Travel

8) Use TripCase to Bring Order to your Travel Chaos

For years, I’ve longed for a way to make a timeline/itinerary for trips with complicated, multi-city flights. Who knew that I’d finally find it on my phone. Try it. You can forward itineraries to your account and TripCase automatically sorts out the flights, dates, times, and destinations. You can add events manually, too, and share your itinerary with friends (like your wife or co-workers from your org). Learn more at…

http://www.tripcase.com/

Or find it in the Apple AppStore.

5) Six-Session DVD Series to Prep for Int’l Travel Security —

Are you traveling to a dangerous location? Or … maybe you’re just traveling to a location that can BECOME dangerous by a person that is emotionally haywire. Here’s a group that offers a six-session DVD course featuring David Dose, a well-known trainer on questions of security and travel risk. Check out mini-video-introductions the 6 sessions at the bottom of the home page.

 

http://safetravelsolutions.org/home/

7) USA Citizens can Enroll in “STEP” —

The USA’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Sign up at…

 

https://step.state.gov/step/

 

The US gov’t promises they “will not disclose the information you provide us in your STEP application to any third parties unless you have given us written authorization to do so, or unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted by the Privacy Act.” By signing up, you can get special updates from embassies and other USA sources about the places you’re visiting or the countries in which you’re residing. Worth it.

4) What’s your Favorite Credit Card to Save Frequent Flyer Miles? —

My buddy, Tim, recently acquired the United Mileage Plus Visa Signature Card (they have three levels and this is the middle). The card allowed him to gain…

 

1st year free then $90 a year thereafter.

1 mile for every dollar spent.

Double miles on United Purchases.

40K free miles immediately.

Miles never expire and are unlimited.

Also, 2 free United Club passes per year.

When used to purchase the trip, allows one free bag to be checked.

Also allows priority boarding.

Card plus his status allows free upgrades to economy plus seats.

 

Have you been happy with a credit card like that? I have used an American Express Card since 1991 and by now, they have me in a Platinum version. It’s great because the points will transfer virtually anywhere. But I like Tim’s card because there will be virtually no yearly membership fee. So … what’s in *your* wallet????? (and why?) :-) Please click on “Comment” below — or, if you’re reading the email version of this post, please log onto the web using the link below and leave a note about your best pick. Thanks in advance!!!

11) Save money on hotels / Make money by renting rooms —

Brigada participant, Mark, told us this past week about a new service that offers rented rooms online:

 

http://www.housetrip.com

 

On this site you can list your house for rent without cost. They connect homeowners or second-home owners who are away with willing renters. Pay by credit card that gets credited only if you are satisfied with your stay. If you are traveling for work or holiday consider being a renter.  Homeowners rent out entire apartments, homes and even extra rooms. Mark says the one-year old website out of Switzerland is very user-friendly and safe. So, say goodbye to Motel 6 and say hello to a new house-on-the-way!

3) Global Entry Program Could End up Saving us *Hours* —

I’ve recently qualified for the USA’s Global program. It’s a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports. The cost is $100 for five years, so although that sounds steep, suppose you value your time at $10/hour. Suppose it saves you 2 hours per year over the course of the five-year membership. Suddenly, it’s a free pass, and everything else is gravy. On my first flight back into the USA with my Global Entry certification, my domestic flight was extremely tight, due to a late arrival. Immigration lines spiraled for what looked like a two-hour wait. I was nearly embarrassed by the fact that I walked past all of it.  The enrollment process involves an online application and an interview at one of the offices located in a Global Entry airport.  Visit the website below to see which airports are now included.  This could be a wonderful tool for those who frequently travel overseas, as it allows one to skip the customs lines entirely. Here is the website for more information:

http://www.globalentry.gov/

Keep in mind, if you often travel with groups, it’s possible that this pass might not help you much. Why? You’ll feel so guilty leaving the rest of your group back in the line! Note: Just as I received my certification, Brigada reader Eric C. pointed out to me that this program is not reserved for USA citizens only, a fact I had completely missed. (Thanks Eric!)

8) How to Fight Back when Your Flight is Canceled —

Have you been bumped lately? It seems more and more common, as airlines struggle to keep planes in the sky — not only balancing passenger loads and mechanical issues, but also weather and staffing. Either way, Lissa, our Uganda Desk Guest Editor, found a New York Times article that might stimulate some ideas in that brain of yours.

http://nyti.ms/fWXPf4

Check it out. It just might help you avoid a costly mistake next time you try to grab a jet to nowhere.

3) USA Today Says 70% of us Want to Check Our Own bags —

That’s a whole lot of bag-tagging. Read the whole story at…

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2456usg

(That’s a tinyurl that will redirect you to the longer USA Today link, but note that you’ll be able to preview where it’s taking you before you redirect.)

The whole airline industry thing amazes me. I was in California on Friday when my wife had to be taken into surgery (her gall bladder had gone South). So I called the airline upon which I was holding tickets (American Airlines) and asked if they’d consider moving up my flights 3 days due to the medical circumstance. The lady was just a bit snippety as she responded, “Mr. Lucas, we no longer make medical exceptions — ever.” She wanted $600 for a seat on a flight that left in an hour. What I don’t get is that I hung up, then purchased a fare on Southwest that covered exactly the same ground for just $189. Who decides these insane rules and why wouldn’t an airline take $189 if it had an empty seat to sell? No wonder they’re going belly-up. Do you think I’m going to go out of my way to buy on AA again any time soon? What’s more, the Southwest folks didn’t charge for my bags and, of all things, they were *nice* to me! :-) (It was like they really did love to fly! :-) ) Go figure. (Thanks, Lissa [from Uganda], for the tip on the original article that started this rant. :-) )

6) How Can You Keep Track of all your Trip Arrangements?

Trytripit.gif

http://www.tripit.com

List your airfare, housing info., rental car, and more… and let TripIt do the heavy lifting for you to keep everything streamlined and on the same page — all for free. You can always do TripIt Pro for $69/year, regardless of whether you’re in or out of the USA. The ‘pro’ version adds text messaging if any of your flights change, info about open seats, freq. flyer point tracking, and trip information-sharing with your inner circle of friends and colleagues. But the free version is fun to try too. For example, when you get a booking confirmation, just forward it to the tripit email address, and magically, Tripit builds itinerary info on your next trip. Pretty cool, actually.

7) Tried A "Round-The-World" Fare?

One of our member care volunteer families has just purchased a special airfare from Raptim that lets you pick virtually any airports around the world so long as the next destination keeps traveling in the same direction. So our new volunteers are starting in Indy, stopping at 8 different int’l airports. Their itinerary includes some pretty exotic destinations — and the final price came out to about $3700 each. That’s a great deal considering the value they’re getting. So if you have a number of destinations to visit, give it a try. The only real limitation is that the destinations must each continue to be in the same general direction. (For example, each airport must be west of the previous airport.)

Contact Raptim at…
http://www.raptimusa.com/

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