Finding the right flight can be a full-time job. Is there a cheaper one out there? Could there be one with a more convenient route? One with better seats? And it’s the same story when it comes to tracking down decently priced hotel rooms or car rentals. Often, travelers end up not booking a good deal when they see one because they’re so nervous that they’ll miss out on an even better value if only they keep researching for another 15 minutes! That’s one of the reasons we’ve tipped readers off to helpful sites like Options Away, which lets you reserve airfare for up to three weeks, and Routehappy, which helps determine which flights will give you the best value for your money—to make the travel-planning process less stressful.
But even if you successfully navigate that maze of logistics—even if you find a great hotel, book the right rental car, and plan the most amazing itinerary (with or without one of Wendy’s top travel specialists)—you can’t anticipate everything, and occasionally things still go wrong when you get there.
For some people (me included) these stressors have the potential to derail the whole point of the vacation: to relax and rejuvenate you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In a recent interview with business travel expert Joe Brancatelli, he shared three incredibly smart tips that might just eliminate all travel stress entirely. Here’s what Joe had to say—bookmark it and look at it before every trip.
1. How to find cheap fares and rates
“I never like to be in people’s wallets, but I think people spend too much time searching for the lowest fare or the cheapest hotel room or the lowest price on a car rental. The travel industry has spent millions on computers trying to beat you. And, to be honest, someone is always better at the game than you. Travelers should value their time as they plan a holiday. Do you really want to spend another hour of your time looking to shave $10 off the price? Is your time worth so little? I say find the “fair fare,” in other words a price you think is reasonable for an airline seat, hotel room or car rental. Then book it. Stop spending hours fighting over pennies in search of the nonexistent “lowest” price. Because even if you think you got it, I can assure you that you’ll find someone at the resort or on the flight who actually paid less than you did.”
2. How to deal with travel problems during your trip
“Even if it costs you a few bucks, do whatever you have to do to fix a travel problem on the spot so you can go back to enjoying your trip. Argue with the travel company about compensation later. But, within reason, fix the problem first, worry about compensation later.”
3. How to resolve travel problems in your favor and be made whole again
“When it comes time to even the account, know how to write an intelligent, effective letter of complaint. I’ve written how to do it several times and I am always amazed at how poorly people handle their interaction with a travel company. Get the emotions out of it. Talk facts. And don’t forget to ask for the compensation you want. No company is going to offer you anything more than a form-letter apology unless you specifically ask for something tangible to make things right.”
Learn more from Joe by following him at Joe Sent Me.