On the Travel Show this past Sunday
for a "podcast" of it, start of the second hour), Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press gifted us with six all-important rules for approaching a summer vacation. They are all so important that I'm repeating them here:
(1) When should you buy your air tickets? Answer: Four to six weeks in advance of departure, for the best rates.
(2) Should you buy the "additional extras" that all the airlines are now offering? Extras like "preferred seats" or speeded-up security clearance? Usually no, answers Mayerowitz. Depending on conditions, all passengers may speed their way through the T.S.A.'s security gates, and you have paid extra for nothing special. And "preferred seats", often costing $99, may simply be at the front of the airplane.
(3) Take out car insurance when renting an auto? Often it's an unnecessary extra expense, says Mayerowitz. If you own a car, or a particular credit card, you may already be covered for many of the contingencies of driving. Check our your own insurance before you pay those extra amounts, paying especial attention to your coverage for Collision Damage Waiver. You are probably already covered.
(4) Inquire relentlessly as to whether the hotel at which you're booking a roomwill be imposing extra charges, and demand they be withdrawn as a condition of your reservation. Don't get caught with "resort fees", "parking fees". Inquire, instead, as to whether you'll be entitled to extras without payment, and make your choice accordingly. Is breakfast included?
(5) Renting a hotel for a weekend stay in a city well known for its business traffic, make use of Priceline.com or Hotwire.com, which can save you considerable sums off the normal, published weekend price. Both make use almost entirely of large, national, hotel chains, whose rooms are satisfactory regardless of the particular hotel at which you're booked. If you're certain of your plans, ask to make an advance purchase of a non-refundable room, saving additional amounts.
(6) Shop around (enough said).
So much for Scott Mayerowitz' excellent rules. Also heard on the Travel Show this past weekend was Roger Wade of priceoftravel.com
, who advised us that the least expensive destinations in Europe are: Sofia, Bulgaria; Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Rumania; and Kracow, Poland. Least expensive destinations in the Caribbean: Cancun and the Maya Riviera in Mexico; the Dominican Republic; Jamaica. How's that for travel wisdom?