10 Sanity Saving Travel Tips

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10 Sanity Saving Travel Tips
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Most of us love to travel, but imagine how much more we would love it if didn't come with the chance of delayed flights, expensive hotels or unexpected fees. Luckily, you can avoid many travel-related hassles if you plan ahead, says Jaime Freedman, the head publisher at Travelzoo, a national travel and local deal Internet company headquartered in New York City. With a few pointers, anyone can plan a carefree trip, she says.

See it, Buy it
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See it, Buy it

You may mull over a good airplane fare hoping it might get even lower later. Instead of waiting, purchase the ticket, Freedman recommends. Department of Transportation rules that took effect in January 2012 allow travelers to cancel a booking without penalty 24 hours after the reservation is made, as long as the reservation is made one week or more before departure, she says.

Seek Out Empty Middles
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Seek Out Empty Middles

If you are traveling with someone else, a good tip is to book one window and one aisle seat in the same row, Freedman says. This increases the chances that no one will purchase the middle seat and you'll have more room when you fly. "People are less likely to choose a middle seat when they travel by themselves," Freedman says. If someone does purchase the seat, you can be the hero that offers them one of your window or aisle seats, Freedman says.

Book Early Flights
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Book Early Flights

The first flight out in the morning is always less likely to have a delay, Freedman says. So if you can get up at the crack of dawn, you will probably get to your vacation sooner.

Travel on These Days
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Travel on These Days

The days of travel that are generally the cheapest are Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, Freedman says. There also tend to be fewer people traveling on those days, which will make your airport and airplane experience more pleasant. The majority of airfare sales also come out on Tuesdays, Freedman adds.

Think Local Everywhere
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Think Local Everywhere

Just as you may check out daily deal websites to find good deals in your city, search for local deals in your destination city and you'll have a more authentic experience devoid of tourist trappings, Freedman says. Many sites also offer deals that have a short expiration date. If you sign up for these offers and act fast, you can get some serious bargains.

Travel on Holidays, Literally
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Travel on Holidays, Literally

Christmas Day is actually the cheapest day to fly, Freedman says. So it's perfect if you're OK with missing out on pre-holiday activities. New Year's Day also has some lower rates, she adds. The six weeks after Thanksgiving are also a good time to search for vacation deals, especially to Las Vegas. "There's a lull between Thanksgiving and the New Year and historically, there are very low hotel rates in Vegas in these weeks." Early January is also a good time to plan a trip to the Caribbean when resorts try to entice people to visit, she adds.

Book Hotels in the Business District
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Book Hotels in the Business District

If you are looking for a weekend away, book your hotel in the central business district or a financial district of the city you are visiting. These hotels are busiest Monday to Friday and often try to woo weekend travelers, Freedman says. Plus, downtown hotels generally have a higher number of stars.

Look for All-Inclusive Deals
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Look for All-Inclusive Deals

Many resorts, particularly in the Caribbean and Mexico, have great all-inclusive deals that include hotel and meals, Freedman says. Many of them also offer free deals for children under 12. If you are traveling with your family, you should also consider booking a condominium resort where you have more space and a kitchen to allow you to cut down on food costs, Freedman says. "We recently published a deal that offered $99 for a two bedroom Orlando condo," she says.

Be Aware of Hidden Fees
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Be Aware of Hidden Fees

Many travelers don't calculate fees when booking their trips, Freedman says. Baggage fees, transfer fees and public transportation can all add up, so make sure you factor in all travel and transport costs.

Track the Weather
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Track the Weather

When booking a trip that has layovers, remember to consider the weather at each location, Freedman says. If it's winter and you have the option to travel through Atlanta or Chicago, pick the Atlanta layover, she says. "Be mindful. Weather in the cities you are traveling through can really impact where you are going," Freedman says.

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