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Archive for the ‘Airlines’ Category

Some friends of mine made an unhappy discovery when departing the Czech Republic with a long-sought bottle of wine (or two):  their duty-free purchase was confiscated when making a connection in another EU airport.

As much as I complain about the security theater Americans abbreviate TSA, there is one upside to the system:  once you’re in (and don’t connect in a stupid airport [ahem, JFK] where you have to exit and reenter secured areas when changing flights), you and your liquids are in.  Put that chapstick back in your pocket, enjoy a long swig from your refilled water bottle — no one will bug you about those items again.

Unfortunately, if you are connecting onward through a European airport, you will be subject to repeated searches — necessitating the return of your chapstick to your 1L ziploc, the dumping of your secure-area beverages and, for the unlucky, the confisciation of your duty-free liquids, creams and gels.

How do you avoid this expensive dilemma?  Find out after the jump.

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Holiday flights on the mind?  Upgrade: Travel Better has a great post with five tips for well-prepared fliersif your flights are delayed or cancelled, following Mark’s advice will reduce your chances of being stranded.

Since I’ve already got my airline’s customer service number memorized (in case of emergency), I took action on Mark’s #2 tip:

2) Know your alternatives.
Carry the airline’s timetable, or a list of alternate flights to your destination, which can be downloaded or printed from any airline’s website. This is useful when you try for a rebooking or want to go standby. Let’s say flights are delayed two hours across the board. The previous flight might still be waiting to push back from the gate. Check the timetable you brought with you and make a beeline for that earlier flight. Try to stand by and get out early, instead of waiting for hours for your scheduled itinerary.

BONUS: Don’t forget alternate routings if trying to rebook. Just because you’re scheduled to fly from Raleigh to Los Angeles via Chicago doesn’t mean that’s the only route you can take. (E.g., maybe you can fly via Dallas instead.) Having an electronic timetable is great for this. Ask airline agents about specific route alternatives — they may not look them up if you don’t ask for them by name.

I downloaded the airline schedules for my alliance of choice and charted every possible alternative for each leg.  Even if I don’t need it for this trip (knock on wood), I’ve got a better sense of my options next time I’m booking tickets. 

Find links to the downloadable schedules of the world’s major airlines after the jump.
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December or no, things aren’t always roses and sunshine in the world of a no-budget traveler. Being human (and not just a blogging robot), even an “expert” is also bound to make mistakes. After the jump, I share three recent travel planning misadventures and the lessons learned from each. Share your own budget travel blunders in the comments. (more…)

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The Russians have a term — avoska — for a small tote bag carried “just in case.” Theirs were used for the random times where lines spontaneously formed for things like bananas. When lines appeared, people would join even if they weren’t certain what was on offer (on the grounds that, if people were lining up, something good must be for sale)!

In the same “Be Prepared” spirit, such a reusable tote bag is one of the smartest things a no-budget traveler can stash in the outer pockets of their luggage or in their handbag.

The nice folks at Wellcare want you to have this tote for free. It appears to have nice long straps for shoulder carrying. If you don’t like the design, I recommend you simply turn it inside out!

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If you’re new to Less Than a Shoestring, please take some time and have a poke around! I welcome your questions and comments on the site. This blog shows that travel can indeed be both pleasurable and frugal. Because I live in Europe, you’ll find loads of information on European no-budget travel — but in keeping with This Just In’s post and for your ease, I’ve put together below a collection of my U.S. tips and bargains.

Once a month, the Travel on a Shoestring Carnival turns its focus to the Americas. You’ll find lots of great tips from around the blogosphere collected in the following posts:

Every Friday, the blog features a travel freebie. Some timeless classics for U.S. staycationers and backyard travelers:

Not free, but cheap activities include:

For those traveling a bit further afield, take a look at the posts:

If you’ll be driving to your destination, you’ll want to read:

Before flying, from the wild and wooly world of U.S. airline travel:

Changes U.S. travelers and visitors should know about:

See the no-budget traveler take on the New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” in the posts:

If you like what you see, subscribe to the RSS feed and have the latest no-budget travel tips delivered to you! It takes just a second to set up, ensuring you never miss a single post.

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Concerned reader Jennifer writes,

Right now Ryanair APPEARS to have some fares that are literally FREE (no taxes, fees special till 11/15 on some flights; free flight, free if you choose on-line check-in, no bags, no priority). Is that for real???

Yes, Jennifer, it’s for real — as “free” as you can get any “free” ticket from RyanAir these days (check out the post “Why I Love/Hate RyanAir” for more on this subject).

I booked myself a November trip yesterday, from Berlin to Edinburgh, for 10.02 euros: 2 cents in fares, 10 euros in credit card fees. Of course I plan to report all about it here.

So where would you like to go? Sale ends midnight Wednesday.

If you’re stuck in the States for the time being, get thee to a Cold Stone Creamery Thursday evening: from 5-8 p.m. they’re handing out free scoops of two new creations, inspired by children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

  • Jack’s Creation – Marshmallow ice cream with OREO® Cookies, Chocolate Chips and Fudge
  • Emily’s Creation – Nutter Butter® ice cream with White Chocolate Chips, Kit Kat® and Yellow Cake

I’m so jealous! You can find your nearest Cold Stone location here.

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RyanAir just finished another €1 for select routes in September and October. It is still possible to book some of these tickets for €5-10/leg, so have a look at the site if you’re thinking of traveling during that timeframe.

However, when estimating the price, don’t overlook their recent increase in debit card and EC-card fees — now up from €1.50 to €5 per leg! Whereas the booking fee was once included in their “no taxes, no fees” sales, it is now always an additional charge. The only way to avoid booking charges is to use a Visa Electron card (not available in the U.S., Canada or Australia, according to Wikipedia).

Also, RyanAir recently released a statement reiterating its one bag carry-on policy. Not mincing words, they write,

We will not allow anybody to exceed these permitted allowances, and will be rigidly enforcing our one bag rule this summer. Passengers presenting themselves at a boarding gate should be warned, they will not be permitted to travel if they do not comply with this one bag rule.

Deutsche Bahn is offering any and all comers a 30-day DeutschlandPass for a flat €299 (under 26? a bargain €249). The pass is valid in the 2nd class of all trains, including IC/EC and ICE trains; part of your journey, however, must take place on a long-distance (i.e. not regional or S-Bahn) train [though I’m not exactly sure HOW they expect to police that]. This offer ends August 31, so to get your money’s worth, purchase soon! Tickets are available online (German only).

Finally, EuroCheapo has had a series of guest posts recently from the folks behind Hidden Europe, who shared the following transportation gems:

Tomorrow we’ve got a guest post from Dana on the ins and outs of Japanese rail passes for visitors, so stay tuned!

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