Urban Myths or Travel Tips?
Who has not heard from a friend how to get a frequent flier ticket? Best hotel price? Jump a queue at a museum? Cheap theater tickets? Alligators in the sewers of NY?
There are urban myths and then there are the facts. The most common myth is that on a certain time and certain day of the week, you will see the most frequent flier and or available airline seats. Some say to try at midnight plus one minute when the airline opens up their schedule (from 331-356 days ahead). Others say don’t bother Midnight might be Central time or Pacific Time so if you want to believe this myth, check in which city the airline is located: ie American is Central Time, Delta Eastern etc. Some say just keep trying daily and go for partner airlines simultaneously.
The best way to get a ff ticket is to keep trying; but always erase your cookies so the airline cannot track you. We suggest you try for a ticket to a major gateway like London or Paris; then add your other legs by using one of the sites we will list below. For instance, there are not many flights to Dublin (for our Ireland trip in July). Your best bet is therefore to go for a US-London ticket or US-Paris ticket and then connect for the short flight to Dublin on one of the European discounters: Ryanair or Easyjet for instance. Similarly going to Asia from the East coast? You can connect via London and hunt for a London-Delhi ticket as an example. You might have to overnight, but the lower price will be worth it. A caveat: make sure your connecting airport is the same as your arriving one!
Another urban myth concerns hotel prices and hotel websites. We have always found the best way is to compare the hotel rate on line with a direct approach to the hotel by fax or email. (Most hotel sites include their direct email). Do not go through a marketing consortium like Leading Hotels of the xxx, Small Luxury etc.- nothing negative meant here just an idea of what a hotel consortium sounds like. You will not be contacting the hotel reservations directly. Another benefit of booking with the hotel might be a free airport shuttle not offered unless you book directly. On our annual Tuscany trip, we found our Pisa hotel did offer this free service, a savings of about $40 euros round trip. Finally if you do book directly, keep the name of the person who emails you back; when you arrive thank that person if possible. Niceties sometimes trump websites.
Reservations at restaurants and queues at museums? Some museums have ‘free’ nights and or days, obviously you need to do research. The Louvre for instance does have one free day first Sunday of each month. And it also has one entrance that is less busy; that entrance is in what the museum calls the Carrousel area. A good source for freebies is the series of guidebooks called Lets Go. These are written and edited by Harvard University juniors and seniors. They will often list free museum days that are missed by other books. Lets Go also mentions unusual museums again not mainstream but interesting. (They rate cheap eats you would never find anywhere else).
Restaurants? Generally we recommend the prix fixe meal overseas. The euro is so low right now that this rule is temporarily irrelevant. Getting into a good restaurant is also a function of contacting them directly. You might have to use google translation for some websites overseas; but first look for the flags usually placed upper right hand corner. A click on the US or UK flag will bring you to their English language site. Sometimes with a restaurant you do need to actually call overseas. Still no luck? Ask the concierge of your hotel for help. We like Yelp, a review site that functions also in some major cities overseas. Find your wifi (free in many more places overseas than here), log on, ask Yelp to recommend a restaurant near where you are standing and for your budget. It works beautifully and will save lots of walking and lots of indigestion. Location services must be turned on in your phone.
The Women’s Travel Group offers many tours for women including Ireland this July, a trip full of laughter and learning. We like good easy to use travel tips and welcome you to post them on our Facebook Page. For more tips on travel to Ireland or to book out trip: email Phyllis Stoller. For any travel questions also, she will try to help with her 23 years of leading tours for women and a love of travel.
More information on getting frequent flier tickets and less known airline sites is here on our Facebook page, or visit our web site.