The Tricks to Traveling Cheaply

Got a yen to hit the road this summer? Bargain-basement deals are hard to find at the height of the season, but there are ways to stretch your travel dollar.

Here’s the rub: Saving money on summer travel means a lot of homework. Plus, if you’re locked into specific travel dates it will limit your ability to slash costs.



cat

John Pirman

Related

Airline-industry trends may crimp your budget, too. “The airline consolidation juggernaut has really pushed airfares up,” says

George Hobica,

president and founder of Airfarewatchdog, a low-airfare alert and advice site.

“We don’t have Northwest competing against Delta, Continental competing against United,” he says. “People have to rethink what a low airfare is.”

You also should rethink a widely cited cost-cutting strategy: the popular idea that the airlines post the best airfares on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. That’s urban myth, Mr. Hobica says. “We see sales on Fridays and Thursdays and Mondays.”

But timing does play a big part in stretching your travel dollars—specifically, your departure and return dates, where flexibility pays. Mr. Hobica cited a recent fare of $720 round-trip from Chicago to Beijing, for travel the first week of May. Any other week, that fare is closer to $1,500.

Here are some strategies for saving on travel expenses:



cat

Glenn Gustafson

Airline Deals

Airfare usually is the biggest travel cost, so it makes sense to shop carefully and to pounce on a good price. Useful websites for comparing airfares include Momondo, Adioso and Airfarewatchdog—and all of them offer email alerts. (Unlike most websites, Airfarewatchdog includes Southwest and Allegiant Air.)

Bing.com/travel and Kayak offer “price trend” tools to estimate whether a particular airfare is likely to rise or fall, helping you to decide whether it’s a good time to buy.


Google.com



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Google Inc. Cl A


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April 30, 2014 1:55 pm

Volume (Delayed 15m)
:
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P/E Ratio
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Market Cap
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Dividend Yield
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Rev. per Employee
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/flights/explore lets you easily see how fares vary by travel date.

Keep an eye on lesser-known carriers, including Allegiant Air for domestic trips;


Norwegian Air Shuttle



NAS.OS +3.15%



Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA


Norway: Oslo


kr236.00


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April 30, 2014 4:25 pm

Volume :
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P/E Ratio
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Dividend Yield
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for trips from select U.S. cities to Europe; ArkeFly for direct flights to Amsterdam from Miami and Orlando; and XL Airways France for flights to France from various U.S. cities.

One caveat: Booking with a low-cost European airline can pose challenges if you need to make changes. They might be “hard to get in touch with if something goes wrong,” says

Pauline Frommer,

editorial director of Frommer Guides.

Skip the Hotel

These days, your accommodation may be your most adventurous travel choice. “When I’m traveling on my own I hardly ever stay in hotels anymore,” says

Reid Bramblett,

founder of travel-information website ReidsGuides.com. “The alternatives are always more interesting and usually cheaper.”

You could stay in a monastery or castle or on an Amish farm. Click on “Stay in alternative lodgings” on ReidsGuides.com for more ideas.

How about renting a room at Oxford University (UniversityRooms.com) or the London School of Economics (Lsevacations.co.uk)?

During school holidays “a lot of universities and colleges open up their dorms to make a little extra money,” Ms. Frommer says.

A current listing on UniversityRooms.com offers rooms in Rome for one person starting at 33 euros ($46) a night and double rooms for 85 euros ($118), including continental breakfast.

Seeking a more rural experience? Switzerland’s Schlaf im Stroh program (Schlaf-im-stroh.ch/en) literally lets you sleep in the barn, starting at about 20 Swiss francs ($23) for an adult, including breakfast. Don’t worry: The animals sleep elsewhere.

If you prefer a hotel, consider Booking.com and Venere.com, Mr. Bramblett says, for family-owned and boutique hotels.

A number of companies—Airbnb and others—offer low-cost stays in private homes. While some cities have been cracking down on this practice, the new rules have had little impact on travelers so far.

“I don’t want to tell anybody to break the law, but it doesn’t seem to affect travelers,” Ms. Frommer says.

Currency Considerations

Some countries are great deals simply because the exchange rate is in your favor. For example, for an international adventure a little closer to home, consider Canada.

“The loonie has been dropping against the dollar,” Ms. Frommer says. “It may be the summer to go to Canada.”

Plus, flights to Canada are cheaper this year, according to Kayak.com data on searches in January through March for summer travel.

The average fare from U.S. cities to Toronto is down 7%, and fares to Vancouver are down 9% compared with last year. The U.S. dollar has also strengthened against the Japanese yen and Argentine peso, making both countries more affordable.

Time It Right

For domestic travel, consider national parks toward the end of August, Ms. Frommer says. “Many schools now start in August, so a lot of very popular family destinations like national parks and the communities that surround them empty out the last two weeks in August,” and hotel and other prices drop as a result, she says.

If your dates are firmly in June or July, consider destinations less traveled during the U.S. summer. Going to Mexico, the Caribbean or other popular winter destinations can bring your travel costs down, particularly on hotel stays, says

Cindy Nelson,

a manager in the leisure-travel division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Minneapolis.

“Hoteliers will discount their rates in the summer to attract visitors there,” she says.

For European travel, go in May, September or October. Same goes for Alaska. “It’s a really popular summer destination,” Ms. Nelson says. Alaskan cruises in September “generally will be better priced than the midsummer dates.”

Be Strategic

Think carefully about how you get around at your destination.

For example, renting a car for a big-city stay is usually a budget-buster, Mr. Bramblett says, while paying for a packaged day tour can save money by delivering you to popular tourist sites for less than the cost of public transportation.

Try a Cruise

The recent spate of bad news for cruise lines—shipboard illnesses, accidents—may be good news for bargain hunters.

“All the problems in the cruise industry have lessened the public’s trust in cruise vacations,” Ms. Frommer says. “I would guess that that will lead to some good last-minute discounts on cruises this summer.”

If you book within four weeks of the departure date, “when the cruise line is getting desperate and deeply discounted, you can often find cruises for $50 or $60 a day that way, and that includes meals,” she says.

Another tip: Sail on older ships, says

Mark Murphy,

founder of TravelPulse.com, a travel-news website.

For example,


Royal Caribbean‘s



RCL 0.00%



Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.


U.S.: NYSE


$52.63


0.00
0.00%



April 30, 2014 1:55 pm

Volume (Delayed 15m)
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758,791




P/E Ratio
27.41

Market Cap
$11.69 Billion


Dividend Yield
1.90%

Rev. per Employee
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Voyager class ships “are still in great condition, with great features,” he says, “but you’ll find a dramatic difference in price going out on one of the older ships.”

— andreacoombes@outlook.com

Article source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-tricks-to-traveling-cheaply-1398557718

6 Travel-Booking Tricks You Need to Start Using

Booking travel: You’re doing it wrong.

It took time after the recession, but Americans are traveling more these days. Leisure travel is expected to rise 1.9 percent this year, to more than 1.63 billion trips, according to the U.S. Travel Association. But travel costs are rising, too, with the average airfare creeping closer to the $400 mark and PKF Hospitality Research predicting hotels’ profits will surpass their prerecession peak this year.

“You really have to fight for the cheap fares,” said Tom Parsons, chief executive of BestFares.com. It’s not just about when you fly or how early you book, although those tried-and-true strategies can make a serious dent in the cost of your summer vacation. (For perspective, high demand this year could mean that vacationers booking their summer tripafter early Maywill paypremiums of $200 or more, depending on the destination, he said.)

To get the best deal on travel, it’s time to add a few new booking tricks to your hunt:

A quirk of travel-booking systems is that they will show the lowest fare available to seat your entire party, said Rick Seaney, chief executive ofFareCompare.com. “Everyone’s fare is the same price,” he said. So if there are two of the very cheapest seats left, one that’s a little more expensive and four that are pricier still, it’s only that last option that will show up in your family of four’s search. Start your search for a party of one, and then scale it up until prices change. So long as you don’t mind booking the seats in several transactions, you could save by snaring cheaper fares for a few people in your party. (Doing so doesn’t make it any harder to find seats together, Seaney said.)

  • Sample savings: An Expedia search for round-trip fares between New York and Orlando, Fla., in mid-May for four people found seats for $370 per person. Searching for fewer people pulled up two seats at $348, and another two at $363—all on the same flights. Savings: $58.

2) Stack rewards

There are often-missed opportunities here to double, triple or even quadruple dip. For starters, there are the free reward programs offered by the hotel, car rental company or airline. Then there are rewards from the travel booking site, which are increasingly robust. Hotels.com offers a free night for every 10 booked; Expedia awards two points per dollar spent. Some online malls operated by the airlines and other deal sites likeEbates.com, offer extra cash back when you link through them to book. AtFatWallet.com, you’ll get up to 5 percent cash for bookings on Pricelineand 6.5 percent on Travelocity, among other deals. And finally, there are extra points, miles or cash back to be had booking with a rewards credit card.

  • Sample savings: Orbitz offers 3 percent rewards on hotels for members of its Orbitz Rewards program. Use its brand-new Orbitz credit card, and that jumps to 8 percent. The site also offers a 2 percent bonus for hotel bookings made on a mobile device, for a maximum 10 percent rewards, which can be used to book future travel. Link through from FatWallet, and score 1- to 3- percent cash back, separately. Plus you’ll get whatever your favorite hotel program awards.

3) Hunt for coupons

Before you book, check for airline, hotel and booking site coupon codes.JetBlue offers weekly “cheeps” on Twitter under the handle @JetBlueCheeps, and many other airlines offer regular deals through their email newsletters and websites, said Anne Banas, executive editor forSmarterTravel.com. “That can help you shave off some dollars,” she said. Other codes offer to double or triple reward bonuses that would normally be earned on the booking, a boon for travelers angling for a free flight or hotel stay.

  • Sample savings: Spirit recently offered the code “10PCT” to save 10 percent on nonstop fares booked during May 5-20, or May 28-June 8.

4) Time your hunt

Data from FareCompare.com has foundthat the pool of cheap seatsin the system is highest on Tuesday afternoons. “Around two-thirds of sales occur Monday night, and airlines scramble to match them Tuesday,” Seaney said. It’s no guarantee of a cheap fare, but it can’t hurt to try.

  • Sample savings: Earlier in April, airlines dropped last-minute round-trip weekend fares between Richmond, Va., and New York City to as low as $161—about half the going rate for those booking ahead.

5) Be truly flexible

The newest crop of booking engines aims to help travelers who don’t have a destination in mind, Banas said. On sites such as Adioso and GoogleFlights, their search results show the best current fares out of your home airport over a given time frame.

  • Sample savings: A San Francisco resident in search of a June beach vacation could see at a glance that the $398 flight deal to Puerto Rico is more than $100 cheaper than those to the Bahamas, and half the price of fares to Jamaica.

6) Capitalize on price drops

Not certain you’re getting the best deal? Some sites are set up to help you get a refund. Booking site Tingo.com scans prices and automatically rebooks hotel stays if it spots a better price, sending you a credit for the price difference. There’s also Yapta, which sends an alert after a booked airfare’s price drops, offering tips and airline policies to help secure a credit for the difference. (A word of caution: Airline change fees of up to $200 and restrictive policies often make reimbursement tough.)

  • Sample savings: Between booking and check-in for a weeklong stay on Hawaii’s Big Island last fall, Tingo.com sent three separate price drop notifications resulting in a $261 credit toward the previously $1,762 stay.

Article source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233529

How to Travel Around the World Without Being Rich

Around college graduation season each year, the same questions start coming my way: “How did you decide to teach abroad?” “What program did you go with?” “How did you spend two years traveling and then get a job?” This year, it’s my own stepsister and her friends who are asking the question, and I give them the same answer I’ve given for years.

As my own graduation got closer in May 2008, I had no idea what came next. After nearly 20 years in school, I didn’t want to settle into a career just yet and there were no immediate prospects toward securing my dream job — basically, stealing Samantha Brown‘s gig. Sitting at a bar near campus, a friend and I started talking about a crazy idea: teaching English overseas.

2014-04-28-2806_750535174388_8022015_n.jpgI’m not sure how we decided on South Korea — a few other countries came up in conversation — but it mostly came down to wanting to explore Asia and hearing how much money you could save there. Most schools that host English teachers give their staff a pretty sweet deal that includes free round-trip plane tickets and housing, making it fairly easy to save money, even if you don’t try. (My school also provided three meals a day, meaning my salary was spent primarily on a few extraneous groceries, public transportation, meals out and shopping.) While European schools often require teaching certifications or fluency in the local language, teaching in many parts of Asia simply requires a firm grasp of the English language and the adaptability to live in a completely foreign country.

We found jobs on Dave’s ESL Cafe, which proved to be a great resource for anyone looking to teach abroad — from forums that answered the most basic “what should I pack?” questions to comprehensive job listings, the site has it all — and three months after graduating from college, I was on an airplane to Seoul.

Moving to Korea was definitely the scariest thing I’ve ever done and also my bravest moment. I’m the kid who hated summer camp. Moving 7,000 miles away for an entire year proved to be awesomely terrifying.2014-04-28-p10909891.jpg

I opted not to teach at a traditional public school or go the after-school tutoring route. Instead, Seoul English Village is an English immersion camp that kids attend for a day or a week. Classes take place in interactive environments where students are required to speak English; among the dozens of classes were cooking, science, post office, bank, police station (complete with an in-room jail cell), yoga, art and, during the summer, swimming.

At the end of each week, students wrote to their favorite teachers and from “I love you” to “your class was boring,” they never held back. My favorite note came from a middle school student who wrote:

“I think you’re so beautiful and kind and smart teacher. You helped our team so our team 2 can learned English more easily. First time, I think foreigners are really scared but when I met you, my opinion is change. I like foreigners and also I like Washington, DC.

You like Korea? I wish you like Korea. I’ll miss you and I wish you become a best writer in the world! Also thanks to loving team 2 students and when we talking so much, you didn’t angry and Im sorry.

I love you, teacher! I’ll never forget you. Erin teacher, when you go to your house (Washington, DC), please tell Korea to USA citizens. I love you, teacher.”

Overall, teaching abroad was an incredible opportunity. Learning to read and write Hangul (the Korean alphabet), making friends from around the world, actually seeing kids’ English skills improve in front of me and discovering a country I knew little about besides the Korean War was an experience I never could have had sitting at a desk in Washington.

So how did this lead to traveling around the world on a shoestring budget?

First, living in South Korea for an entire year gave me the chance to explore… Korea! From bustling Busan in the south to the island of Ganghwado off Korea’s west coast, I got to visit parts of the country that a typical tourist never experiences.2014-04-28-2063_660564591158_7557_n.jpg

Additionally, having 15-plus vacation days meant I had time to travel to Thailand for two weeks — sleeping in un-air-conditioned huts on the beach and eating $1 pad thai from street stalls — spend a long weekend getting sunburned in the Philippines and somehow find the time for a week in Sydney, which was so spectacular that I immediately started planning a return trip.

Even without taking extreme budgeting measures, I returned to the U.S. after a year abroad with enough savings from teaching to fund two months of travel in Australia and New Zealand — truly, the trip of a lifetime. (See my previous blog for budget travel tips.)

After returning from Down Under, I finally got a “real” job and joined the American workforce. But in the years since I settled down at a desk, I’ve never settled for sitting still. I helped build a preschool in Nicaragua, saw sunsets and rainbows in Scotland, walked along the Great Wall of China (and somehow saw a smog-free Shanghai), explored stunning national parks in the American west and enjoyed visiting friends from coast to coast.

In short: You can do it. So many people say, “I wish I could travel more” but they can — it just means stepping outside your comfort zone. I would highly recommend living abroad for a while; if that’s not possible, look into opportunities to become immersed in an unfamiliar culture for shorter periods of time, such as ditching all-inclusive resorts for a room in a private home or learning a new language to communicate with locals. Can it be scary? Of course! But in the end, it’s so worth it.

2014-04-28-652_670777863678_972047_n.jpg

A version of this post first appeared on erinruberry.com

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erin-ruberry/teaching-english-korea_b_5228172.html

6 ways to score deals on summer travel


By Andrea Coombes


Shutterstock.com

Got a yen to hit the road this summer? Bargain-basement deals are hard to find at the height of the season, but there are ways to stretch your travel dollar.

Here’s the rub: Saving money on summer travel means a lot of homework. Plus, if you’re locked into specific travel dates it will limit your ability to slash costs.

Airline-industry trends may crimp your budget, too. “The airline consolidation juggernaut has really pushed airfares up,” says George Hobica, president and founder of Airfarewatchdog
, a low-airfare alert and advice site.


Click to Play

$25 for overhead bins? Frontier Airlines says yes

Frontier Airlines, a no-frills airline, is now classifying overhead bins as a perk, and will start charging $25 for their use.

“We don’t have Northwest competing against Delta, Continental competing against United,” he says. “People have to rethink what a low airfare is.”

You also should rethink a widely cited cost-cutting strategy: the popular idea that the airlines post the best airfares on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. That’s urban myth, Hobica says. “We see sales on Fridays and Thursdays and Mondays.”

But timing does play a big part in stretching your travel dollars — specifically, your departure and return dates, where flexibility pays. Hobica cited a recent fare of $720 round-trip from Chicago to Beijing, for travel the first week of May. Any other week, that fare is closer to $1,500.

Here are some strategies for saving on travel expenses:

Airline deals

Airfare usually is the biggest travel cost, so it makes sense to shop carefully and to pounce on a good price. Useful websites for comparing airfares include Momondo
, Adioso
and Airfarewatchdog — and all of them offer email alerts. (Unlike most websites, Airfarewatchdog includes Southwest and Allegiant Air.)

Bing.com/travel
and Kayak
offer “price trend” tools to estimate whether a particular airfare is likely to rise or fall, helping you to decide whether it’s a good time to buy. Google.com /flights/explore
lets you easily see how fares vary by travel date.


Click to Play

Fancy an 18-bedroom English castle?

From a grand English castle built on 20 acres of land to a nine-bedroom Moroccan style beach house in Marbella, Spain, here are properties featured in Europe’s House of the Day.

Keep an eye on lesser-known carriers, including Allegiant Air for domestic trips; Norwegian Air Shuttle

/quotes/zigman/337809/realtime NO:NAS
+3.15%


 for trips from select U.S. cities to Europe; ArkeFly for direct flights to Amsterdam from Miami and Orlando; and XL Airways France for flights to France from various U.S. cities.

One caveat: Booking with a low-cost European airline can pose challenges if you need to make changes. They might be “hard to get in touch with if something goes wrong,” says Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer Guides.

Skip the hotel

These days, your accommodation may be your most adventurous travel choice. “When I’m traveling on my own I hardly ever stay in hotels anymore,” says Reid Bramblett, founder of travel-information website ReidsGuides.com
. “The alternatives are always more interesting and usually cheaper.”

You could stay in a monastery or castle or on an Amish farm. Click on “Stay in alternative lodgings” on ReidsGuides.com for more ideas.

How about renting a room at Oxford University ( UniversityRooms.com
) or the London School of Economics ( Lsevacations.co.uk
)?

During school holidays “a lot of universities and colleges open up their dorms to make a little extra money,” Frommer says.

A current listing on UniversityRooms.com offers rooms in Rome for one person starting at 33 euros ($46) a night and double rooms for 85 euros ($118), including continental breakfast.

Seeking a more rural experience? Switzerland’s Schlaf im Stroh program ( Schlaf-im-stroh.ch/en
) literally lets you sleep in the barn, starting at about 20 Swiss francs ($23) for an adult, including breakfast. Don’t worry: The animals sleep elsewhere.

If you prefer a hotel, consider Booking.com
and Venere.com
, Bramblett says, for family-owned and boutique hotels.

A number of companies — Airbnb and others — offer low-cost stays in private homes. While some cities have been cracking down on this practice, the new rules have had little impact on travelers so far.

“I don’t want to tell anybody to break the law, but it doesn’t seem to affect travelers,” Frommer says.

Currency considerations

Some countries are great deals simply because the exchange rate is in your favor. For example, for an international adventure a little closer to home, consider Canada.

“The loonie has been dropping against the dollar,” Frommer says. “It may be the summer to go to Canada.”

Plus, flights to Canada are cheaper this year, according to Kayak.com data on searches in January through March for summer travel.

The average fare from U.S. cities to Toronto is down 7%, and fares to Vancouver are down 9% compared with last year. The U.S. dollar has also strengthened against the Japanese yen and Argentine peso, making both countries more affordable.

Time it right

For domestic travel, consider national parks toward the end of August, Frommer says. “Many schools now start in August, so a lot of very popular family destinations like national parks and the communities that surround them empty out the last two weeks in August,” and hotel and other prices drop as a result, she says.

If your dates are firmly in June or July, consider destinations less traveled during the U.S. summer. Going to Mexico, the Caribbean or other popular winter destinations can bring your travel costs down, particularly on hotel stays, says Cindy Nelson, a manager in the leisure-travel division of Carlson Wagonlit
Travel in Minneapolis.

“Hoteliers will discount their rates in the summer to attract visitors there,” she says.

For European travel, go in May, September or October. Same goes for Alaska. “It’s a really popular summer destination,” Nelson says. Alaskan cruises in September “generally will be better priced than the midsummer dates.”

Be strategic

Think carefully about how you get around at your destination.

For example, renting a car for a big-city stay is usually a budget-buster, Bramblett says, while paying for a packaged day tour can save money by delivering you to popular tourist sites for less than the cost of public transportation.

Try a cruise

The recent spate of bad news for cruise lines — shipboard illnesses, accidents — may be good news for bargain hunters.

“All the problems in the cruise industry have lessened the public’s trust in cruise vacations,” Frommer says. “I would guess that that will lead to some good last-minute discounts on cruises this summer.”

If you book within four weeks of the departure date, “when the cruise line is getting desperate and deeply discounted, you can often find cruises for $50 or $60 a day that way, and that includes meals,” she says.

Another tip: Sail on older ships, says Mark Murphy, founder of TravelPulse.com, a travel-news website.

For example, Royal Caribbean’s

/quotes/zigman/127771/delayed/quotes/nls/rcl RCL
+0.08%


 Voyager class ships “are still in great condition, with great features,” he says, “but you’ll find a dramatic difference in price going out on one of the older ships.”

More from MarketWatch:

10 things all-inclusive vacations won’t tell you

7 secrets for getting the most comfortable airline seat

5 more reasons to hate your cable company

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Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-ways-to-travel-on-the-cheap-this-summer-2014-04-30

Travelocity tops list of online travel agencies as customer favorite

Travelocity is tops. That’s one of the results from the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, released Wednesday, that gauges how well online travel agencies are doing in customers’ eyes.

The J.D. Power study asked 2,673 people who had bought a travel product in the last year what they thought about their experience. It measured whether the site met their expectations on price, which was the most important factor.

The Power study also delved into how well the website met customer expectations — its navigation, whether its information helped and other factors, including customer service.

On a 1,000-point scale, online travel agencies, or OTAs, scored 788; Travelocity scored 804.

Expedia.com ranked second at 798 and Booking just a point behind that. Hotwire and Priceline, travel websites that, in some instances, allow customers to bid on travel products and thus mask the name of the travel provider, were neck and neck with 795 and 792, respectively. They are followed by CheapTickets.com and, Hotels.com (both 783), Orbitz.com (779) and CheapoAir.com (774).

Customers look to those online travel agencies to be competitive on price. They are searching most of all for hotels and flights; a third of them are looking for vacation packages and 31% for rental cars.

Resolving customer service issues is important to them. People who use an OTA do so, J.D. Power said, because of price and because there’s minimal interaction with a live person.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they had a problem with their transaction, which reduced their satisfaction by almost 6%. If the problem was fixed, their satisfaction was only 4 points below the overall satisfaction score.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-travelcity-tops-online-travel-agencies-survey-20140429,0,5255218.story

London Travel May Ease as Subway Commuters Brave Walkout

Londoners who rely on the city’s
subway network to get to work saw disruption from a 48-hour
strike ease today, with a return to operations on all of the
network’s 11 lines encouraging more daily users to travel.

Close to 90 percent of regular swipe-card holders rode the
Tube yesterday on the first day of the walkout, and London
Underground
said it’s aiming to boost numbers further before the
strike over jobs and ticket-office closures ends tonight.

“With more staff arriving for work than during the last
strike in February, we were able to run 50 percent of the train
service and keep two-thirds of stations open,” said Mike Brown,
the company’s managing director. “Things have already got
better today, with nearly three-quarters of stations open. We
are working really hard to further improve this.”

The Waterloo City line was open this morning for the
first time since the strike began at 9 p.m. Monday, restoring a
key link between Britain’s busiest surface rail station and the
main financial district during the rush hour before closing for
the midday lull. At the same time, traffic clogged roads and
pavements were crowded as a 1 1/2 hour delay in the first trains
until after 7 a.m. pushed some people to make other plans.

London ‘Open’

“It’s still possible to get to work, but most people I
know have had to change their usual plan and you wouldn’t want
to have to do it every day,” said Robert Swift, 46, a shop
manager who had traveled on the Northern Line to Moorgate
station in the City from his home in south London.

Transport for London, which manages the subway on behalf of
Mayor Boris Johnson, stopped short of claiming victory in the
strike, saying that while the city “is working and open for
business,” conditions for its customers have been “tough” and
that the union leaders should return to talks.

The Tube, which has 270 stations, handles more than 3
million journeys a day, with 57,000 people using Waterloo, the
busiest subway station, in the three-hour morning peak.

Today’s strike over job cuts and ticket office closures
comes after the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union
halted the second of two February walkouts following an offer of
talks that failed to produce an agreement.

‘Pointless’

Both the Circle and Waterloo City lines, which were
closed all or part of the day yesterday, are running modified
services today. The Northern Line, the Tube’s busiest, has a
“good service,” TfL said on its website.

The Central Line is running at its western and eastern ends
but not through the center of the city, while the Jubilee,
Metropolitan, Victoria, District, Hammersmith City and
Piccadilly lines are operating reduced services.

Almost 8,000 buses are on London’s streets, a record, and
demand for 10,000 rental bicycles surged 50 percent across the
whole day yesterday. Traffic tailed back for about 2.5 miles at
the Rotherhithe Tunnel beneath the Thames at 7:15 a.m. today.

Mayor Johson called the RMT’s walkout “pointless,” and
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the level of disruption
was “unacceptable.”

No job cuts will be compulsory and wages won’t be reduced,
London Underground’s Brown has said. The employer has held more
than 40 meetings with unions to discuss changes it says are
vital to modernize the world’s oldest subway, dating from 1863.

The strike aims to stop “savage, cash-led attacks on jobs,
services and safety,” according to the RMT, which is also
calling for a 72-hour walkout starting on May 5.

The two days of disruption in February cost about 600
million pounds ($1 billion), the Federation of Small Businesses
said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Kari Lundgren in London at
klundgren2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Benedikt Kammel at
bkammel@bloomberg.net
Christopher Jasper

Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-29/londoners-may-see-travel-ease-as-regular-tube-users-brave-strike.html

6 ways to travel on the cheap this summer


By Andrea Coombes


Shutterstock.com

Got a yen to hit the road this summer? Bargain-basement deals are hard to find at the height of the season, but there are ways to stretch your travel dollar.

Here’s the rub: Saving money on summer travel means a lot of homework. Plus, if you’re locked into specific travel dates it will limit your ability to slash costs.

Airline-industry trends may crimp your budget, too. “The airline consolidation juggernaut has really pushed airfares up,” says George Hobica, president and founder of Airfarewatchdog
, a low-airfare alert and advice site.


Click to Play

$25 for overhead bins? Frontier Airlines says yes

Frontier Airlines, a no-frills airline, is now classifying overhead bins as a perk, and will start charging $25 for their use.

“We don’t have Northwest competing against Delta, Continental competing against United,” he says. “People have to rethink what a low airfare is.”

You also should rethink a widely cited cost-cutting strategy: the popular idea that the airlines post the best airfares on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. That’s urban myth, Hobica says. “We see sales on Fridays and Thursdays and Mondays.”

But timing does play a big part in stretching your travel dollars — specifically, your departure and return dates, where flexibility pays. Hobica cited a recent fare of $720 round-trip from Chicago to Beijing, for travel the first week of May. Any other week, that fare is closer to $1,500.

Here are some strategies for saving on travel expenses:

Airline deals

Airfare usually is the biggest travel cost, so it makes sense to shop carefully and to pounce on a good price. Useful websites for comparing airfares include Momondo
, Adioso
and Airfarewatchdog — and all of them offer email alerts. (Unlike most websites, Airfarewatchdog includes Southwest and Allegiant Air.)

Bing.com/travel
and Kayak
offer “price trend” tools to estimate whether a particular airfare is likely to rise or fall, helping you to decide whether it’s a good time to buy. Google.com /flights/explore
lets you easily see how fares vary by travel date.


Click to Play

Fancy an 18-bedroom English castle?

From a grand English castle built on 20 acres of land to a nine-bedroom Moroccan style beach house in Marbella, Spain, here are properties featured in Europe’s House of the Day.

Keep an eye on lesser-known carriers, including Allegiant Air for domestic trips; Norwegian Air Shuttle

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 for trips from select U.S. cities to Europe; ArkeFly for direct flights to Amsterdam from Miami and Orlando; and XL Airways France for flights to France from various U.S. cities.

One caveat: Booking with a low-cost European airline can pose challenges if you need to make changes. They might be “hard to get in touch with if something goes wrong,” says Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer Guides.

Skip the hotel

These days, your accommodation may be your most adventurous travel choice. “When I’m traveling on my own I hardly ever stay in hotels anymore,” says Reid Bramblett, founder of travel-information website ReidsGuides.com
. “The alternatives are always more interesting and usually cheaper.”

You could stay in a monastery or castle or on an Amish farm. Click on “Stay in alternative lodgings” on ReidsGuides.com for more ideas.

How about renting a room at Oxford University ( UniversityRooms.com
) or the London School of Economics ( Lsevacations.co.uk
)?

During school holidays “a lot of universities and colleges open up their dorms to make a little extra money,” Frommer says.

A current listing on UniversityRooms.com offers rooms in Rome for one person starting at 33 euros ($46) a night and double rooms for 85 euros ($118), including continental breakfast.

Seeking a more rural experience? Switzerland’s Schlaf im Stroh program ( Schlaf-im-stroh.ch/en
) literally lets you sleep in the barn, starting at about 20 Swiss francs ($23) for an adult, including breakfast. Don’t worry: The animals sleep elsewhere.

If you prefer a hotel, consider Booking.com
and Venere.com
, Bramblett says, for family-owned and boutique hotels.

A number of companies — Airbnb and others — offer low-cost stays in private homes. While some cities have been cracking down on this practice, the new rules have had little impact on travelers so far.

“I don’t want to tell anybody to break the law, but it doesn’t seem to affect travelers,” Frommer says.

Currency considerations

Some countries are great deals simply because the exchange rate is in your favor. For example, for an international adventure a little closer to home, consider Canada.

“The loonie has been dropping against the dollar,” Frommer says. “It may be the summer to go to Canada.”

Plus, flights to Canada are cheaper this year, according to Kayak.com data on searches in January through March for summer travel.

The average fare from U.S. cities to Toronto is down 7%, and fares to Vancouver are down 9% compared with last year. The U.S. dollar has also strengthened against the Japanese yen and Argentine peso, making both countries more affordable.

Time it right

For domestic travel, consider national parks toward the end of August, Frommer says. “Many schools now start in August, so a lot of very popular family destinations like national parks and the communities that surround them empty out the last two weeks in August,” and hotel and other prices drop as a result, she says.

If your dates are firmly in June or July, consider destinations less traveled during the U.S. summer. Going to Mexico, the Caribbean or other popular winter destinations can bring your travel costs down, particularly on hotel stays, says Cindy Nelson, a manager in the leisure-travel division of Carlson Wagonlit
Travel in Minneapolis.

“Hoteliers will discount their rates in the summer to attract visitors there,” she says.

For European travel, go in May, September or October. Same goes for Alaska. “It’s a really popular summer destination,” Nelson says. Alaskan cruises in September “generally will be better priced than the midsummer dates.”

Be strategic

Think carefully about how you get around at your destination.

For example, renting a car for a big-city stay is usually a budget-buster, Bramblett says, while paying for a packaged day tour can save money by delivering you to popular tourist sites for less than the cost of public transportation.

Try a cruise

The recent spate of bad news for cruise lines — shipboard illnesses, accidents — may be good news for bargain hunters.

“All the problems in the cruise industry have lessened the public’s trust in cruise vacations,” Frommer says. “I would guess that that will lead to some good last-minute discounts on cruises this summer.”

If you book within four weeks of the departure date, “when the cruise line is getting desperate and deeply discounted, you can often find cruises for $50 or $60 a day that way, and that includes meals,” she says.

Another tip: Sail on older ships, says Mark Murphy, founder of TravelPulse.com, a travel-news website.

For example, Royal Caribbean’s

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 Voyager class ships “are still in great condition, with great features,” he says, “but you’ll find a dramatic difference in price going out on one of the older ships.”

More from MarketWatch:

10 things all-inclusive vacations won’t tell you

7 secrets for getting the most comfortable airline seat

5 more reasons to hate your cable company

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Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-ways-to-travel-on-the-cheap-this-summer-2014-04-30

China’s Big Airlines Get Boost From Overseas Travel

HONG KONG—Growth in overseas leisure travel has helped boost core earnings at China’s biggest airlines in the first quarter, and signaled that the nation’s recent slowdown hasn’t weighed on consumer sentiment as much as some may have feared.

Chinese airlines carried 13% more passengers in the first three months of 2014 from a year earlier, though they saw demand being particularly strong to points outside mainland China. At flag…

Article source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304163604579531640336488888

San Antonio could benefit from Obama’s stance on DOT funding



San Antonio International Airport 20

File photo of San Antonio International Airport. U.S. Travel Association members are encouraged that a new proposal now under consideration in Congress will benefit tourism-focused cities like San Antonio.











W. Scott Bailey
Reporter/Project Coordinator- San Antonio Business Journal

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According to the U.S. Travel Association, there is language in the Obama administration’s new surface transportation proposal that directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider the “potential effects on travel and tourism” when allocating federal grants.

It’s an acknowledgement, say hospitality industry leaders, that travel is a critical economic driver states and cities.

The White House delivered its DOT reauthorization package to Congress on Tuesday.

“This new language reflects an understanding by the president that every dollar invested in travel and tourism generates economic returns that are compounded many times over,” says U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Travel was the second-fastest-growing industry last year. Its job creation has dramatically outpaced the rest of the economy during the recovery, and it is one of the strongest positive contributors to our trade balance.”

How important is the travel sector in San Antonio?

A 2012 report authored by Trinity University professors Richard V. Butler and Mary E. Stefl indicated that the annual economic impact of the travel- and tourism-related trade in San Antonio had eclipsed the $2 billion mark. Nearly 22 percent of that impact was attributed to transportation.

“What the administration has done is to insist that transportation dollars create maximum economic value by supporting the best-performing sectors, and travel and tourism easily meets that standard,” Dow says. “We still must invest more to modernize America’s travel infrastructure and ensure it remains competitive with other countries, but there is much to be encouraged about in this latest package.”

W. Scott Bailey covers health care, tourism, sports business, economic development; he also plans and edits some special reports.

Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/blog/2014/04/san-antonio-could-benefit-from-obama-s-stance-on.html

Marriott profits climb 26% as group travel improves

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Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/marriott-profits-climb-26percent-as-group-travel-improves/2014/04/29/6214d93e-cfd5-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html