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Friday, September 20, 2013

Super Useful Travel Links

It's official: Tomorrow is the last day of summer. How can that be? It seems like it just got here. For many of you that means the kids are already back in school and you're happy to be done with summer vacation. Did you go anywhere? If you didn't, then it's time to start planning something for Fall or Winter. If you did, but still have some money left in the travel fund, the same goes for you. Tomorrow we'll be talking about how to save for your vacations, but today I want to share a little about travel safety, what to do when you have a complaint, how not to get ripped off and then cap it off with something fun. Remember: if you have a fun/interesting/useful travel link to share, please put it in the comments. We LOVE those!

Are you in the majority of travelers who have something to complain about? Is it a legit problem, like the stewardess gave you (unwarranted) flak or you were overcharged? If so, then it seems like it would help to know how to complain effectively and how to file such a thing. Airfare Watchdog knows that sometimes things don't always go the way you or the airline would like and have some tips on what to do, how to word your letter of complaint and where to send it. I'm pretty sure the fact that you only got one bag of pretzels or your neighbor snoozed on your shoulder the whole flight do not count as valid complaints.
If you have immediate problems that need attention by the airlines N.O.W., then this fancy site called Routes International have all the toll-free numbers for all the airlines ever. Okay, probably not those that are out of business, like Pan-Am, but ones that you can actually buy a ticket for.

I travel quite a bit and rent cars a lot. I know the ins and outs of it pretty well by now, but I realize that not everyone does. It becomes more clear to me when I am waiting in line and it takes the people in front of me 45 minutes to check in when it only takes us 5. Returning your car should be even easier - pull up where it says to, make sure all your crap is out, have the attendant check you in and give you a receipt - but it looks like many people are being wrongfully accused of damaging their rental cars when they haven't done anything. When we rent a car, my husband and I take a few minutes to both check out the car and note any marks, dents or anything else unusual. We've been pretty lucky, and have never gotten into an accident, though someone did break into our rental in Quito, resulting in getting a new window put in. We've also never been accused of, or charged, for a late return. If you're afraid this could happen to you, check out this new app called Rental Pics, so you know what to photograph when, and have evidence right on your mobile phone.
Another place you can get ripped off fairly easily is at the ATM. We use these all the time and never really think about how thieves can be targeting us when they aren't even physically there, but they can. Have you ever heard of an ATM skimmer. I have, but never really knew how to spot one before. BootsnAll has changed that with explanations of what they are, how they work, what they look like and even include pictures! This could really save your butt.

Have you ever checked out of a hotel, or any other type of accommodation, and realized later that you totally left something(s) behind? I once forgot my laptop in a drawer and had to call and then go back for it. Thankfully, we were only 20 minutes away. On my trip to Vegas I left both my shower gel and my concealer in the bathroom. Boo! I hate having to waste money replacing stuff. Even little stuff. HotelChatter lists 10 things you should do before checking out of a hotel, and they aren't all related to leaving half your stuff behind. 
In anticipation for my trip to London, and a side trip to Stonehenge and Bath, I share with you this great cartoon a friend sent me. If IKEA wrote the instructions for building Stonehenge, what would those instructions look like and how was it supposed to turn out? This gets many laughs, because as much as I love IKEA, these made up instructions are easier than some of the ones that come with their furniture. Enjoy!

I hope you're having a wonderful week, are ready for the weekend and planning a trip somewhere awesome. See you tomorrow!

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