European Car Rental – Top Ten Tips for Europe Travel – Tip #2: The Price Is Right

When it comes to shopping for something on-line, we tend to become naturally more focused on a singular aspect of the product or service we desire. There is so much information to be absorbed while browsing sites that it is nearly impossible to factor everything in. This is very true of the travel industry, which happens to be the second largest on-line market (I’m sure you can guess what the first is) and the one thing most customers tend to zero in on is that magical of all numbers: price.

This is of course to be expected. We can, after all, only afford what is in our budget. However, the first order of business should always be to understand the requirements of our vacation, in this case, the car rental. Before you look at prices, you should have a solid idea of how many people you need to accommodate, the amount of days you are staying, whether or not you can drive a manual shift, and the locations you are picking up and dropping off at. Provided you have those things locked down, you can safely move on to comparison shopping.

While it is true that 91% of travelers at least research if not purchase their trips on-line (source: Nielsen NetRatings – EyeforTravel independent study), it is always best to have some human contact before you make that important decision. In fact, if it is difficult to elicit at least a personalized e-mail response within 24 hours of contacting a travel company, you can almost guarantee that their customer service will put you on the back burner should you have a problem. Before you settle on a price, make sure that any future dealings with the company you choose will be satisfactory, or you will end up paying much more than that number on the screen.

The time honored tradition these days is “added extras”, also sometimes known as local taxes, hidden fees, or much more malicious wordings, depending on who you talk to. Some companies only quote you a “base rate”. Some companies will tell you their price is “all-inclusive”. Sometimes this is true, other times it is anything but. As long as the company is honest in conveying this information, it should not be a deterrent, as sometimes it is not within their control. Make sure you always read any terms and conditions and if you are still uneasy, call or e-mail the company and ask if there are any other charges to be expected upon arrival. Note that I say “charges” and not “fees” or “costs”. The basis of this being that in most cases a security deposit will be held for gas and key as well as a deductible for insurance purposes. The things that should either be included or not are:

Value Added Tax: Like sales tax in the States, all the countries in Europe have a different tax structure. This can be as low as 7.6% (Switzerland) to 25% or more (Scandinavia) and is generally not refundable as it is on goods, since car rental is deemed a service.

Insurance: While there are new types of insurance being imagined up by rental companies everyday, the main ones are usually Collision and Theft (these two are sometimes covered by credit cards – more on that in later articles), liability, personal accident insurance (like medical insurance) and personal effects coverage (covers your belongings inside the vehicle).

Mileage: Only luxury vehicles and SUV’s should come with limited mileage. Beware any company who does not have unlimited mileage on normal sedan and wagon vehicles, even vans.

Local Taxes: These typically include premium location surcharges (airports and railstations especially), road taxes, additional drivers, eco surcharges and more. Like insurances, these are called something different every day.

After inclusions are tallied up, request a free quote in writing. If you can’t get a free quote in writing, chances are the company will end up billing you for something you do not know about. If the company has a website where the quotes are stored, print it out off of your browser. Make sure it has a tracking number so you can pull it up when needed. Also make sure you know the difference between a tracking number and a confirmation number. One holds a rate quote, one holds an actual vehicle.

In general, you can get the lowest price from a consolidator, who deals with multiple suppliers. They have contracted wholesale rates and typically hold more weight when confirming special requests such as hotel deliveries, additional equipment and after hours pick ups. It helps if they have a “best rate” policy. The better companies will offer to beat any rate you can find provided it has the same parameters and inclusions. Always ask if they have discounts for memberships like AAA, AARP, etc. Ask friends who have used the company if they know of any discount codes. You never know what will bring down the price in the long run.

To sum this up, always remember that price should not be the first thing you look at. Make sure the company is reputable, is easy to reach via telephone and e-mail, has the criteria you require available, and then worry about the price. It may sound like a lot of work but in the end you will be happy that made the right choice.

Travel Tips That Will Help Make a Travel Trip Smoother

You finally have some vacation days, which means you can go somewhere for a few days and relax without having to worry about work. Are you excited? While people are excited about traveling, they also feel a bit apprehensive because it can also be a hassle. However, it is essential to remember that this only happens when you don’t plan properly and take advantage of the benefits that technology can offer you these days. If you want to make your trip as smooth as possible, here are some excellent travel tips that can come in handy:

Get organized early on

Staying organized is one of the best ways to prevent any last-minute problems and fiascos. When you have made up your mind to go somewhere, you should inform your credit card company or bank about it so that you don’t face any payment issues. The next step is to take a look at your travel documents before flying because you want to ensure everything is up to date. This includes checking to see if you have a valid visa for every destination that’s part of your flight itinerary. If you find a problem at the eleventh hour, you may have to cancel your plans.

Take advantage of the tech

There is no denying that technology has simplified everything, which includes traveling. Gone are the days when you had to go in blind to a new place because you can now check out everything beforehand thanks to technology. You can find a wide array of travel apps that can turn out to be immensely useful, which include maps that can help you in getting around the new city and finding places. Likewise, there are also apps that enable you to get real-time flight updates, weather conditions and even find your restaurants according to your dietary requirements.

Opt for pre-booking where possible

It is recommended that you tick off as many things as possible from your list to avoid any issues. Again, technology plays a role here because you can now check out vacation rental websites for booking your accommodation, car hiring websites to hire a car for picking you up from the airport and similar other tasks. This can enable you to save a lot of your valuable time and keep the pressure off so you can stay stress-free.

Avoid the rush

If you are going on a vacation instead of a business trip, you want to be as relaxed as possible in order to enjoy. This can only happen if you give yourself time to make it to the airport and go through security. You can make use of GPS in this situation for checking your estimated travel time and even mark the route that can get you there quickest.

Be ready for security

If you have traveled before, you know the ins and outs of security. It is best to place your keys, jewelry and small electronic devices in your carry-on luggage as it can save time. You don’t have to empty out your pockets and get through easily. It is also necessary to ensure you are complying with all the custom requirements when it comes to large electronic devices and liquids. Other than that, you should also be familiar with the number of pieces of baggage or the weight limit imposed. These requirements can differ for countries and airlines and you should be familiar with them beforehand to avoid any penalties or fines.

As long as you follow the tips mentioned, you will be able to enjoy a smooth and relaxing trip and face no hassles.

The Best Travel Tips For Your Dream Vacation

It is not rare to hear about vacations that have gone horribly wrong. However, the bottom line is, the nightmare would probably not have happened with good planning. If you want to avoid the problems that come along with poor vacation planning, read on for some great advice. Be aware of your passport’s expiration date. Some countries have very specific rules regarding passports, including when they expire. Depending on the expiration date of your passport, a country may not let you visit. These times can be three or six months, or even eight months to a year. Some travel websites off e-tracking options that you can use. This will provide you with the most current and cheapest methods of travel. You will be sent email alerts if a flight you have shown interest in lowers it price and can now be purchased at a lower rate. If you have already booked a flight, you will also receive an email alert if the price of the ticket has dropped.

TIP! If you’re going on a cruise, pack a tackle box and keep your valuables in it. Cruises often have a lot of thieves aboard them and you don’t want to risk losing something important to you.

Use a list to help you pack your essentials. Put together a list of things you must take with you. You can start doing this a couple of months out, but should be finished about a week before your trip. This can especially help you if you are in a rush to pack, as it will prevent you forgetting things or including unnecessary items. You do not always have to travel far to experience a great day trip or weekend getaway. There are probably places you haven’t enjoyed in your home state or the neighboring ones. Staying local allows you to save money while benefiting your own local economy. The perfect getaway could be right around the corner. If you bring them, you will be able to connect your laptop to the TV in your room. You can take advantage of various streaming movies rather than pay for expensive rentals directly from the hotel.

TIP! Going on a cruise can be an appealing way to travel for those who want to visit many different locations. They can do so without having to drive themselves or have the hassle of different planes and/or trains.

Sleeping pills can get you through a red-eye flight. This can help you to sleep in a situation that many are uncomfortable in, on board an airplane. If you have trouble sleeping while flying, feel free to have a sleeping pill shortly before your flight in order to help you relax and possibly get a nap in during the trip. Don’t take the medication before you go in case there are delays or problems with the plane. Always plan ahead when traveling by air. Just reaching the airport can be difficult to do quickly, especially if you are traveling through a major city during rush hour. Have your bags packed well in advance. You need to make all of your travel plans far before you plan to fly. Not making your flight will cost you time and money. Make sure your dog is easily accustomed to new places if you plan on traveling together. Your dog needs to reliably respond to leash and voice commands, and you should always keep it leashed during travel and in public places. When traveling, you can assure the safety of your pet by being in control of his activities at all times.

TIP! If you are packing for a cruise, don’t buy anything new for the trip. This is because most cruises today will allow you to remain in casual clothes even for dinner, and almost never require that you dress in black-tie formalwear.

Pack light, and be sure to plan your trip when you travel. A light, smart packing job will make any trip easier and more enjoyable. A desert contains lots of interesting places to look at as well as animals most people never get to see in their lives. A visit to the desert is a breathtaking event, particularly for those who have never made one before, and is something that should not be missed. Be wise about food allergies when visiting a foreign country to avoid dangerous liaisons. Learn enough about the foreign language to understand if something may be dangerous for you. This way, you can easily explain your allergies to waitstaff or chefs in restaurants or–should something happen–medical professionals.

TIP! If you are planning a long cruise, consider selecting a cruise line that offers self-service laundry. This will reduce the amount of laundry you need to bring along when you pack, and is also significantly cheaper than asking the ship’s crew to do your laundry for you.

If you want the cheapest exchange rates, wait to exchange your currency until you arrive at the destination. If you know there won’t be a place to easily exchange currency once you land in your destination country, exchange a limited amount before you leave and then look for a better exchange rate once you arrive in-country. The reason for some of the worst stories about traveling happen because the traveler didn’t think ahead and plan correctly. With the information you have obtained in this article, it is now possible for you to enjoy your vacation stress free!

3 Little Known Tips to Saving Money on Beach Vacation Travel

Here’s a really simple way to save on beach vacation travel. We are going to show you 3 ways to save you some bucks when booking your next beach vacation. The beach is an incredible experience. No matter whether you’ve traveled to far western Australia or taken a quick weekend trip to the Jersey Shore, barring rain, the beach is usually a really enjoyable experience. We’ve taken trips all over the world we’ve missed giant opportunities of money savings that were seemingly all around us if we had just taken the time to do a little extra research. Well, you are in luck. The travel research has been done for you, all you have to do is be willing to keep reading. Before you know it, you’ll be taking the beach vacation of your life, for a steeply discounted price. Here we go:

1)Buy it used. Well, not really used: more like discounted (or unused actually). Sometimes, people can put their vacation opportunities up at real discounts. Did you know that there are all sorts of people out there who own time shares but can’t use them for various reasons? Maybe the season isn’t right, or they can’t seem to get the flight that they need. eBay has a thriving market for timeshare opportunities. A lot of the listings are permanent (e.g. people looking for others to buy their times shares out completely), but sometimes people are just looking to monetize a weeks worth of timeshare that they can’t seem to use themselves. Their loss can be your opportunity. eBay is an auction, and the highest price wins usually.

2) Compare everything. Guess what? Expedia and Orbitz seem like they are juggernauts of internet travel and they control a lot of the market. BUT, they don’t have every vendor available. A lot of the discount airlines like SouthWest and JetBlue don’t use either of these massive companies and you can only get their deals by going directly to their website. Don’t’ tell anyone, but from what we’ve heard JetBlue is supposed to have really nice seats and monitors on new planes with really good prices. We haven’t used JetBlue ourselves yet, but it’s supposed be really good (especially at delivering good value on Northeast to Florida routes). That tip alone could save you some bucks while getting you a really nice flight.

3)The first 2 points are perfectly valid in any trip planning but almost worthless when you consider that you might have to shell out a lot more bucks for destinations abroad. There is a beautiful beach state located not too far from anyone East of the Mississippi. That’s right. Florida. Florida is back and it’s beaches are still fantastic. Florida is still beautiful. There has been a lot of development of Florida during the last 50 years, but Florida is still a massive state with plenty of undiscovered beaches. The state of Florida can be great if you know where to look. It’s pretty nice. Trust us….the undiscovered spots of Florida can really be something else. However, they are becoming more and more difficult to find as thousands of people move to Florida every month.