Guest post by Jesse Clark of Soul Travel
If you’re just getting your feet wet in the world of solo travel, there are many tricks that you will pick up along the way. However, there are also things that you can learn now to help you get the most value out of your vacation.
From utilizing safety features on your phone to understanding sneaky fees, what you know before you go abroad or cross country can have a big impact on your trip. From flight plans and accommodations to cruises and sightseeing tours, Allen Batista Travel, Inc. can help you plan out and book everything you need for your next travel adventure.
Keep scrolling, because the following quick tips are worth the three-minute read.
When you’re driving cross country, you’ll likely need to refer to your phone for directions. But constantly grabbing your phone to find out where to turn next will put you at risk of getting into an accident. Choose navigation, traffic, and emergency-related apps that will allow you to keep your hands on the wheel.
If you’re thinking of buying a new phone, make sure it’s reliable. Many devices can connect to your car and display important information on your dashboard. The Android Auto feature provides GPS navigation, traffic alerts and voice-activated technology, so you can respond to text messages verbally. It will also lock your phone while you’re driving.
Meanwhile, Apple devices offer the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature, which can sense when you’re driving and will block incoming texts and calls. You’ll find other important features in the latest Apple phones; for example, you’ll be able to run anything efficiently on the iPhone 11 thanks to its powerful chip. Be sure to compare Android and Apple models while you’re shopping to help you decide which option will be best for you.
Finally, make sure you keep a car charger in your vehicle. You don't want to get into a situation where your phone dies and you can't use it to look up directions or to find out where you are! Look into buying a car charger that has fast charging capabilities so that your phone is ready for use when you're ready to get out of the car and go exploring.
Bigger Details to Keep in Mind
There are many things that often fly under the radar of young travelers just learning the ropes, so to speak. The car you drive to your destination or what you plan to rent once you get there is one example. Before you choose your ride, do some research to know what will work based on your planned activities. While you’re certainly free to drive whatever vehicle you want, being prepared can save you time and money if you wind up having to rent a more capable mode of transportation upon arrival.
Something else to consider is whether your car insurance will cover you for a rental vehicle. While some insurance policies will cover this, others don’t. So read the fine print of your policy or call your agent before agreeing to the rental car agency’s extra insurance plan.
If you’re driving your own car, you should consider purchasing full-coverage insurance before heading out on your trip. When you’re traveling, the unexpected does happen, and this type of insurance will give you protection in case your car is damaged by weather or vandalism.
Now You See Fee, Now You Don’t
Taxes and fees are just a part of life on the road. Unfortunately, there are many more than you are probably aware of. In terms of airlines, Budget Travel lists cancellation and change fees, phone and in-person booking fees, and even charges for sodas and pillows as hidden expenses to be on the lookout for.
The airlines are not the only ones to try to squeeze every last dollar and dime from your wallet. Many hotels dub themselves “resorts” and tack on an extra $20-$30 per night for what amounts to services that should be included in the quoted price.
Before booking at a new hotel, call ahead to ask about any fees that aren’t listed in your reservation details. You may also dispute charges for things like uneaten snacks from your hotel minibar, or ask for a refund if you do wind up paying a resort fee, but find that promised amenities (like the pool or fitness center) are unavailable.
Timing is Everything
In travel as with life, timing is everything. This philosophy can be applied to both the planning process – booking early usually gets you the best price – and also to the logistical aspects of travel. The time you check into your hotel and when you get to the airport matter.
At your hotel, earlier arrivals are likely to get the best rooms; at the airport, you may miss your flight if you get stuck in security or get lost heading to your gate. Many hotels will allow you to check in online and choose your room, so that will mitigate that inconvenience, but there’s very little you can do to avoid arriving at the airport at least an hour and a half ahead of departure.
Traveling takes a lot of work and planning, but it’s worth it. And remember, your travel agent, parents, grandparents, and other more experienced travelers can offer a wealth of advice. Don’t count them out, and don’t be afraid to ask about anything you don’t understand.