train tickets before you arrive, for example through a travel agent, is the safest way to go. Most hotels can arrange train tickets to major cities.

Travellers With Disabilities

Sadly, the Canary Islands is not geared towards smooth travel for disabled people. Most restaurants, shops and tourist sights are not equipped to handle wheelchairs, although the more expensive accommodation options will have rooms with appropriate facilities. Transport is tricky, although you should be able to organise a specially modified hire car from one of the international hire companies (with advance warning). In fact, advance warning is always a good idea start with your travel agent and see what they can offer in terms of information and assistance. In the archipelago's cities, such as Las Palmas and Santa Cruz, some buildings (eg museums or government offices) have Braille In the UK, Holiday Care ( 0845 124 99 71 www .holidaycare.org.uk) can send you a fact sheet on hotels and other accommodation in the Canary Islands that cater for the disabled, as well as travel agents who can help organise trips. Another helpful source is Enable Holidays (www .enableholidays.com), which...

Gay Lesbian Travelers

Many gays and lesbians visit Belize from the USA, and businesses cater for them. Maya Travel Services (www.mayatravelservices.com) is a gay-friendly travel agent that organizes custom-designed itineraries. For dive trips to Belize (and other places), try Undersea Expeditions (www.underseax.com), the Gay & Lesbian Scuba Dive Travel Experts.

Private Wildlife Reserves

Because of the personalised safari attention, rangers can train you in the art of wildlife watching before you head to Kruger for a self-guided trip. There are hundreds of operators running tours into the private parks so it's worth talking to a travel agent to help you find a good deal. The better-known reserves include those within the large Sabie Sand Game Reserve (http sabi.krugerpark.co.za), Londolozi Private Game Reserve ((U 011-119 4300 www.londolozi.com all-inclusive r from US 1100 (gl l ) and Mala Mala Game Reserve ( 011-442 2267 www.malamala.com all-inclusive rfrom US 800 (S) I ). There are many more lodges and smaller reserves in this area. Hoedspruit has emerged as the gateway to the private lodges.

Viva la Internet Revolution

The thorough traveler will check to see if he can find a better rate at other online travel agent sites such as Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, or Onetravel.com. Alternatively, each car rental company's own Web site must be checked if the pick-up location is other than at an airport.

Getting Around the US

BY PLANE Some large airlines (for example, Northwest and Delta) offer travelers on their transatlantic or transpacific flights special discount tickets under the name Visit USA, allowing mostly one-way travel from one U.S. destination to another at very low prices. These discount tickets are not on sale in the United States and must be purchased abroad in conjunction with your international ticket. This system is the best, easiest, and fastest way to see the United States at low cost. You should obtain information well in advance from your travel agent or the office of the airline concerned, since the conditions attached to these discount tickets can be changed without advance notice. BY TRAIN International visitors (excluding Canada) can also buy a USA Rail Pass, good for 15 or 30 days of unlimited travel on Amtrak (& 800 USA-RAIL www.amtrak.com). The pass is available through many overseas travel agents. Prices in 2005 for a 15-day pass Terminal in New York City (& 212 9710492). The...

Tps Prepare to Be Fingerprinted

And fastest way to see the United States at low cost. You should obtain information well in advance from your travel agent or the office of the airline concerned, since the conditions attached to these discount tickets can be changed without advance notice. BY TRAIN International visitors can also buy a USA Railpass, good for 15 or 30 days of unlimited travel on Amtrak (& 800 USA-RAIL www. amtrak.com). The pass is available through many foreign travel agents. At press time, a 15-day pass costs 295 off-peak, 440 peak a 30-day pass costs 385 off-peak, 550 peak. With a foreign passport, you can also buy passes at some Amtrak offices in the United States, including locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Reservations are generally required and should be made for each part of your trip as early as possible. Amtrak also offers an Air Rail Travel Plan that allows you to travel

Saving On Your Hotel Room

Rates can sometimes be bargained down, but it depends on the place. The best bargaining can be had at hotels and resorts. If business is slow and you book directly, some places may give you at least part of the commission they'd normally pay a travel agent. Most hotels and resorts also have local rates for islanders, which they may extend to visitors during slow periods. It never hurts to ask about discounted or local rates a host of special rates are available for the military, seniors, members of the travel industry, families, corporate travelers, and long-term stays. Also ask about package deals, which might include a car rental or free breakfast for the same price as a room by itself. Hotels and resorts offer packages for everyone golfers, tennis players, families, honeymooners, and more (see Packages for the Independent Traveler, earlier in this chapter). I've found that it's worth the extra few cents to make a local call to the hotel sometimes the local reservations person knows...

Rafting on the Indus Zanskar

Little-explored landscape is the ultimate getaway for the traveler in search of escape rent a bike and take time to explore. You need to arrange an Inner Line Permit in Leh (which can be done through any travel agent or through your hotel), and technically you must be traveling in a group of at least four people. Hire a jeep with driver (count on spending Rs 7,000 160 for 3 days), and set off early in the day. Shambha-La Hotel (reviewed above) offers all-inclusive tours to the Nubra Valley, with accommodations at their own camping site. Otherwise, your best option for a comfortable night's stay is probably the village of Tegar, along the Nubra River, where Hotel Yarab Tso (reservations in Leh & 01982 25-2480, -2016, or -2095 doubles Rs 1,850 43, including all meals) has clean accommodations with attached Western bathrooms.

Recommended Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required to enter Jamaica unless you have visited any of the following locations within the previous six weeks Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Dominican Republic, Haiti or Trinidad and Tobago. Check with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB www.visitjamaia .com) or your travel agent before departure to see what current regulations may be. Yellow fever is not a threat in Jamaica, but immunization may be required of travelers arriving from infected areas, chiefly in Africa and South America.

Independent Vs Group Tour

To help things along, it's a good idea to consider using a specialist travel agency to arrange your visa and to make some of your transport and accommodation bookings. Most will be happy to work on any itinerary. It's also possible to arrange guides and transfers - the prices can sometimes be better than those you'd be able to negotiate yourself (with or without language skills). Using a tour agency to buy train tickets only, though, can work out much more expensive than if you were to do it yourself in Russia check prices carefully and only consider doing this if you absolutely must travel on certain dates and want a specific class of ticket. Once in Russia, excursions and trips can be booked through agencies in all large cities elsewhere, it's usually not too difficult to find locals ready to escort you on nature expeditions, treks and the like. Many interesting places are far off the beaten path and the best way to reach them is often through a local guide or travel agent. We have...

Zo Its Your First Time Cruising

Documents It is the general policy of all cruise lines not to issue your documents (i.e., cruise tickets) until about three to four weeks prior to your embarkation. Consult the brochure of the line you select to be sure what the timetable is. If you don't receive them within a few days of the latest scheduled time, then contact your travel agent (if applicable) or the cruise line. Some lines will agree to send documents early but usually charge a hefty fee for doing so. Along with your tickets, you will receive lots of other goodies, including more brochures to answer your questions and information on shore excursions. These days many lines allowyou to book in advance via the Internet or other means, so you may already have this information by the time you get your documents.

Finding The Best Fare

If cabins are still not filled up as the season begins, the cruise lines will start marketing last-minute deals, usually through their top-producing travel agents. One couple we heard about booked a last-minute 12-day Princess Mediterranean cruise for 599 per person last year. Keep in mind, though, that lastminute deals require a certain amount of flexibility. Your desired sailing date may sell out, and even if it doesn't, you will have to take whatever cabin is still available. Also, you may have trouble getting a good last-minute deal on your airfare (our friends ended up adding on 800 each for air). And most lastminute deals are non-refundable. You can also save by booking a cruise in the shoulder months of April, early May, and November or early December, when It's a little-known fact that if the price of your cabin category goes down after you've booked it, some cruise lines will make up the difference, in effect giving you the lowest rates. The cruise lines won't call you with...

Better too much than not enough

Traveling between mid-September and mid-April should save you money on your airfare and accommodations. The days leading up to and just after Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Easter are the exceptions, and prices jump up during those periods. (See Chapter 3 for more info on Scotland's seasons.) i Travel midweek. Most everybody wants to travel on the weekends, but those willing to travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday can usually find cheaper flights. When inquiring about airfares, ask if you get a cheaper rate if you fly on a different day. Also remember that staying over a Saturday night can occasionally cut airfares by half. i Try a package deal. Many people believe that planning a trip entirely on their own is less expensive, but they're not necessarily correct. Travel packages can save not only money but also time. A single phone call to a travel agent or package tour operator can take care of your flight, accommodations, transportation within...

Theres A Man In My Luggage

Buying a bus ticket south through a travel agent on Th Khao San might seem convenient, but too often it ends in tears. Buses are often late, or they depart as scheduled only to drive around town for three hours picking up other passengers. Other common woes include buying a VIP ticket and then being picked up in a jalopy or buying a boat and ferry combination that no one will honour during the second leg of the trip.

Large Package Tour Companies

Two major tour and cruise-ship companies dominate the Alaska package-tour market with vertically integrated operations that allow them to take care of everything you'll experience in Alaska with tight quality control. Each of the companies also offers tours as short as a couple of hours to independent travelers who want to combine their own exploring with a more structured experience. All can be booked through any travel agent. Other cruise lines also offer land tours, but typically only for their own passengers. If you will cruise to Alaska and want an escorted land tour, check for deals with your cruise line first. Holland America Tours The Holland America cruise line is the giant of Alaska tourism. Holland America purchased other services to help build

Places To Stay Eat

With packages typically including room, entertainment, all meals and drinks, even airfare - usually at competitive prices - all-inclusive resorts here can be an extremely attractive value. Owned by various international (mostly Euro To get the best deals, consult with tour operators or a travel agent. Individual hotel or chain websites are good places to check for last-minute deals. While all fall into the price category, keep in mind that all or most of your food and entertainment is included, which can amount to spectacular values.

Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary

Forest Rest Houses (dm Indian foreigner Rs 40 80, d from Rs 150 400) These basic dorms and comfortable doubles are at Dangmal and Ekakula and have solar lights, mosquito nets and shared bathrooms. You need to bring your own drinking water and food, which staff will cook for you. The haphazard divisional forest officer ( 06729272460 Rajnagar S 10am-5pm Mon-Sat, closed 2nd Sat in month) is the only place to make bookings, which must be paid in advance. These complications make going through a travel agent preferable.

Getting to know Londons train stations

BritRail passes are sold only outside the United Kingdom therefore, you must purchase them before you arrive in England. You can order the passes through a travel agent or by contacting RailEurope ( 877-2572887 in the U.S. or 800-361-RAIL in Canada www.raileurope.com). The various kinds of BritRail passes are

Preparing for Your Trip

Citizens of all other countries must have (1) a valid passport that expires at least 6 months later than the scheduled end of their visit to the United States, and (2) a tourist visa, which may be obtained without charge from any U.S. consulate. OBTAINING A VISA To obtain a visa, the traveler must submit a completed application form (either in person or by mail) with a 1 -inch-square photo, and must demonstrate binding ties to a residence abroad. Usually you can obtain a visa at once or within 24 hours, but it may take longer during the summer rush from June through August. If you cannot go in person, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for directions on applying by mail. Your travel agent or airline office may also be able to provide you with visa applications and instructions. The U.S. consulate or embassy that issues your visa will determine whether you will be issued a multiple-or single-entry visa and any restrictions regarding the length of your stay.

Tips Peak Time on the Reef

For information on dive regions and operators, try the state tourism marketing boards' websites (see Visitor Information earlier in this chapter). Tourism Queensland's website www. queenslandholidays.com.au has links to most dive operators working the Great Barrier Reef. If you know where you want to dive, you may obtain an even more detailed list of operators by bypassing the big tourism boards and contacting the local tourist office for a list of local dive operators. The Queensland Dive Tourism Association, Dive Queensland (& 07 4051 1510 fax 07 4051 1519 www.dive-queensland.com.au) requires its member operators to abide by a code of ethics. Its website has a list of members and the services they offer. Another good source is Diversion Dive Travel & Training (& 07 4039 0200 www. diversionoz.com), a Cairns-based travel agent that specializes in dive holidays on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as in other good dive spots in Australia.

Specialized Travel Resources

Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (& 212 447-7284 www. sath.org annual membership fees 45 adults, 30 seniors and students), which offers a wealth of travel resources for all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services and the Discounts abound for seniors, beginning with the 10 -off-your-air-fare deal that most airlines offer to anyone age 62 or older. In addition, a number of airlines have clubs you can join and coupon books you can buy that may or may not increase your savings beyond that base 10 discount, depending on how often you travel, where you're going, and how long you're going to stay. Always ask an airline whether it has a club for seniors or sells coupon books, either of which often qualifies mature travelers for discounted tickets. Many hotels offer senior discounts. Choice Hotels (Clarion Hotels, Quality Inns, Comfort Inns, and Sleep Inns), for...

Using Low Cost Airlines

For those road warriors who cannot plan and purchase tickets at least seven days in advance, low-cost airlines can help save some big bucks. Since low-cost airlines' walk up'' fares airline-speak for last-minute fares are typically 50 to 70 percent cheaper than those of major airlines (even for nonstop flights), checking out low-cost airlines' Web offerings is worthwhile. Even if a low-fare carrier doesn't travel to your desired city, check it out for nearby alternative cities. Lists of the low-cost airlines serving North America as well as Europe are provided in Appendices C and D, respectively. Major airlines frequently match the prices of a competing low-cost carrier on identical routes, though sometimes only around the specific departure times of the competing low-cost carrier. The most efficient way to find such fares on major airlines is by surfing the Internet, including visiting the sites for low-cost airlines that service your nearby airport(s). Finally, Bestfares.com posts...

Why Low Cost Airlines Can Charge Lower Fares Than Major Airlines

The average amount of revenue major and low-cost airlines earn per mile transporting passengers is quite similar, typically being slightly higher for major airlines that also include first-class cabins. However, the biggest advantage low-cost airlines have over major airlines is significantly lower labor costs. Additional cost-saving benefits for low-cost airlines include factors such as purchasing new fuel-efficient aircraft, never providing meals, and using secondary airports which have cheaper landing fees and which are often less congested, thereby significantly decreasing operating expenses. After the September 11 tragedies, which coincided with a slumping economy, business travelers were forced to scale back on high-priced fares, and major airlines came under relentless attack from low-cost airlines, resulting in the bankruptcies of US Airways and United Airlines in 2002, followed by Hawaiian Airlines in 2003. American Airlines came within hours of declaring bankruptcy in 2003....

Getting There Away Air

Low-cost airlines also serve Austria. Ryan-air flies from London to Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg Air Berlin flies to Vienna from Germany and German Wings has limited services from D sseldorf and Stuttgart. Central European low-cost carrier Sky Europe flies to many destinations, including Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy and Poland. Be warned, however, that its 'Vienna' airport is far from the city - in Slovakia, actually. Major international airlines, reputable regional carriers and low-cost airlines flying to and from Austria include Air Berlin (code AB 0820-400 011 www.airberlin.com) Air France (code AF 01-50 222-2400 www.airfrance .com) Ryanair (code FR 0900-210 240 www.ryanair.com)

Fly the Low Cost Airlines

Value or low-cost airlines, such as Southwest, JetBlue, America West, America Trans Air (ATA), AirTran (different from ATA despite similar yet confusing names ), Frontier, and Spirit have made it possible for the traveling public to save billions of dollars. Currently, 75 percent of Americans have the option of flying on a low-cost airline, although some travelers may need to drive as much as two hours from their home to the airport or from their destination airport. Southwest has trailblazed this market niche for over two decades, with its impeccable safety record and consistently profitable operations serving to enhance the reputation of low-cost airlines. JetBlue, the best-funded airline startup ever, took the concept one step further, positioning itself as the low-cost airline with select frills, offering satellite television for every passenger and more leg room at most seats but no meals (even on cross-country trips) or first-class cabin. Still, it's much easier to pack a...

Why Going Standby Without a Ticket Is a Bad Idea

Let's first put to rest the one strategy you must not try. Major airlines recognize that it is relatively price-insensitive business travelers who most commonly need to travel at the last minute, and they will typically gouge these customers from whom they make a significant percentage of their profits. This is especially true in markets without competition from low-cost airlines. So, unless you are a senior traveler who can use coupons specifically geared to those over sixty-five years old fares that are promoted by select airlines on an occasional basis the idea of going to the airport to purchase a discounted standby ticket at the last minute is a myth Conversely, going standby when using a frequent flyer award ticket may be an excellent idea for the last-minute traveler refer to a later section of this chapter for more details. Finally, going standby using the return portion(s) of an advance-purchase, nonrefundable ticket at a cost of the 100 fee imposed by a major airline may be...

Tired of Regular Plane Food

You may want to request a special meal when booking on a major airline for a flight that will have meal service (low-cost airlines do not serve meals), which can usually be done up till twenty-four hours ahead of the departure time. Airlines spend more money per special meal versus regular meals, and special meals are often served before the regular meals (which can be especially beneficial if you are seated toward the back). Each airline offers several special meal options, ranging from vegetarian to kosher, low-fat to seafood. Any phone reservations agent will be able to list the possibilities and insert your request.

Consider Alternative Airports

Airfare prices on major airlines may soar for travelers wanting to stay more than thirty days. The traveler then has three options (a) Fly with a low-cost airline since they typically do not impose maximum stay restrictions, (b) purchase a ticket from a consolidator, or (c) purchase two cheap nonrefundable tickets whose outbound and return flights fall within a thirty-day period (known as back-to-back ticketing, refer to details in Chapter 3). The traveler uses only the outbound segments on both tickets for a roundtrip itin-erary the first ticket to travel to his destination, the second ticket to return. The return segments on both tickets may be discarded and never used, or used for future roundtrip travel. dramatically. For example, huge savings can be obtained by choosing Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) instead of Washington Dulles (IAD) or Ronald Reagan National (DCA) Newark (EWR) rather than La Guardia (LGA) or JFK Providence (PVD) rather than Boston (BOS) Oakland...

Train Or Plane From The Uk

In comparison, a flight from London to Brussels takes between 60 and 75 minutes, on top of which is time getting to and from the airports, check-in and waiting for luggage. Also, keep in mind if you're flying with a low-cost airline that you may leave and or arrive at secondary airports (such as Belgium's Charleroi, 55km south of Brussels), thus further increasing the overall journey time.

Flying To Eastern Europe On The Cheap

Invaluable travellers website www.fly cheapo.com is a great resource to see which budget airlines fly where. Schedules change almost every week, so it's always best to check online, but look out for some of the following airlines that provide the biggest selection of flights to from Eastern Europe EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) Ryanair (www.ryanair.com)

Finding The Lowest Fares Online

Shopping online provides an easy way of finding low fares. The big three online travel agencies, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Orbitz.com, sell most of the air tickets bought on the Internet. (Canadian travelers should try expedia.ca and travelocity.ca.) Each has different business deals with the airlines and may offer different fares on the same flights, so it's wise to shop around. Expedia and Travelocity will also send you e-mail notification when a cheap fare becomes available to your favorite destination. Of the smaller travel agency websites, SideStep (www.sidestep.com) has gotten the best reviews from Frommer's authors. It's a browser add-on that purports to search 140 sites at once, but in reality only beats competitors' fares as often as other sites do. Kayak (www.kayak.com) and Mobissimo (www.mobissimo.com) are also aggregators who pull together other websites' fare results. Also remember to check airline websites, especially those for low-fare carriers such as easyJet...

Planning Your Trip Online

SURFING FOR AIRFARES The big three online travel agencies, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Orbitz.com sell most of the air tickets bought on the Internet. (Canadian travelers should try Expedia.ca and Travelocity.ca U.K. residents can go for Expedia.co.uk and Opodo.co.uk.) Each has different business deals with the airlines and may offer different fares on the same flights, so it's wise to shop around. Expedia and Travelocity will also send you e-mail notification when a cheap fare becomes available to your favorite destination. Of the smaller travel agency websites, SideStep (www.sidestep.com) has gotten the best reviews from Frommer's authors. It's a browser add-on (you Also remember to check airline websites, especially those for low-fare carriers in Europe such as EasyJet (www. easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair. com), whose fares are often misreported or simply missing from travel agency websites. Even with major airlines, you can often shave a few bucks from a fare by...

Getting There Around

Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies daily from London Stansted to Graz airport ( 290 20 www.flughafen -graz.at). Direct IC trains to train destination include Salzburg ( 36.50, AY* hours), Vienna ( 26.90, 2 hours), Ljubljana ( 34.30, four hours) and Budapest via Szentgotthard and Szombathely ( 55.20, 6Yi hours).

Travelling To And Through Finland

Finnair, www.finnair.com British Airways, www.ba.com Ryanair, www.ryanair.com SAS Blue1, www.flysas.com Viking Line (via Sweden), www.vikingline.fi Silja Line (via Sweden), www.siljaline.fi DFDS (via Sweden or Norway), www.dfds.com Nordic Jet Line (via Estonia), www.njl.fi Tallink (via Estonia), www.tallink.com Superfast Ferries (via Germany), www.superfast.com

County Mayo Essentials

Charter flights from the United States operate in the summer. From Britain, there's service to Knock on Aer Lingus from Birmingham, British Regional Airlines from Manchester, and Ryanair from London's Stansted. See Getting There, in chapter 2, Planning Your Trip to Ireland, for the airlines' phone numbers and websites.

Getting There By Plane

Bulgaria has three international airports Sofia, Varna, and Burgas, but most visitors arrive at Sofia, currently served by 17 airlines from 47 European and Middle Eastern cities, with a brand-new airport terminal that opened in 2006. At present travelers from North America cannot fly direct into Bulgaria the most frequent connections are usually through London or Frankfurt. Tip Hurrah for the entry of low-cost carrier Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com), which now offers cheap flights from most destinations across Europe into Bulgaria, usually via Budapest. There are also usually cheap charter flights into Varna and Bourgas during the peak summer season others fly into Plovdiv to coincide with the skiing season.

Internet resources

The internet is a rich resource for travellers and the following websites offer handy tips for those travelling in Europe. Travel booking websites are listed on pl202. Country-specific websites are in the relevant chapter. Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports (www.sleepinginairports.net) Funny and useful resource for backpackers flying stand-by. Currency Conversions (www.xe.net ucc) Up-to-the-second exchange rates for hundreds of currencies. Guide for Europe (www.guldeforeurope.com) With a handy hostel review page posted by visitors. Hostel World (www.hostelworld.com) Also handy for other travellers' views on hostels. LonelyPlanet.com (www.lonelyplanet.com) Share the experience of other travellers and ask for their advice. Money Saving Expert (www.moneysavingexpert. com) Excellent tips on the best UK travel Insurance, mobile phones and bank cards to use abroad. The Fllghtchecker facility shows the latest cheap flights available. The Man in Seat 61 (www.seat61.com) A...

Online Booking Agencies

Cheap Flights (www.cheapflights.com) American-and travel agency. Priceline (www.pricellne.com) American, web-based travel agency. STA Travel (www.statravel.com) International student travel agency. Traveloaty (www.traveloclty.com) American, web-based travel agency.

Torquay Relaxing on the English Riviera

It has mild temperatures, many sunny days, and easy access to the sea. Victorian health-seekers made the town a popular spot. The pre-jet set crowd that brought Torquay a touch of British glamour from the 1950s to the 1970s has long since departed on cheap flights to more exotic locales.

Transport In Bosnia Hercegovina

European airlines such as Austrian Airlines, Czech Airlines and Lufthansa operate out of intercontinental hubs such as London, Frankfurt, Prague and Vienna. No discount airlines fly into Bosnia and Hercegovina yet, but a cheap flight to Zagreb or Dubrovnik and a bus trip could be an option.

The Balkan Shufflefour Weeks

Begin in lively little Slovenia with a cheap flight to charming Ljubljana (p827). Enjoy superb scenery and adrenaline-rush mountain sports in the magnificent Julian Alps (p838) before heading south to the Croatian coast and working your way through Dalmatia (p218) and its gorgeous beaches to delightful Dubrovnik (p233). Enjoy the stunning Old Town and explore the surrounding islands. Take the opportunity to see Bosnia from Dubrovnik -perhaps a day trip to Mostar (pi 16) to see the newly reconstructed bridge or a night or two in picturesque, bustling Sarajevo (pi06) - before continuing south into dynamic Montenegro, Europe's youngest country. Spend some time enjoying the fantastic scenery, stay a night or two in historic Kotor (p533) and see its charming walled city, then enjoy some of the country's beautiful beaches around Budva (p532) before heading over into once-mysterious Albania. From the northern city of Shkodra (p58) take a bus straight on to Tirana (p51), a mountain-shrouded,...

From Mac Arthur Airport Long Island

Although I don't recommend flying into MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, 50 miles east of Manhattan, the budget airline Southwest flies there. So if you get a rock-bottom fare on Southwest, you may decide it's worth it to fly into MacArthur. Be aware that taxi service into the city is not available from there, but you can reserve a private car (a limo, as we say in New York), which costs about 125 for a 1K-hour trip. Call Colonial Transportation ( 631-589-3500 www.colonialtransportation.com) for reservations.

From Continental Europe

Researching and booking your trip online can save time and money. Then again, it may not. It is simply not true that you always get the best deal online. Most booking engines do not include schedules and prices for budget airlines, and from time to time you'll get a better last-minute price by calling the airline directly, so it's best to call the airline to see if you can do better before booking online. On the plus side, Internet users today can tap into the same travel-planning databases that were once accessible only to travel agents and do it at the same speed. Sites such as Frommers.com, Travelocity, Expe-dia.com, and Orbitz allow consumers to comparison-shop for airfares, access special bargains, book flights, and reserve hotel rooms and rental cars. Travelzoo.com is a great at-a-glance stop for deals and last-minute specials to various destinations. But don't fire your travel agent just yet. Although online booking sites offer tips and hard data to help you bargain-shop, they...

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