These are some of the most useful travel resources I’ve found…Please let me know if you find any to add to the list!
From the Boarding Area blog, View from the Wing: Seats on a Plane: How You Can Make Sure You Sit Together…gives great advice on how to outwit the airlines and get two adjacent seats (posted 11/30/13)
From industry publication Skift, How to Outsmart the Airlines and Beat the Shrinking Airline Seat (posted 11/3/13)
Finding a Seat that Fits on a Flight - This New York Times article by Stephanie Rosenbloom suggests online resources for finding the best airline seats
Is Premium Economy Worth the Money? – Informative piece by Bill McGee in USA Today that examines what you pay and what you get for premium economy seating on airlines
SeatGuru.com - This tool catalogs the seating configurations of most airline flights, and includes information about substandard seats. Before I choose seats, I use the site to check out the advantages and drawbacks of different seats
Bad weather? Read up about some of the precautions you need to take before and after you book. Advice from Johnny Jet on What To Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations (posted 11/26/13)
Advice on When to Buy Airline Tickets provided by FareCompare.com
YT by GetHuman.com is the go-to resource if you need to contact an airline (or other large company) and are frustrated by the series of phone prompts that seem dead-ended. For example, by typing the name of an airline in the site’s search box, it lists the prompts that will get you to a human, saving steps and time along the way. It also will tell you approximate wait times
Information on your rights should your flight be cancelled – Compensation for Your Travel Troubles from Susan Stellin of the New York Times
How to Get Through the Line Faster – Information from the TSA
How to Handle Luggage Problems and Delays – New York Times article by Susan Stellin
Kayak Airline Fees Tool – This free tool provides a list of major carrier and the extra fees they charge for baggage and other services
NerdWallet Airline Fees Tool – This free tool may help you predict some of the extra costs you’ll have to pay for your next flight
See my article that appeared in the Boston Globe: 17 Ways to Save on a Car Rental
The Independent Traveler has a helpful post on various cell phone options when you travel overseas
Roam the World and Keep the Cellphone on a Budget - useful information from Eric Taub of the New York Times business section
Six Ways to Avoid Crazy Data Charges Abroad - from Mashable
From USA Today – 10 Tips to Help You Pick the Perfect Cruise
Etiquette varies by culture. Although the list is far from complete or comprehensive, this Worldwide Etiquette Guide from Swissotel Hotels and Resorts provides a few tips to help you avoid embarrassment abroad, and hopefully will remind you to watch your Ps & Qs.
Should You Buy Travel Insurance? – Excellent article in the New York Times by Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveler.
Hotels & Resorts
Some tips on How To Get a Hotel Upgrade from Travel and Leisure
Seth Kugel from the New York Times on How to Get a Cheap, Last-Minute Hotel Room.
Money & Currency
Where to change your dollars - An article from the Wall Street Journal on changing money abroad
How to Choose A Carry-On – Very helpful piece by Susan Stellin of the NY Times, with tips about buying all sizes of luggage. (posted 11/27/13)
Interactive Packing List - If you are like me, and forget at least one thing each time you pack–try out this interactive packing list offered by IndependentTravel.com/
How to Pack for a Weekend Trip – from National Geographic Traveler
What to Do If You Lose Your Passport – Some helpful information from Catherine Hamm of the LA Times
How to Get an American Passport Quickly - Also from Catherine Hamm of the LA Times
“My TSA” is an app you can download on your smartphone that gives you 24/7 access to information that passengers frequently request from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). For example, you cano find out if an item is allowed in your carry-on or checked baggage, information on ID requirements and liquids rules, tips for packing and dressing to speed through security. Perhaps, most importantly, it provides real-time operating status for U.S. airports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) 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. Subscribe before you leave home to receive updates on Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts and other information for a particular country
TSA Pre✓™ allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs to receive expedited screening benefits during domestic travel. Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for screening benefits which include leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-on bags. Learn more about how you can participate and receive expedited screening
In the NY Times, Frugal Traveler Seth Kugels provides an overview of the discounts that come with age when traveling abroad
One of my friends recently booked a lengthy tour to Vietnam and Thailand with ABC Tours. Like many other consumers, she prepaid a portion of the trip and then learned thru the media that this firm (with whom she had traveled before) had suddenly gone belly up. This article in the Chicago Tribune offers some advice on how to prevent this from happening to you and what recourse consumers can take if faced with a similar situation
Google Search – There are shortcuts that make Google Search an invaluable tool for travel planning. Read my article which appeared in the Chicago Tribune on how to take advantage of this powerful search engine
Tripit – I use the free version of Tripit to keep my itinerary and plane/hotel arrangements together in one place. It provides maps, weather reports, etc. linked to my plan. It syncs to a mobile map and also enables me to share my plans with anyone else I designate
Other miscellaneous, irresistible, inspiring or interesting resources I’ve found and loved:
What Should You Do If Your Encounter a Dangerous Animal? On Quora (11/6/13)
Note: This list is a work in progress. Is there some travel tool that you return to again and again? Email me and let me know about it so I can add it to the list.