10 Travel Tips with Christie McGown at Happy Place Travel

1. Take advantage of the local transportation options when they make sense. For example, in New York City, a cab might be stuck in gridlock traffic, while the subway zooms you right to your destination.

2. Look for the best times to buy your plane ticket. I do tend to see better pricing early in the week (Sundays - Mondays), and price can creep up as the week progresses. Also, buying in advance is best. Especially for HOT travel times such as spring break, fall break and Christmas.

3. Understand the process for exchanging currency if you are going to another country. Use the ATMs; often, the ATMs will have the best exchange rate.

4. Pre-plan your tours so you are not spending your vacation time scheduling.  Also, if you are visiting the location for the first time, I recommend scheduling an overview tour of the city on the first full day. You will spot places you may want to visit during your trip. Also, ask your tour guide for dining recommendations. They are local, and will know all the best places that locals go.

5. Try to book your trip six-nine months before you plan to travel. Many travelers believe that waiting until the last minute is the best time to get the best pricing. That’s mostly a myth. If you can plan your trip during January through March, you can take advantage of many great sales. The resorts and the cruise lines want to know that they have their “beds” sold for the year. So, you tend to see great savings on trips scheduled and deposited during the first quarter of the year.

6. All-inclusive properties can be a great value, however, all-inclusive resorts are not offered everywhere. You primarily find them in Mexico and the Caribbean. It’s a great feeling to know that most of your costs are already covered when you set off for your destination.

7. Focus on vacation preferences, rather than a specific destination while planning. How do you like to travel? What do you like to do? Are you seeking adventure? Are you a wine aficionado, or a foodie? It’s great fun to build a trip around specific interests. Once we know where a client’s interest lies, we can better design a custom itinerary for them.

8. Some tours and experiences are only available through a travel agent. Travel professionals make contacts in their preferred destinations all the time. You may find that your travel planner has a tour or experience that you can only get through that particular planner.

9. If you are celebrating a special occasion, please be sure to let your travel professional know this, because they might be able to offer an added amenity. While upgrades are spectacular, more people are traveling than ever and upgrades can be hard to score.  

10. Book attractions ahead of time to save money and time; a lot of activities have long lines and will sell out on the day of the event. We do recommend scheduling those absolutely must-do tours or activities prior to your arrival. This saves you time during your precious vacation hours. Also, we recommend that you do not over schedule yourself. Pick one or two activities so you know you have those set. Then, see where the wind takes you the remainder of the trip. We lead such scheduled lives on a day-to-day basis that you may not want to be so scheduled while on vacation.

For more info, contact Happy Place Travel at www.happyplacetravel.com