The process of purchasing an airline ticket has become something out of an episode from Survivor — can you outwit, outlast, outplay the airlines and get the price you want? It seems someone is finally seeking to form an alliance.
Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation joined forces to conduct an immensely comprehensive data study, analyzing 10 billion flights, to provide you with a detailed strategy for getting the best price on an airline ticket without having to sell your soul at a tribal council.
First, let me tell you when it’s time for you to go: you can actually get the best fare by traveling on the weekend. Business flights are much more expensive than those catering to leisure travelers, so flights that take you to or from your destination over a weekend will be more affordable than those departing during the week. That should help you know when it’s time for you to go.
Here’s the skinny: airlines change their prices multiple times a day. George Hobica of Airfare Watchdog suggests checking, at a minimum, four times a day, every day of the week, as far in advance as you can. Sheesh. Yes, it may take a little work to find the best deal.
Traveling is not all happy trails when accidents happen. Spilling coffee on your suitcase as you hurry toward your gate can create quite a mess. It’s also not pleasant to retrieve your luggage from the carousel and discover some strange stain on its exterior, like grease or who knows what. While you probably won’t have time to attempt to clean the stain before you return home, in case you don’t read any further, know this: DO NOT USE SOAP AND WATER!Perhaps that’s surprising. We’ll explain exactly what to do in a minute. While we’ve covered how to clean the interior of your Travelpro luggage in a previous post, we realized we need you to know how to maintain your bag’s exterior as well!
Travelpro products are designed and manufactured to be durable, functional, and easy to maintain. Over the years, manufacturing innovations and overall quality of fabrics and water resistant/stain resistant coatings have led to constant improvement in the wear of our luggage.
Procrastinators, beware! The State Department wants you to check your passport expiration and submit it now to avoid the expected flood of renewals of the 10-year document. They’re anticipating a surge in demand because 2006 was the first year the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, requiring Americans flying to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean to produce a passport for re-entry into the country.There has also been an increase in renewal activity due to the implementation of the Real ID Act, which creates a more stringent set of standards for travelers using driver’s licenses and other identity cards to board a plane.
To clarify, the Department of Homeland Security has set a January 22, 2018 deadline for states to comply with the changes instituted by the Real ID Act. A passport will serve as a viable alternative to either forms of identification for those traveling after the deadline from non-compliant states.
Airline travel is a necessity for me, but as a taller-than-average guy, I think more about the two inches of extra space some airlines offer, than most people do. Two inches doesn’t seem like much, until your knees are jammed into the seatback in front of you, and you’re wedged in for three to four hours.According to a survey conducted by Conde Nast Traveler (and reported on Huffington Post), the three airlines that provide the most legroom on US domestic flights include Jet Blue, with 33 inches; Virgin America, with 32 inches; and Southwest, with 32 inches. The bottom two are no surprise: Frontier and Spirit, each with 28 inches (although Spirit offers no recline). Twenty-eight inches is just a non-starter for me.
It’s somewhat surprising to me that the “big three” U.S. carriers — Delta, American, and United — all average 31 inches. It goes to show that utilizing a smaller airline might actually prove to be a better choice, not just for a lower price, but because there can be an extra two inches of legroom.
It seems everyone has a tip for how to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. No one knows better, though, than flight attendants. Many of them use the Flight Crew Series Rollaboard from Travelpro.
Here are a few of their expert packing tips, as shared with Condé Nast Traveler magazine.Heavy items such as toiletries and shoes take up a lot of space, but where you put them in your Rollaboard will determine your ease of maneuvering the bag through the airport. If you place your toiletries and shoes in the bottom of the case nearest the wheel base, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. By doing this it keeps the center of gravity low and it avoids heavier items falling into your clothing when the bag is being pulled upright. Flip flops and some sandals are by far the most versatile shoe with the smallest packing “footprint.” They go with many casual outfits and can serve as slippers in the hotel.
Don’t use a garment bag. Generally, they don’t fit in the overhead bins well, and closet space on planes is reserved for use by first class passengers first. If you insist, most likely it will be checked and then you’ll have wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
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Atlantic goes the extra mile with the addition of an external USB port and integrated battery pouch in the Carry-On Spinner model, which provides convenient access to power your phone and tablet on the move. Masterfully versatile, the affordable Unite 2 collection gives you a choice of ideal gifts for family travelers who need an extra hand and electronic devices that are always available for immediate use.
I can almost tell how my trip is going to go by how efficiently I can get set up when I arrive at my hotel. Unpacking begins with thoughtful packing, and by that I mean strategic placement of items in my luggage or garment bag. So, the first thing I do when I get to my hotel room is remove the items I’ve folded, usually shirts, to assess how they weathered the trip.
This isn’t rocket science, but it stands to reason that folded items will only become more wrinkled the longer they remain folded. Because I really try to avoid ironing if I can possibly help it, my strategic packing begins with placing my folded shirts in the mesh pocket in the lid of my suitcase. This way, the weight of the other items in my bag is not creating more wrinkles than already exist from folding them in the first place.If I have to take dress clothes, I use one of Travelpro’s cases that has a Suiter in it, like the Crew 10 22″ Exp. Rollaboard. This protects my suit coat and pants from excessive wrinkling and creasing. The Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 and Crew 10 50″ Rolling Garment Bag has a foam rollbar to keep pants from creasing in the middle.
Thanks to the miracle of gravity, most wrinkles will hang out with time. That’s why I make hanging my folded items my next priority. Bringing an especially wrinkled item into the bathroom while I shower also helps those folds relax.
It’s not just in your head. The airplane food we consume while in flight does taste different than those same foods on the ground. But before you go blaming the companies that produce those meals — because this goes for the food you brought onto the plane with you as well — let me share the science those chefs are trying to combat in order to create a palatable dining experience at 30,000 feet.
We read a recent article in Travel + Leisure magazine that said there are a number of factors that contribute to our airline food tasting funny or different.
You’ve heard it a thousand times if you’ve heard it once: stay hydrated when you fly. Did you know that dehydration also impacts taste? Liquids expand and contract as the cabin pressure changes, and that makes wine and other alcohol thin and taste acidic. If you want to consume such beverages and enjoy them inflight, be sure to have sufficient water before boarding and during the flight.
Your ability to smell also takes a hit as soon as you step into a plane, and continues to deteriorate as the plane climbs to its cruising altitude. Decreased ability to smell also impacts taste. If you’ve ever pinched your nose to avoid tasting your cough medicine, you’ve seen this in action.
In addition to the Fraunhofer survey, the BBC reported that passengers noted the increased noise as a deterrent to fully tasting the sweet and salt spectrum. Several ingredients that are unchanged by altitude include those that are bitter, spicy, and sour, so chefs utilize those to perk up the flavors of their dishes. Lemongrass, cardamom, and curry are also unaffected.
If you want to improve your dining experience, stay hydrated and lower your expectations, or bring your own food.
Photo credit: Cudd22 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)
Our very own Scott Applebee appeared on a recent episode of Rudy Maxa’s World with The Careys, the world travel radio show and podcast from travel expert Rudy Maxa.
Scott talked with hosts Robert and Mary Carey about the history of Travelpro luggage, and the important role played by Bob Plath in developing the Rollaboard suitcase, which launched our entire company and changed the industry.
They also talked about a recent trip Robert Carey made to our testing facility here in Boca Raton, Florida, and the way we test our bags (including freezing the bag and dropping it from waist height). And they rounded out the segment with the important features to look for when buying a new bag, including looking at the warranty (look for 10 years or longer), testing the retractable handle, and seeing if you can open and close the bag easily.
You can download the entire Rudy Maxa’s World with The Careys podcast episode here, or listen to Scott’s segment below.