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Thread: Travel Arrangements made without a travel agent

  1. #11
    Columbia, MD

    Re: Travel Arrangements made without a travel agent

    Shyra -- my SO does most of the booking, but when I've gone on airline sites they offer ancillary reservations for rental cars, and in some cases, hotels.

    If you are looking to save money, shop around. For hotels, try Expedia. I got a fabulous deal on a hotel in New York City earlier this year.

    For rental cars, it always pays to shop around. Most of the rental car companies have facilities at airports. Since you are Canadian, be sure your license will be recognized, and call your insurance agent to see if your collision coverage will extend to driving in America. You may need a special ID card for proof that you have collision. (Was in that business 20+ years but don't know squat about Canadian insurance laws.)

    In any case, I hope this is helpful.

  2. #12
    FORT Fogey GuardianAngel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Niagara Falls Canada

    Re: Travel Arrangements made without a travel agent

    shyra, I'm Canadian and always fly out of Buffalo when I can. The only time I fly out of Toronto, was for Italy last year and the two times I went to Cuba. Other than that, I like to go to Florida every year (sometimes twice). As long as you have your passport, you won't have any problems at the airport.

    I always book airfares online. You shop around for the best deal, I always use priceline dot com, once its booked, you print everything, the sites are good, they walk you through it, sometimes you can even choose your seats. You might depart on one airline, and return on a different airline. I even "check in" online 24 hours prior to departure and print a boarding pass. The last couple of trips to Florida, all they want is my passport, all the information is already in their system. They take my baggage, and I'm done. Its important to have the paperwork that is printed when the flight is booked, for when you cross the boarder, because that's the only proof you have that you are going on vacation. You know how those boarder guards can get.

    To book a car rental, its important to shop around, for sure! There are so many prices out there that can vary dramatically. I don't know about South Carolina, but everytime I book a car, I always make sure I have one of their cards. The cards are not a credit card, they each have their own name, "elite" or whatever, if I don't have one for the company I'm renting from, I apply. You can also do that online. That card gives you preference treatment, usually they have a separate counter, the smallest line, or in Florida, I get to go right to the lot and don't have to stand in line. For a few extra dollars a year, I have on my regular auto policy that I'm covered outside of Canada, because I go over the boarder frequently, shopping etc. Some credit cards cover you as well, "Collision Damage Waiver" is what you need. When I pick up the car, I've never had a problem with my drivers licence, you sign and intial whether you want coverage or not. The amount is roughly $10+/day. Its cheaper to just call your auto insurance company. I always carry my Insurance Policy card, but I don't think they ever ask to see it.

    The only other comment I'd like to make, and don't take this the wrong way, I never travel in March. Everything is so much more expensive than any other month, flights cars etc.

    I don't book hotels when I go to Florida because I rent the same condo, and have been for years. You might want to check condos for rent, there are a ton of good deals right now. As Columbia mentioned, some sites give you options for booking car hotel and flights. I personally never seem to find a good deal (for car and flight) and find I can get cheaper deals by booking separately.

    ETA: forgot to mention, check with the airline websites after you book, for baggage fees! They are getting ridiculous!

  3. #13
    fortfan shyra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Ontario, Canada

    Re: Travel Arrangements made without a travel agent

    Thanks Guardian Angel. I am learning so much here!

  4. #14
    PWS is offline
    FORT Fogey
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Travel Arrangements made without a travel agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbia, MD;4072467;
    Morning, Gutmutter!!!

    We try to use Southwest whenever possible for domestic air travel. They are the only ones who still don't charge for checked baggage, and that can save you $25 or $50 depending on how many bags you check. (I wonder if the airlines will next charge you for a pillow and/or a blanket. This is getting ridiculous!) We do book with them on their website.

    Also for those who use AMTRAK, they have a good website, too.
    Southwest also doesn't charge you for sodas and snacks, unlike SOME planes these days.
    ALso on many of their planes, if not most, the armrest on the aisle side of the aisle seat goes up, so it is easy to get in and out of your seat. A big boon for aging passengers! I also like it as I'm on the large side...so that gives me more room. Also since people can see what you look like as they board and there's no assigned seating you are unlikely to wind up with a row of 3 heavy people together.
    The one thing about SW is that you need to "sign in" 24 hours before the flight to get "in line" for a seat (since they don't have assigned seating). If you are anywhere in the A group you will usually be able to get whatever kind of seat you like (window/aisle), but after that it gets more iffy. If you "sign in" 23 hours ahead of time you are unlikely to be in the A group. This can get really inconvenient if you are traveling and don't have access to a computer exactly 24 hours before your return flight. BUT for $10 recently they've allowed you to sign up to have the computer put your name in 24 hours in advance. As a result since more and more people are doing this, it is getting harder to get in the A group if you do it by hand.
    One other plus for SW--they tend to fly to the smaller airports...So Midway not O'Hare and Oakland, not SF. As a result you get to the same area, but at the more pleasant airports.

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