By Shawn Cunningham,
As many of you know, Kyle and myself are avid travelers and foodies. We rarely travel together due to our schedules, so we have had the opportunity to visit a wide variety of places around the world. We’ve come together to figure out the top 6 travel tips we’ve learned for efficient, comfortable worldwide air travel. This is a ton of information distilled down, so reach out to either of us for more info. Honestly, we could 25 tips, so let’s just do 6.
Learn Your Airports. When flying to other continents, learning the big hub airports will save you a lot of stress trying to get to smaller cities or towns.
Let’s say you want to go to visit a castle in Schloss Ort, Austria and maybe take a trip to Bavaria after. While Las Vegas currently does have direct flights to Europe, they are limited beyond London. We will have non-stop flights to Amsterdam starting in June (yay!), and currently have occasional and/or seasonal flights to Frankfurt, Munich (MUC) and Zurich (ZRH).
However, Vegas is close to airports that have much larger international footprints, and it turns out Schloss Ort is also close to many large hub airports as well (Europe being so small). If you can snag a flight from Las Vegas to Munich and take a train that’s a nice trip. But don’t forget about checking out prices for flights from LAX or LAS to Munich or LAX even to London (LHR) or Paris (CDG). Remember Europe is smaller, once you get from this contentment to there, it’s easy to fill in the last leg of a trip.
If I can’t get a flight easily out of Vegas and for a good price, I usually check LAX first just due to the proximity and number of cheap flights from Vegas to there.
Use Google Flights – Best tool for searching for flights. Why? Because you can type in up to 5 airports you are leaving, and up to 5 airports you are willing to arrive in. This gives you the fastest way to utilize the strategy above. Let’s say you find a deal on a $400 flight from DFW to London vs a $1200 flight from Vegas to London direct. Which do you think is a better deal if your final destination is London?
Use SeatGuru.com – When booking long haul, or really even domestic, a lost art is to pick the seat that ensures you the most comfort. Not all seats are created equal. Nothing worse than being seated next to the bathroom for 10 hours when you could’ve easily avoided it by looking up the plane and airline on SeatGuru and seen actual user reviews from other travelers. For instance, when I flew on KLM once from LAX to AMS (that’s Los Angeles International to Amsterdam Airport Schipol) – I found a tip to get a certain seat on KLM’s 747 that essentially gave me a whole corner of the “nose” to myself. I had total privacy and comfort for the 10 hours at no additional cost to the other guys. That’s just one of many examples
Utilize Miles to Fly in Style – If you have kids, you may want to use miles just to travel more people for free. If you are traveling for two or one, miles are a great way to find business class fares abroad. Going to Australia? 17 hours in economy may sound tortuous, but 17 hours in business class with champagne on demand? Maybe more doable. If you already spend a lot of money very month nonbusiness expenses, look at credit cards like AMEX Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve to maximize your spending for travel benefits. Websites like The Points Guy do a great job breaking down how to make this work.
Pack Light – can’t stress this one enough. Avoid checking bags traveling internationally. Not just because airlines tend to lose your bags when you need them the most … when you are abroad, you are more likely to be heading to trains, or ferries, and having to carry yourself what you checked. A well-equipped travel backpack and a small roller will get you through. Just have the hotel wash your clothes or look for a laundry service after 4-5 days. Or just go shopping while strolling the streets of Milan… even if you can only afford H&M while there. And yes, I did check my bags on one trip in the past 5 years, to Madrid. Guess what happened….
Use a Travel Credit Card abroad – When my bags were lost in Madrid and I spend $150 on clothes (at H&M of course), my credit card reimbursed for that cost later in addition to the airline’s rather meager reimbursement. They did find my bags eventually or I would’ve been able to claim even more. A good travel credit card will have NO foreign transaction fees (this is a big money saver if you plan to travel a lot). Oh, and always carry a backup credit card. When my primary card was cancelled in Paris due to somebody making a purchase with it in Wisconsin the same day (how does this stuff happen?) I was lucky to have a backup card. Without it, I would’ve been SOL. That’s European for not good.
Want more travel tips? Let us know, we have lots more!