Traveling well. Tips to save you money, time & aggravation.

imprrh@gmail.com —  June 15, 2015

 

I’m on the road quite a bit. This summer for example, I will be sleeping in my bed 8 days. Total. If you travel, here are four tips I learned along the way that will benefit you.

  1. Join frequent programs.

Early on in my life I always looked for the cheapest option. That is not always the best route. When you join frequent flyer/hotel/car programs you get perks only reserved for members that make travel easier. Give you an example or two. I was traveling with my family for a speaking appointment. Weather affected our plans significant. Instead of waiting in line to rebook for two hours, I walked right to the delta counter for sky priority and fixed our travel plans very quickly. It does not take many trips to earn rewards. The way I see it, the benefits of frequent programs help you in the following ways:

Free upgrades. You did not pay a lot, but received a lot. That sounds like grace to me.

Options. Options are always good.

Easier to change when plans change.

Traveling is not glamourous. It’s tiring actually. Any advantage you can get to make that experience a bit better is great. At the end of the day, you end up saving the church money (or yourself) when you travel.

  1. Use lesser known travel insights to help you.

Here is an example of what I mean. I needed to travel from Huntsville to Atlanta, one way. A ticket was over $400. If I bought a ticket to Charlotte that stops in Atlanta, it was less than half. The best website for that is https://skiplagged.com/ Why that happens, I have no idea, but it does. You can’t have checked baggage is the only drawback.

  1. Be connected for great deals. (Especially overseas)

I follow Airfare Watchdog. They scour the internet for super great deals. I can find tickets to Africa for $700, to Europe for $500 and many stateside trips for dirt cheap, for example Carolina to Orlando for $79 RT is a recent example. Here is their twitter handle: https://twitter.com/airfarewatchdog If your plans are flexible and you are on a budget, they are the perfect resource.  Be alerted that Southwest is not on travel search engines, so search directly on their site. www.southwest.com They also have some good deals often.

  1. Insist on making your own travel arrangements or having them follow a specific itinerary.

I have learned the hard way that when people invite you to speak, they don’t always understand or care about the impact it has on you physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. I have been flown with two layovers, leaving my house at 4am and arriving 12 hours later, to then speak 5 times and flown back with a similar schedule. This is not about being a prima donna. It’s about basic decency. When I invite I ask the guest what airline and hotel they prefer. I get to invite them again. Here are two articles with a downloadable guest form you can fill out when invited.

http://leadsu.org/2014/04/21/348/

For me, at the end of the day, it’s about being a good steward of God’s resources. Any other recommendations? Let me know in comment section.

imprrh@gmail.com

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3 responses to Traveling well. Tips to save you money, time & aggravation.

  1. Thanks for the tips. Good stuff.

    Just a question about the first point: I understand booking a flight/hotel that may not be the cheapest – but may be a part of your frequent flyer program, etc. But is it right to spend more of someone else’s money, only to rack up points/miles that one will, very likely, use for their own personal use (vacations, etc)?

    I struggle with this in my own personal opportunities – though I do usually end up just looking for flights that put the least amount of stress on my family circumstances (ie., not staying an extra five hours or day because it’s cheaper – but trying to get home to my family as quickly as possible, etc).

  2. Good question my friend. I would respond in the following ways:
    1. In todays competitive airfare wars, after you add luggage fees, the prices are similar if not below when going with a preferred carrier.
    2. I use my miles for mission projects almost exclusively. I was able to bring my son to Africa and India with those miles, impacting him spiritually and bonding us, which made a great difference in our relationship.
    3. I don’t believe in taking advantage or being taken advantage of. There is a sacrifice that is made with constant travel and I just wish people that invite understood the toll it takes.

    • Good answers! Yes, I have miles with Delta and I usually find that out of my airport they are usually the cheapest anyway.

      And I’m glad you use your miles for mission rather than sunning in the Bahamas. 🙂