Last Ditch Effort

Never give up in your quest for a better airline seat, even once the boarding is finished.

Here’s what I do if I’m not happy with my assigned spot:

I always wait to get settled into my seat when I first board the plane. Once it looks like everyone has entered I take a quick walk to the back, looking for an empty row. If I see one, I quickly grab my stuff and change seats right before the captain turns on the seatbelt sign.

It’s a last ditch effort for comfort that works wonderfully.

Can’t Wait to Eat

If you’ve ever arrived hungry at your hotel really late on an overseas trip or slept in past your alarm before a big meeting, you know how painful it can be waiting for room service.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between how quickly you need your room service and how long it takes.

There’s no need to wait anymore. Late in 2011, Four Seasons announced that they would begin offering a selection of food that will arrive in 15 minutes or less, guaranteed.

Since then, they’ve rolled out the program to their entire chain of 86 hotels and resorts. We tested it during our last Four Seasons stay and our meal was delivered in 14 minutes.

Great food in 15 minutes. What more can a busy traveller ask for?

The Currency Game

Foreign Currency

When travelling internationally, you’ll often encounter a merchant that asks whether you would like to pay in their local (foreign) currency or in your home currency (CAD or USD).

While it may appear convenient to pay in your own currency, don’t be fooled. You’re at the mercy of the shopkeeper and whatever exchange rate he’s decided to charge. Rarely, if ever, is it as good as the one your credit card company will use.

Stick to paying in the local currency and let your credit card sort out the exchange. You’ll be better in the long run.

Neat idea..but would YOU actually use it?

Traffic was terrible, you couldn’t find a parking spot and the security line was out of control. You’re flight’s already boarding but it’s on the other side of the terminal. So what do you do?

You catch a ride on your luggage, of course.

I know what you’re thinking: “What?!? Ride on your luggage??” We couldn’t believe it either….until we saw it for ourselves in the video below.

And if you can see yourself zooming your way to the gate, latte in hand, then you can get one here.

Dirty Shoes

Shower Cap and Shoes

Worried about your dirty shoes touching your clothes as you pack for your flight home?

Wrap them in your hotel’s complimentary shower cap. Problem solved.

** Today’s Travel Secret was submitted to us from one of our valued clients. She found it on the website Real Simple in an article entitled New Uses for Old Things.**

Thanks Debbie!

If you have a Travel Secret that you’ve discovered while on the road, let us know in the Comments section below!

“Is there another airline?”

Your flight was delayed and now you’ve missed your connection. The airline has offered you a seat on their next flight…in eight hours.

“Eight hours,” you think, “Surely there’s a flight sooner than that!”

There is, but it’s on another airline so don’t expect your airline to offer it to you. They don’t want you flying with someone else. Even though they are perfectly willing and able to put you on another airline’s flight, rarely will they ever bring up that option.

So what do you do?

Just ask.

“Is there another airline that can get me there quicker?”

That one question can save you hours of waiting around.

Beware the Codeshare

We all know that a “codeshare” is when you purchase a flight through one airline but actually fly on a different airline. As Joe Brancatelli, from Joe Sent Me, says, “It’s like putting Fruit Loops in a box of Cheerios”.

There can be significant differences between the airline you purchased through and the one you fly.

Normally you’ll be provided with the pertinent information about the differences in baggage weight restrictions, change fees, cancellation fees, and other restrictions.

What they never talk about is the difference in the experience. If you book your ticket on Air Canada expecting a personal seatback television, you’ll be disappointed to find they don’t exist on your United Airlines codeshare.

Hoping for a lie-flat seat in British Airways business class? Sorry, you’re on an American Airlines flight with an angled seat.

Beware the Codeshare. You just might open your box of Cheerios and find Fruit Loops.

Canceled Flights

“I’m sorry, your flight has been cancelled.”

Canceled Flight

Your emotions, in this order:

  1. Disbelief
  2. Anger
  3. Panic
  4. Anxiety

I know because it just happened to me on my own flight.

“Now go over there to find out what will happen to you,” he says, pointing to the growing line of upset people.

Thankfully, I purchased my ticket through our agency. Our agency with a 24-hour emergency phone. One quick phone call and I was re-protected on another flight.

Sure, I still had to wait in line to get the change authorized. But as I calmly waited, everyone else in line panicked.

When I finally made it to the front and told the agent that I already had a seat on the next flight, she said, “You’re lucky. It’s sold out now. Everyone else in line is staying here overnight.”

‘Luck’ had nothing to do with it. Booking a ticket through an agency with a 24-hour emergency line is what saved me today. And if it hasn’t already, it will eventually save you.

Go Direct

Direct Flights vs Cheap Flights

They may not always be the cheapest, but direct flights can pay for themselves in the end.

Time is money. Stress and aggravation are worth $$ as well.

Many important meetings have been cancelled and vacations soured due to missed connections.

While booking your flights, keep the experience of your trip in mind. Don’t get caught up in finding the best price without considering the consequences.

The few dollars saved is likely not worth it.

Artificial Memory

A client of ours mentioned to us today that the camera on his phone has become his most valuable travel tool.

Artificial Memory Travel Tips

Why? He travels frequently, constantly moving from hotel to hotel and was forever forgetting his room number. He came up with the idea of taking a picture of his room number as soon as he checks in. Now if he forgets his room number, he simply pulls out his phone and looks at his last door picture.

You may never forget your room number, but there may be other uses for your camera’s ‘artificial memory’.

  • Parking at the airport? Take a picture of the parking area.

  • Traveling in a foreign land with no English? Take a picture of your destination to show your cab driver.

  • Enjoying a great bottle of wine at dinner? Take a picture of the label so you can find it at home.

And of course, don’t forget to use your camera for what it’s for: capturing memories.