How do you choose the best campground?
In remote locations, the choice might be made for you. You stay at the only place available. But in most popular tourist areas, you'll be presented with an array of park choices.
Making good choices will add value to your trip, and strengthen other investments you've already made in fuel, equipment and activity fees.
Look at some search tips for finding the best campgrounds. It's a planning step that should be taken with plenty of careful consideration.
Anyone for a free vacation? Unscrupulous people among us know the answer is always yes.
Readers have written to reveal a scam in which they are sent vouchers for free air travel and vacation packages. Experienced travelers will see right away that the airfare vouchers in this scheme are issued by "U.S. Airlines." Ever heard of it? Neither have I.
But those who don't look closely enough might mistake it for U.S. Airways, which actually does exist. That is by design.
In order to redeem these vouchers, the future victim is given a number to call for verifying some personal information that later will be used, presumably, in identity theft. There is no free vacation.
Frankly, most of us probably wouldn't fall for that scam. But there must be enough people out there who do, or it wouldn't be happening.
Other travel scams are far more likely to strike even the most experienced travelers, because the crime unfolds quickly and the perpetrators vanish before most victims even realize they've been ripped-off.
It always pays for budget travelers to examine travel scams at street level.
Here's the latest list of 10 travel deals for this week. Many of these links lead to offers with a very limited shelf life, so if you're interested, act quickly. But don't act so quickly that you miss the fine print. Spring Travel Deals aren't quite so fleeting, and are also worth a look. Among this week's deals: a trio of hotel-chain-based discounts for your summer travel planning.
It's important to find an affordable cruise and then save money during the trip. But there are a few steps you should consider before the ship ever leaves port.
Getting off to a good start is important in any enterprise. Travelers who tell the worst stories about missed planes and ships usually got off to a horrible start and never recovered.
You don't have to join their ranks.
Take a look at 5 pre-sail cruise tips that could smooth the ride.
A corporate news release announced May 1 that Frontier Enhances Services for Customers Using FlyFrontier.com.
Public relations specialists have decided to use various forms of words like enhance and empower when delivering bad news.
Cutting through the PR-speak, Frontier is actually instituting a fee for carry-on baggage. You might remember it was at this time last year that Spirit Airlines announced a carry-on fee. Spirit's copywriters said the change would "empower customers to save money."
Now Frontier is claiming that its customers are fed up with trying to find space in crowded overhead compartments, and they need relief from this "unacceptably difficult" situation. So the solution is to make people pay for carry-on baggage if they have not booked their tickets directly through FlyFrontier.com, the airline's official site.
According to the release, this is a service-enhancing development because it "will increase overhead space for Frontier's most loyal customers and speed the boarding process."
If you're wondering where to find the enhancement, look here: Frontier's revenues will be enhanced by collecting the fee, and also by directing customers away from third-party websites, to which airlines must pay commissions for such purchases.
So take note: if you want to fly Frontier, you'll need to make arrangements through their site if you want to practice one bag, carry-on travel. Beginning this summer, failing to do so will mean forking over $25-$100 per bag. Checked baggage fees are cheaper than that.
Expect more of these announcements in the months and years ahead, and plan your airfare shopping accordingly. Budget travelers must realize that strict a la carte pricing for everything beyond basic transportation is the mantra of low-cost airlines. They claim (with some validity) that it's a key way to keep the basic costs low.
With that in mind, Frontier's release offers news of another enhancement: "Effective July 1, 2013, customers who purchase Economy or Basic fares will be charged $1.99 for coffee, tea, soda and juice."
Here's the latest list of 10 travel deals for this week. Many of these links lead to offers with a very limited shelf life, so if you're interested, act quickly. But don't act so quickly that you miss the fine print. Spring Travel Deals aren't quite so fleeting, and are also worth a look. Among this week's deals: discounts on Eurail Global Passes for youth and adults, an airfare sale from AeroMexico (until Friday, May 10) and free nights at a resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
London is an expensive destination. Plan your excursions carefully, and be prepared for some hefty admission costs at the top attractions.
But don't to assume that everything worth seeing in London requires a big entrance fee.
Experiencing Hyde Park or the British Museum are quintessential London experiences that won't impact your budget.
There are scores of these free, worthwhile opportunities. Get your planning started with 10 free things to do in London. Add value to your U.K. trip without adding more expense.
The annual Airline Quality Rating report has been released, and it contains mixed reviews for the airline industry.
The report is compiled each year by Brent D. Bowen of Purdue University and Dean E. Headley of Wichita State University. Downloads of the 60-page Airline Quality Report for 2013 are free at the Purdue library Website.
The report looks back at the year 2012 with both good news and bad news for the airlines.
The good news first: on-time performance and baggage handling both improved from the previous year. The study found mishandled baggage cases decreased by 8 percent.
The bad news: Involuntary denied boardings and the customer complaint rate were higher in 2012. These both suggest that as mergers continue and airfares increase, the airlines are hard-pressed to determine their passenger loads and improve their overall service.
"As the system adjusts to increasing demand for air travel with a limited capacity of seats available, operations must be carefully handled for things to go as planned for travelers," Headley said in a Wichita State news release. "Nearly a third of the customer complaints for 2012 were for flight problems, such as unplanned schedule changes, delays and cancellations."
If you're wondering about how individual airlines performed, Virgin America, a newcomer to the rankings this year, took the top spot. JetBlue, AirTran, Delta and Hawaiian rounded out the top five.
American, American Eagle, SkyWest, ExpressJet and United were at the bottom of the list.
When you strive for value as a budget air traveler, keep in mind that finding cheap airfares is only part of the equation. If you find a carrier that provides consistently good service, it's worth considering whether or not the lowest-price fare is always the best option.
Here's the latest list of 10 travel deals for this week. Many of these links lead to offers with a very limited shelf life, so if you're interested, act quickly. But don't act so quickly that you miss the fine print. Spring Travel Deals aren't quite so fleeting, and are also worth a look. Among this week's deals: a sale on vacation packages for the U.S. Virgin Islands, discounted weekend car rental rates and a pair of offers for travel to Mexico .
Travel writing should do more than paint pictures of a destination. It should provide practical information upon which you can act to make plans or enjoy the day.
Guides across the About.com travel channel are dedicated to providing that kind of content.
Not a day goes by without new postings from this group -- postings that will enrich your travel experiences.
Last year, I put these deep resources to work and created a summer vacation travel guide. There are about 150 links here from more than 40 About.com travel Guides. I spent many enjoyable hours reading summer content from my colleagues, and made note of links that would be relevant for summer travel planning. Guides also emailed suggestions for links.
When you start searching for information about a particular destination with these links, it's very likely you'll be led to lots of relevant information beyond this guide. Bookmark this resource and return to it frequently as you make your summer plans.
The guide is organized into nine sections:
Summer at the Beach | Summer in Europe | More Summer Destinations | Summer at National Parks | Summer Events | Summer Cruises | Summer Camping and the Great Outdoors | Summer at the Theme Parks | Summer Vacations with the Family
Don't put off your planning. Get started now!