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Friday, May 18, 2012

Super Useful Travel Links 5.18.12

It’s that time again. I’ve been collecting some interesting links while posting and reviewing like mad this week. I hope you’ve been entering some of the contests that are happening in conjunction with REVIEWapalooza. Early next week I’ll be reviewing the new Travelon Anti-theft Urban Tour Bag and also giving one away. I think this bag is going to be very appealing to the male readers and travelers, though it’s also a great bag for the ladies that don’t like a traditional day bag that looks like a purse. Eric will be doing some modeling as well this time, so you can see how well it works for everyone.

I’ve not see a ton of amazing things out there in the last few weeks. Mostly, the same story from AAA saying that Memorial Weekend trips are up and Summer vacationing is iffy, because of the economy and travelers worried about personal finances and job security. Obviously, more travelers will be road-tripping it over Memorial Weekend, myself included, which makes it a little more affordable, so while the stats are interesting, they are totally surprising and I definitely didn’t need 400 links to the study. In between deleting another email telling me of this revelation, I found some stuff that isn’t common knowledge to share with you.
You all know I love travel gadgets. Travel gadgets that make your life easier are always the best, especially when it can help you get through airport security faster and with less hassle. If you are a frequent traveler, then CLEAR might be something you want to check out. Right now it’s only available in Orlando (MCO) and Denver (DEN) airports – which is great if either of those are your home airport – but can speed you through the security process, so you don’t have to wait in long lines.  For $179/year (or $50 more to upgrade to the family plan, children under 18 are free with your subscription), you get a special CLEARcard, that has all your information on it and you are verified by fingerprint and iris at the fancy CLEARcube kiosk at participating airports.
Other airports will be joining the program, so you can sign up to be notified of new ones when they are available. Know someone who travels and uses MCO or DEN as their home airport? You can buy them 6 months of CLEAR for just $79. Of course, you could probably by yourself 6 months at that price and if you like it, then buy an annual subscription. It only saves you $11, but that’s still a savings!

Do you love travel so much you want to take it home with you? I’m not talking about turning your house into Fiji, though that would be super cool, but having an airline seat as a chair in your guest bedroom, or a drink cart for parties. Travel + Leisure has discovered that you can buy parts of retired commercial airplanes from a company that sells on eBay. Father’s Day is coming up and maybe your dad is a plane fanatic. Buy him something truly unique, like his own airplane lavatory! (Loving that idea for a tiny guest house in your backyard. Not sure how the plumbing would work, but it’s a great space saver.)

So, you all know by now that I am a guest contributor on FareCompare. Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare and airfare expert, has some fantastic travel tips, especially regarding summer travel and when you should book your flights and what prices you can expect to pay. I love that he gives actual numbers for you to work from when trying to find a deal on summer airfare. Not only that, he gives some practical tips for those that need a dose of reality when it comes to finding low prices. The long and short of it is that you probably will find very few deals from now on, but if you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll know to jump on it.

For those of you in the majority that are taking a long weekend away for Memorial Day, Techlicious gives you some tips on saving money on gas. While most has been covered before – speeding will burn more fuel, try the most direct route, keep your car up-to-date on maintenance like oil changes – there are still some new ones, like using apps to find the best deals on your way and to avoid crap traffic getting to your destination.  

I’ve covered frequent flyer miles several times before, but even for me it can still be a mystery. Conde Nast Traveler’s Daily Traveler covers 6 Starter Tips for Stockpiling Frequent Flyer Miles and Points for those that are still clueless and need help just figuring out where to start. There are many things you can do to accrue miles and earning them can really help you save on your trips, especially when you have enough to trade in for a free ticket, as airfare is one of the most expensive parts of almost any trip.

In case you missed it, Ebates is celebrating their 13th birthday and, as a gift to everyone else, over 130 online merchants are offering 13% cash back. If you need any travel gear – clothing, carry-on bags, toiletries – make sure you head over and make some purchases. If you aren’t yet an Ebates member, it’s super easy to join and totally free. Actually, they pay YOU to sign up. Get $5 or a $10 gift card of your choice of three available. They have hundreds of online merchants to choose from and you can earn up to 25% cash back, more if a merchant is a daily double.

Want to earn points you can trade in for gift cards you can use to buy travel items or use on vacation? Sign up for Swagbucks. It’s free and easy and you can earn points by just doing an internet search each day from their site. I earn enough for a gift card each month and hardly do anything. Who can’t use a $5 credit for Amazon? You can also turn in your points for Paypal cash, prizes and restaurant gift cards. Get extra Swagbucks points for finding secret codes, too! Here’s a special celebration to entice you more into signing up:
The Swagbucks Carnival has started, and it gives you an opportunity to earn bonus Swag Bucks each day just for earning the way you normally would. Check the meter on your homepage and you'll see you daily goal and how close you are to hitting it. Every day you hit the goal, you add to your bonus! As if that wasn't enough, you'll get additional bonuses based on how many days of the Carnival you're able to hit your goal! To top it all, Swagbucks is having a Swag Code extravaganza on Monday - that means lots of codes, lots of Swag Bucks and lots of fun! Don't miss it!
Got any good travel links you want to hook us up with? Post 'em in a comment!
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