Welcome to summer. The best season for hitting the open road, open ocean, open sky... However you like to travel, now is the time. But once you've laid out your plans and decided where to go, it's time to consider the practical side. As an avid traveler with insatiable wanderlust, I've learned a few key tricks and tips along the way. From how to find the best flight, to scooting through security and staying safe away from home, these trade secrets are sure to come in handy no matter where you're summer takes you.
FINDING THE BEST FLIGHT
I was a Kayak user for years, but when Google flights launched, I made a total switch. They make it easy to find even complicated flights, and will alert you when a date or airport change may save you big bucks. Skiplagged on the other hand, is genius for finding loopholes in itineraries, and often will route you through other cities for lower rates.
Think it’s worthless to make an account for an airline you rarely fly? Do it anyway. Many airlines are linked, so even if you have an account with one you may get points if you fly through their partners. Say you fly to Paris on Air France, but you have a Delta SkyMiles account. They’re partners, so you’ll get credit! Plus, loyalty counts for something and you’re more likely to get upgraded if you’re a frequent flyer.
Also! Certain credit cards (I swear by Amex Gold Rewards) allow you to transfer points to combine with airline rewards programs. So you can finally use that awkward number of points you have sitting in your account.
Hurricane? Zica outbreak? Car accident? Turns out you may not be screwed after all… if you have travel insurance. Until recently, I didn’t even know this was an option. Then I discovered Allianz, who’s 24 hour global assistance hotline makes me feel safe no matter where I am in the world.
Also! Amex had my back recently in LA, when I pulled a Cher Horowitz and sideswiped my rental car while cruising for coffee and organic fruit at Sprouts. Oops. Turns out that if you don’t purchase insurance on your rental (or have any other car insurance) but you paid with Amex - they act as your provider. Thank goodness, otherwise that breakfast run would have turned into a $2000 mistake.
AIRPORT SECURITY SMARTS
Beyond wearing slip-on shoes and minimal accessories, I always recommend putting your shoes and jacket through the security scanner first, so that you can get redressed while your other bags are coming through.
DON'T GET SICK
Shocking as it may be, seat back trays and pockets can be as germ filled as a subway pole. Ew. Washing your hands can help, but some say that airplane water holding tanks can be plagued by bacteria as they aren’t always cleaned. Double ew. I rarely advocate for antibacterial products, but if you don’t want to fall prey to the classic “airplane cold” organic wipes and hand sprays can help.
If you're like me, then you want to make sure you're checking out the BEST things to do and places to eat in any city you visit. I use an app called WannaGo to make note of my favorite healthy eats, chic shopping and sites to visit when I'm on the road and at home in NYC. Follow other users that you trust (me!) to get great ideas wherever you are. Download the app and search "Natalie Decleve" to find my lists from around the world, and start your own.
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