HOW TO? Travel Tips and tricks

bleisure

How to get more comfortable airline seats:

  1. Typically “low cost” carriers have some seats with extra legroom. Book those if you want some space.
  2. Look for the good seats in economy. The exit row and bulkhead seats typically have more room than a standard seat, if you can afford them. The worst seats are the ones in the rear of the aircraft, which don’t recline.
  3. “Premium” seats cost extra, however sometimes you can get an upgrade at the gate if you are lucky.

airline seat

How to find quiet when you travel:

  1. Book where there’s less noise. The front of the aircraft is less noisy and tends to have a quieter kind of passenger (read: business travellers). On a train, look for the quiet cars. 2. Block it. Noise cancelling headsets or ear plugs are a good idea to filter out unwanted noise.
  2. Timing is everything. Don’t expect to get much quiet if you’re in New Orleans around Mardi Gras or in London during the summer break, when every attraction has serpentine queues of students and adults alike.

 What you need to know about minimum connection times:

  1. Minimum connection times are initially set by a group of airlines or by an airport operating committee. The times are built into the airline reservation systems, and are specific to airports or flights.
  2. Times can change if a terminal is under construction or an airport train closes for repairs. It’s always a good idea to check your airline’s airport-specific page for any changes.
  3. They are not a guarantee that your connecting flight won’t leave without you. They are only guidelines that are meant to get you to your destination as quickly as possible

How to write an airline consumer complaint:

  1. Be precise. Include details such as your confirmation code, flight number and travel date.
  2. Explain precisely what you want. Don’t leave the airline guessing. Are you asking them to refund your checked bag fee? Or claiming a delayed baggage allowance?

 Three things airlines won’t tell you about vouchers:

  1. Most carriers will not offer cash for a delayed /cancelled flight. Instead it will try to offer to rebook the flight or give you a voucher.
  2. You may be unable to redeem the voucher on the blackout dates. Read the fine print on the voucher before you agree to it. If you don’t like the terms, ask for a better deal, or a refund.

hotel 3

How to book a hotel the smart way:

  1. Start with a thorough search. Check an Online travel agency like Expedia or Booking.com or call your travel agent. Check the rate against the price your preferred hotel would charge if you book direct.
  2. Review the restrictions. Hotels can impose restrictions for booking through their site, like making their rooms non-refundable, so read the conditions closely before deciding where to go. You might be better off working with a big agency that has negotiated better terms.
  3. Check the incentives. Ask yourself if you really need the points or the upgrade.

 How to spot a fake review:

  1. Check the reviewer’s record. Fake reviews are often posted by accounts with little or no additional review history.
  2. Do check out the photos of the property either through the hotel itself or through people who have stayed on the property.
  3. If you see a one-star or a five-star rating or a lot of superlatives in the description, chances are you’re looking at a fake.

 What you need to know about an apartment hotel:

  1. Amenities. Most apartment hotels have kitchenettes, but they may not have an oven, in-room laundry facilities or separate living room area. Check the property descriptions carefully.
  2. Services. While some of them offer room service, many clean their rooms only weekly.
  3. Policies. Most properties generally don’t charge mandatory “resort” fees. But it’s important to pay attention to their cancellation policies, which can vary.

hotel room 2

How to get a hotel room upgrade:

  1. A special event. Honeymoons rank high on the list. Hotels will try to make your special occasion more memorable if you ask.
  2. A special circumstance. If you’re thinking of coming back to the hotel and bringing a big group with you, mention it. If you’re planning to return again in a month or a year, say something. Anything that sets you apart as a more valued customer can sway a hotel to upgrade you.
  3. A special need. Some of the larger rooms are more disability-friendly. If you need extra room to accommodate a wheelchair, or walker, the only room that might fit you is a suite. Don’t be shy about asking.

car rental

Tips for getting a vehicle when they run out of rental cars:

  1. Confirm your reservation: Contact your car rental agency a day before you arrive. Always bring your reservation confirmation to show the rate you paid. Make a printout, just in case the battery on your phone dies.
  2. Arrive on time: Check in as close as possible to the time indicated on your reservation.

How to get a refund from a travel company:

  1. Patience. Give the company at least a week to respond to your refund request and two credit card billing cycles to pay you.
  2. Persistence. Don’t let months pass by without letting the company know that your money is still missing. If necessary, set a calendar reminder so that you don’t forget.
  3. Politeness. Angry demands for a refund and threats to take a company to court almost always backfire. The company may refer your case to its legal department, where it could linger for weeks or months. Be nice!

 How to select the right travel app for your next trip:

  1. Download from a trusted source. That would be iTunes or Google Play. 2. Read the stars – and the reviews. The best travel apps should have at least four stars. Pay attention to the reviews, more so if you need the app for a specific purpose, like translating a particular language.
  2. Test for any flaws, such as consumption of too much data or battery life or even if is accessible anywhere in the world, before you take it on the road.

bag

How to pack select the right kind of clothes:

  1. Does it match your trip? You definitely won’t need that jacket for your beach vacation, but you surely could use a light windcheater in case it rains. Bug repellents, sunscreens, lip balms, should be the staples if you’re going on an African safari. Simplify your choices of clothes, carrying the essentials rather than over packing the suitcase.

 How to avoid getting robbed on vacation:

  1. Don’t leave your valuables, passports, laptops, ipads, cameras, cash etc in your hotel room open to view. Lock them up in the safe or the suitcase in case you are not using them.
  2. Don’t flash your jewelry, cash etc

How to not look like a tourist (even if you are one):

  1. No maps! Don’t walk around with a giant map in your hands. Instead, keep the map on your phone – and stay cool.
  2. Slow down. Tourists try to do everything in a day. If you stop running, you won’t stand out.

tourist

 

 

 

PC:Getty images;Shutterstock

 

 

Your place or mine?

exchn

The first time I heard about Home swapping or Home exchange was via the Hollywood flick ‘The Holiday’ starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, the story about two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the Christmas and holiday season.

What a brilliant idea this was!

Swapping homes could be the perfect way to expand your horizons and holiday for free in exotic locations.

Home-Swap-300x161

Jetting off and arriving at your own ‘home away from home’ is an appealing thought. But since most of us can’t afford a foreign holiday home, the trend for house swapping, where holidaymakers move into one another’s homes – saving the expense of paying for commercial accommodation – is becoming increasingly popular. Home exchanges make an ideal base for one-day or weekend excursions.

People who have gone in for home swapping have made good friends along the way. You get to live as they live, shop where they shop since the exchange partner will often leave insider information about the area. What’s so fabulous about home swapping is it’s not just a holiday, it’s a lifestyle. And you get the most out of an intercultural experience.

home1

But home swapping is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks love to swap and do it several times a year because it allows them to experience new places without paying for hotels, restaurants or, in many cases, transportation (the use of the family car is included in many home exchanges). However, some travellers are turned off by having to cook and clean on their vacation, while others feel uneasy about having strangers living in their own homes.

home2

However there’s more than one way to do a home swap:

  • You can stay in your exchange-partner’s home while they stay in yours (a “simultaneous exchange”).
  • You can stay at a home-swapper’s second home or vacation home (a “non-simultaneous exchange”).
  • Or you can stay as a guest in a home-swapper’s abode while they’re also in the house (a “hospitality exchange”).

link home1

There are various home-exchange sites online that cater to different types of exchanges. Usually with the companies listed on a home exchange program  buying a membership is mandatory.

A lot of footwork is necessary. Both the owner and the holiday maker have to do their homework well before getting into such agreement. Check references, find them on social media or /and ask your home-exchange company for more information about prospective home exchange partners.

Home swapping is more or less a safe way to arrange a stay, with none or few cases of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, when it’s a simultaneous exchange, mutual trust is fundamental.

Here’s some pointers on how home swapping works.

  • By joining a reputable company via an annual membership. You’ll be able to list your property on their website and make contact with other owners to arrange your exchange.
  • Most house-swap firms don’t visit properties, so it’s imperative to study photos carefully, and look at feedback and definitely ask the owner questions.
  • Most of the companies have a guest points system where you earn guest points when you host and spend guest points when you stay as a guest.

home 5

For many travellers, a home exchange /home swapping is an economical, comfortable and fascinating way to vacation far from home. The possibilities for home exchanges could be endless.

Madhavi

 

 

 

OS: Daily Mail UK /  PC:Shespeaks;Readers Digest;Hitster;Froodee;TripSavvy;

Continue reading “Your place or mine?”

L‘APP’ it up!

Travel-Apps1

Travelling alone is a wonderfully liberating experience for the female traveller. Having said that, it can also be quite daunting, especially if it is the first time one is travelling solo or with the gang of girls.

While travelling, Smartphone and technology combined can be your best friend and at times your saviour too. Which is why, it is important to play it smart, safe and have the right apps loaded on your phones before you leave home.

apps-on-phone

Luckily, today there is no dearth of apps built to help with everything from hotel bookings to last-minute flight changes, and everything in between. Not speaking the local language? Hungry? Lost your way? Basically, whatever your interest or need, when it comes to hitting the road, there’s an app for that.

However, there are some apps which are exclusively geared towards solo female travellers , hoping to connect them with like-minded women who can become their travel buddies, or provide some sort of support system when they are away from home.

uber

Uber- A handy app to have when travelling, Uber is currently one of the most popular ridesharing apps and has its presence in more countries than other similar transportation services. It is a convenient way to hitch a ride to or from the airport or to get around while moving around the city. Simply enter your pickup and drop-off location and select your ride option. You’ll get matched with a driver who will meet you at your pickup location and drive you to your destination.

 

google map

GOOGLE MAPS– When we think of a navigation app, we typically think Google Maps. It’s recommend by most people. Google Maps and Waze (also by Google) are excellent GPS apps. Google Maps is kind of the measuring stick for navigation apps. It has tons of locations, reviews, directions, and amazing street-level photography of most locations, included. Waze is a little simpler. It’s great for directions, especially on road trips or daily commutes. It uses user data to show things like traffic jams, police locations, and other useful info.

 

Tourlina-Solo-Female-Travel-App

Tourlina- Tourlina is a women-only app that connects fellow like-minded travellers wherever they are around the globe. Simply enter your trip and discover a travel companion with mutual interests and trip plans. You can start to chat, plan your trip together and voila! You’re on the road with a new friend, possibly one you’ll have made for life and in touch with someone who shares the same travel goals as you.

 

toilet-finder-app

Toilet Finder- This is a game changer for women travellers. As the name suggests, this free app helps you find the closest public toilet in cities, towns, and even in parks. Apps like Flush Toilet Finder and Map is pretty useful when you need to locate a public bathroom that is closest to you. The handy thing about this app is that it has more than 150,000 toilets already listed, and also lets you know if they are free and wheelchair accessible.

 

travelapp2

SoloTraveller is an app for the solo traveler who is looking to be connected with like-minded people who are traveling to the same destination. The app also connects travelers with local people, has a feature to share information on places like restaurants or points of interests,  or  even to just share a taxi, the opportunities are endless.

 

bsafe

Safety apps that provides GPS positioning and tracking ,along with advice about the best places to travel or stay in and shows you how to avoid areas that are very crime prone, are  very essential for the woman traveller. It’s advisable to research the most effective and popular safety app of the destination you are travelling to before you leave.

Here in India Eyewatch SOS for Women which captures audio and video of the user’s surroundings and sends it to the registered contacts along with an alert message and bSafe– which has an alarm and a ‘Follow me’ feature that enables virtual tracking of the user via GPS tracking, until you reach the destination are quite popular.

 

trip-advisor-still

TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel sites in the world and has over 600 million reviews. The app has been designed to give honest reviews from other travelers about their experience with a number of services, ranging from hotels to restaurants. Knowing the ratings may help you avoid going to places with terrible reviews.

 

phones yelp
Yelp and Zomato are food apps that have some of the best, most spot on, hottest and highly rated restaurant reviews around.  From getting free food at restaurants to discovering delicious restaurant recommendations, you’ll find the perfect app that’s just waiting to lead you to your next dining experience.

 

xe currency

The XE Currency app offers live exchange rates for currencies around the world, with rates refreshed every minute. It can help you make quick conversions when you’re out shopping and can monitor up to 10 of your favorite currencies and let you know when their value changes.

 

mobileapp-checkin

Your Airline’s App– This simple app should go without saying. Your airline’s app updates you about any departure or gate changes without you having to go looking for them and could be the difference between a frantic airport experience and a smooth one. Plus, you’ll be able to track your frequent flyer points at any time.

With all of these cool and handy apps on your Smart Phone, make sure you have a safe and fun time on your travels. The last thing you will want to do is to lose it! This is where our final app comes in.

 

find my phone

There are plenty of ways to get a hold of your missing phone. If it’s a Smartphone (or even a tablet) running iOS or Android, chances are good it already has the software such as Find my iPhone or Find my Device needed to hunt it down. The app can do all the basic stuff and locate the phone within a certain distance.  These apps work through the account associated with your device. Just make sure it is turned on. For Android devices this is your Google account, and for iPhones, this is your iCloud account. Both allow you to remotely lock and wipe your phone, make it ring, and set up special messages to alert whoever finds it.

 

🙂 madhavi

 

 

 

PC: Tech Prior: Medium: Code Canyon: Urban Tastebud: Tech Crunch :Singapore Airlines