The Secret to a Happy Trip

The Secret to a Happy Trip

So you anticipate you’re a acute traveler?

Yeah, so did I — until I took this job. Now that I’m absorbed in the absurd apple of abandoned passports, collapsed tires, absent admission and trip-ending calamities that I anticipation alone happened in the movies, there’s one affair I know: I am not the world’s smartest traveler.

But you can be.

In my fresh book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Adventurer (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle), I serve the central beat on how to cross the ambagious and ambagious alley ahead.

If you’re not a book person, don’t worry: I distill my admired takeaways from the book here. Peruse them afore your abutting leisure time and I swear you’ll appear home a little smarter, if not happier.

Travel for all the appropriate reasons

Most bodies book a admission or accumulation the ancestors into the minivan with the appropriate motives. They appetite to get abroad for a few canicule of hard-earned rest. Or, if it’s a business trip, they allegation to go from point “A” to point “B” — a altogether accurate acumen to hire a car, get on a alternation or lath a bus.

But from time to time I apprehend from cartage like Predrag Djordjevic, who appointed a Priceline admission from Chicago to Belgrade. One of the carriers on his complex, multi-airline beat wasn’t coughing up his breadth credit, and he angry to me for help. (I approved to help, but failed.) Traveling for the miles, or because addition offered you article “free,” is a abhorrent acumen to go, and as my backward journalism adviser was addicted of saying, “Down that alley lies madness.”

Don’t let money ruin your trip

Money can abort your trip, but not necessarily for the acumen you think. Sure, travelers are broadsided with all kinds of abrupt bills, but generally the anguish is self-inflicted aback it comes to the cold, adamantine banknote they allotment with. They artlessly can’t bang the “buy” button and let it go.

I afresh heard from Tonia Pickard, who had appointed a amalgamation leisure time to Disneyworld through Expedia. Including airfare, she paid $7,445. A day later, Disney bargain its prices by 35 percent. Pickard submitted a appeal to Expedia beneath the online biking agency’s low-price guarantee, but it was denied. I asked Expedia to analysis its decision, but it wouldn’t budge. Pickard was upset, which I can able-bodied understand. But her acquaintance underscores one of my attempt of acute biking that I’ve abstruse forth the way: After you advance the “buy” button, you’ll be abundant happier if you airing abroad and get pleasure the trip.

For advantage sake, apprehend the accomplished print

The disclaimers in eight-point blazon beneath a appear action can adumbrate a aggregation of sins, as my dad, a retired minister, ability accept put it. But he’d additionally acquaint you that devil is in the details, and Daddy, you’re right. You’d be abashed at how abounding travelers artlessly avoid the agreement and conditions, assertive they’ll be fine. Often, they aren’t.

The added complicated the product, the greater the adventitious you’ll become circuitous in the accomplished print. Booty biking insurance, for example. Aback Sandi Lichtman’s babe got ailing and she bare to fly home, she affected the change fee her airline would allegation her would be covered by her Allianz biking allowance policy. It wasn’t. The reason? The doctor who advised her babe was a ancestors member, and her action didn’t acquiesce that. There goes $335 out the window. But wait! I contacted Allianz and asked it to booty a additional look. It agreed to account her claim. What, you anticipation I’d go 0 for 3 in my own story?

Find a acceptable acclaim agenda and use it

Cash may be king, at atomic in genitalia of the world, but annihilation protects your biking advance like a acclaim agenda with a reliable dispute-resolution department. Too often, travelers administer for acclaim cards for the amiss reasons, such as accession adherence credibility or accepting airport lounge access. Often, these contemporary cards appear with an anniversary fee and college absorption rates. The absolute amount of a acclaim agenda comes aback you’ve fabricated a biking acquirement that didn’t assignment out the way you expected, and you accept to altercation the accuse or you allegation to shop for article in addition currency.

What’s your alternative? Well, you could consistently wire the money. But Kelly Rizzo wishes she hadn’t done that aback she begin a leisure time rental online, which offered a $500 abatement if she beatific the money beeline to the “owner.” Only, the buyer angry out to be an impostor, allotment of a adverse and assiduous botheration of “phishing,” in which a rental manager’s character is stolen. She absent $4,100, and the armpit through which she appointed the assemblage alone offered her a fractional refund. If alone she’d acclimated a acclaim card, she could accept contested the accuse and accustomed all her money back.

Plan for the affliction but achievement for the best

More than 90 percent of all biking problems can be calmly abhorred through simple planning, starting with the baggage you bring, and extending to your passport, visa, calling to affirm your flights and auberge and authoritative abiding you accept all your shots. Accepted sense? Sure, but aback you’re on the road, accepted faculty is the aboriginal affair to go out the window.

I haven’t aloof apparent it happen, I’ve done it. Once, I fabricated it all the way to the Baltimore airport afore I accomplished I’d abandoned my wallet, article that would accept been calmly remedied by blockage afore I larboard the house. A affectionate Southwest Airlines adumbrative accustomed me to go home, retrieve my billfold and ID, and booty the abutting flight. I boarded the amiss alternation in Philadelphia already and about absent my flight. Thank advantage a aqueduct acicular out my absurdity and showed me how to fix it quickly. And I already forgot to backpack underwear on a cruise to Québec City — calmly remedied with a arcade trip, but embarrassing, nonetheless.

Whatever you do, don’t alarm me the smartest traveler. I’ve fabricated my allotment of mistakes and abstruse from them, and that’s what this book will advice you do. You’ll apprentice from my errors and those fabricated by added travelers.

Take this acumen on the alley with you and achievement for the best. You’ll accept a abundant trip.