We just concluded the end of the season of the mileage run, that time when lots of us looked at our frequent flyer accounts and said, “Ohmigod—I’m three thousand miles short of reaching silver.” Or gold. Or platinum. Or whatever. (Remember George Clooney in “Up In the Air?”)
And you had to decide if it was worth flying somewhere just for those miles at the height of the holiday travel season.
Here’s how to play it very differently: Do the mileage runs now, when fares are at the lowest. Now–when folks are tired of traveling. Remember, sometimes a long flight, like from the East Coast to the West, will cost less than a ticket from, say, Toledo, OH, to Birmingham, AL.
And if you get to December and still are a few thousand miles short, remember, airlines have historically allowed you to BUY elite-qualifying miles. Last month, for example, American, US Airways, and Delta let you buy between 2,500 and 10,000 elite-qualifying miles to get you over the finish line. But those miles are never cheap, and you never know if they’ll be offered for sale at year’s end.
Do the heavy lifting now..
Once, it was simple. You wanted to book a place to stay, you went to Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, or Priceline. Then came Hotels.com and Airbnb and maybe 200 other sites promising lower prices. Now we have a site that promises it will show you all the rooms on the planet.
And this app means all the rooms. Not just rooms on hotel sites. Not just rooms, apartments, homes, castles, lighthouses and other places for rent by regular folks, such as Airbnb and VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rentals By Owners.
No, AllTheRooms.com says it searches all of the rooms in the world for you. You can filter your search by price, distance from city center, level of luxury, and how favorable travelers’ reviews are.
I find this nothing short of incredible. And I can’t tell you that you’ll find the lowest prices—no web site can guarantee that. But I’ve been looking at the site, and I have to say, AllTheRooms casts a wide net. And at least the day I looked at hotels in cities I know, the prices seemed quite favorable.
The web site refers you to the site that posts the offer, and you book there. Worth checking out.
I send out a heartfelt “thank you” from the team here at “Rudy Maxa’s World.”
And thank you, our listeners, for sending me your questions and ideas through RudyMaxa.com. That email address is Rudy@RudyMaxa.com. You may also subscribe to my weekly newsletter by writing me at Rudy@RudyMaxa.com and putting “Subscribe” in the subject line.
As you pause this holiday season, you may find yourself thinking about your travel hopes and dreams for the coming year. I find many people want to go somewhere but simply never get around to it.
Here’s my advice: Set a date. Doing that forces you to make concrete plans and to keep your calendar clear of other obligations. That’s the first big step, and the others should follow: Researching destinations and shopping for the best deals.
Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to travel. There’s not a state in this country that doesn’t have interesting places to visit. You may not need plane tickets, and you don’t have to experience jet lag to have traveled.
Just start by setting that date.
It took me a couple of years of flying to figure out why flight attendants sometimes got cranky when I tried to hand them my accumulated trash—usually newspapers—every time they walked down the aisle. They really don’t want to collect garbage while serving drinks or meals.
But a flight attendant for a US carrier recently listed the things passengers do that really gets them upset:
–Coach passengers who see empty seats in business class and ask if they can take them.
–Passengers who ask flight attendants to shoehorn their bags into overhead bins. (As an aside, I’d make an exception for the elderly or infirm.)
-Asking cabin staff to call ahead to hold a connecting flight.
–Frequently asking to borrow pens.
–Passengers doing exercises in the aisles or galley.
–Talking during safety announcements.
–Leaving headphones on while giving a food or drink order. (You’re almost always shouting but don’t know it.)
I know some flight attendants and passengers think boarding a plane is the beginning of a face-off. In that case, both parties are wrong, and neither will have a pleasant flight.
Back when Conde Nast Traveler was more of a travel magazine than a fashion magazine, writer Wendy Perrin (pictured) compiled an annual listing of well-connected travel agents who offered exceptional service to travelers who wanted to get to the heart of the matter on a trip. That list is back, but in a different place.
Wendy Perrin is now a travel advocate with TripAdvisor.com, but check out her web site. She routinely posts helpful travel articles that can be of use to all travelers.
But one of the mother lodes of information in her website is that list of top-notch travel advisers—Wendy calls them “trip choreographers.” On the home page of her web site, just click on “The WOW List.” This is not a mere listing of names and contact info. Wendy describes the talents of each person and general prices for their services. Contact them through Wendy’s site, and she’ll watch over the planning of your trip. You may also receive get a few extras because of her relationship with the travel expert.
As in life, in travel, it’s often who you know.