Tag Archives: tips

Five on Friday: Travel tips

Having just been on a vacation in which I learned a few things the hard way, I thought this would be an excellent chance to share a few travel tips in hopes of saving someone else some money and/or time. Or at least take a little stress away. (Most of these are aimed directly at anyone flying to a destination…)


1. Clean your house before you leave. I know, you’re swamped with packing and making sure everything else under the sun is taken care of before you leave. Did you stop the mail? Is there someone coming by to check on the house while you’re gone? Boarding passes printed? What about money? Do we have enough money?

But seriously. Take an hour to clean your house. Throw the bed sheets in the wash and remake the beds. Do all the dishes and put them away. Vacuum the rugs and sweep. Take out the trash. Run a toilet brush around the bowl.

Why is this an important tip? Its two-fold. If you have someone coming over to check on things… maybe you have pets that need to be fed or plants to be watered. Just think how much better you’ll feel having someone coming into a clean house… and on their end, how comfortable it’ll feel to that other person. But beyond that, think how nice it’ll be to walk into a clean house after your trip. You’re going to be tired. You’re not going to want to face a sink full of dishes. And how amazing is it to sleep on fresh sheets?? Your future self will thank you.

054: Cleaning

2. Research your airport parking options. Ideally, you find a friend to give you a ride to the airport. If so, skip ahead to #3. Otherwise, start looking ahead of time at GroupOn or Living Social, etc. for parking deals. On our last trip, I kicked myself for having not purchased a park-and-ride deal for $45 for a week’s worth of parking. Yes, it was an off-site parking lot, but they are secure and have regular shuttles to and from the airport. And, $45 is cheap.  In many cases you can’t even get a cab ride for that price one-way. Many cities have deals like this… even if you can’t get a “deal” on the parking option, many off-site parking options are cheaper than at the airport.

Camera Pic: Kroger Parking Lot

3. Book a rental car before you arrive. Don’t think you can “negotiate a cheaper price” upon arriving at a car rental location. Just the opposite. They know you’re stuck and they have the upper hand.  You’ll find waiting to rent a car will run you 3-4 times as much as if you book early. I repeat BOOK YOUR CAR AHEAD OF TIME.

Now, that being said, you can negotiate an upgrade AFTER you get there still. But you want to do so after you’ve already locked in the lowest rate you can.

Manzanita, Oregon
We upgraded into a Camaro on our last trip… and still got it cheaper than it would have cost to get a base mid-size at the counter.

4. Think about luggage logistics. I have a problem with this one and will be looking into a remedy before my next flight. Many luggage sets have straps that let you hook your luggage together and make a train for you to pull. USE THIS. Especially if you are on a long trip and you’re carrying two bags, plus a laptop case and a purse. (Or am I the only person who does this??) We had to hook one of my bags to my husbands (because I don’t have three arms, darn it) and lets just say we over-taxed one of his bags with the extra weight. I should have had that sussed out ahead of time…

297: Take me with you

5. Realize something will go wrong and go with it. It doesn’t matter how perfectly you’ve planned a trip, something will go wrong. Your flight will be delayed. It’s going to rain when it was supposed to be sunny. The restaurant you had your heart set on eating at is closed for a week for cleaning. That hotel room that was supposed to cost $70/night is actually $150/night. Whatever it is, don’t let it ruin the whole trip! Relax and have fun and realize that something going wrong happens, and generally there was nothing you could do to avoid it. Or if there was something you could have done, you can’t go back in time and change it. You can learn from it and deal with it. Maybe even have a little fun with it. Whatever you do, just don’t let it be the end of a great time!

201: Stuck in traffic


What are some of your favorite travel tips??

Holiday travel

I write today from a pick-up truck traveling down the Interstate, loaded down with bags, goodies and family. We are Nashville-bound so my husband can get back to drive bus tomorrow night. (Its OK! It was our decision he do so, since we celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday.)

This 800+ mile trip is one we are familiar with, though this time we took a slightly different route to avoid a big backup on I-35N in Central Texas. This time, also, we face the potential of winter weather in Middle Tennessee.

All that being said, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned through the last few years making this trek between Texas and Tennessee…

1. Know alternate routes or have a GPS you trust. Knowing how to read maps helps here. I feel thankful all the time that that is a skill I have. (I even was on a map reading team in Junior High and, if I remember correctly, I got a perfect score at contest. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.)

But seriously… accidents happen and you can either take a detour and keep moving, or you can park it and sit for potentially hours. A good GPS will hip you to upcoming traffic tie-ups. (I recommend Waze on your smartphone.) An awesome GPS, however, won’t necessarily give you a detour, but if you can read a map that’s no big deal. Look around and plot it yourself.

GPS seems to mean “Getting Pretty Stupid” in some cases…don’t be that person. Let the GPS be your safety net to your own common sense, not your excuse to drive blind.

2. Don’t be an asshat driver. Everyone has somewhere to be and short of it being life or death, you’re no more important than everyone else. Cutting people off, tailgating, changing lanes without a turn signal, squeezing between vehicles so close you couldn’t put a pack of cigarettes between the two bumpers, driving slow then fast then slow then fast, etc. makes you look like an asshat. Look, its the holidays. Let’s all get where we are going alive and without road rage.

3. Check your weather. Don’t be oblivious to changing weather conditions. Unless you want to be featured on the Weather Channel for driving right into a tornado or blizzard or haboob or a flood. Then by all means, ignore the skies and drive with reckless abandon. May Jim Cantore be with you.

4. Snacks are important. Hey, when we stop for gas or a potty break, I love getting something to eat or drink from the store. Its fun to me. I’m weird like that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t leave on a trip without plenty of food and drinks ahead of time. It saves money, but it also means if we get stranded we have atleast one day before we turn to canablism canibleism cannibalism.

5. Phone chargers are essential. How else will you power your GPS and make sure you can use your phone to Google how to spell words like cannibalism.

6. You can’t change geography. I’ve been trying to figure out how to move Arkansas out of the way for over 7 years. I’m resigned to the fact its not happening.

7. Sleep. Just don’t sleep while you’re driving. That’s bad. But get plenty of rest so you can have good reflexes while driving when you deal with asshats. See #2. If you get tired on your trip, pull over and rest awhile.

8. Don’t text and drive. I’d like to be able to go, “Do I even need to say this?” But then drinking and driving is still an issue so that provea to me that this needs to be said. Let your passengers do the texting. If you don’t have passengers, just ignore the phone until you reach your destination.

9. Enjoy yourself. Take in the scenery. Listen to good music. Make it fun. Don’t look at a trip as a daunting task. Look at it as an adventure.

10. Be careful. This goes without saying. Look out for wildlife crossing.  Slow down in wintery weather. Turn on your headlights in the fog. Your most basic driving techniques and lessons can be the things that get you there safely.

Safe and happy travels everyone!!