Last Minute Checks Before You Drive to the Airport

Going to the airport for your holiday is exciting and stressful in equal parts. Of course it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re heading off on a holiday to get away from it all, top up your tan and see somewhere new, but at the same time it’s also stressful knowing how much money you’ve spent, worrying about things going wrong, and having a strict timescale that you absolutely can’t miss.

It’s crucial then to make sure that you are prepared for this journey and that you’ve accounted for everything that can go wrong if you want to avoid losing money unnecessarily or being extra stressed. Here we will look at some of the very last minute checks to make before you leave.

Your Car

If you are driving to the airport then it’s crucial that your vehicle is fit to get you there and that everything is in working order. Chances are that this will be a medium-long journey, so ensure that your tires are fully pumped up, that you have enough fuel, oil and water. Likewise you should pack certain things in your car with you to help you out in case you do end up stranded. For instance you should always take a first aid kit, and you should take supplies and tools that you could use to repair your car or make life more comfortable should you get stranded.

The Route

Knowing the way to the airport is also rather important to avoid driving lost for ages. Make sure you know the best route and that you are aware of any traffic hold-ups too. If you are concerned about getting to your destination then investing in a sat nav can help a great deal to put your mind at rest and to avoid potential problems. If you don’t have a sat nav, then having a navigator in the front with a printed map may help to ensure you don’t make any wrong turns.

Parking

You should also have some parking for when you get to the airport if you are going to be driving. Make sure this is booked in advance as well, but also that you know the way there. It’s no good knowing where the airport is then struggling to find where you are going to park.

Flights

Before setting off you should double check your flight times and the terminal you need to be at. You can check this using your flight number but it’s important that you do as these details can be subject to change. You should do this a little before you leave of course, as waiting might mean it’s too late for you to get there for the new time.

Your Files and Documents

Going on holiday normally requires you to show any number of e-tickets, confirmation e-mails and documents for identification (as well as lots of cash and/or travellers’ cheques of course). If you don’t have any of these then it can lead to serious stress when you’re out there, so doing a last minute check of everything is important.

Every Sigh Puts Love in the Air

Where do you dream of traveling? Is it Paris with its endless romance? What about New York City with romantic energy that keeps you going all night? Or maybe you'd like a quiet cottage on the northern California coast, high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Whatever your passion is, when you travel you can find at least a piece of romance that will make you sigh.

When I was in my twenties I was fortunately to marry a man who was occasionally able to be romantic. I say this because I have met many men who have not got a clue. But Joe (not his real name) was romantic without coercing it. Oh, he did not do all those schmaltzy things you see on TV or in the movies. But who can deny that getting married in the Valley Chapel in Yosemite Valley is anything but hopelessly romantic? This was totally his idea as I was not even aware that the chapel inserted. So, we traveled to Yosemite and stayed at a beautiful rustic B & B just outside the park with our best friends, Sue and Tom (not their real names either). After the late afternoon wedding, the four of us had dinner in the grand Ahwahnee Hotel. It was an amazing event, private, intimate and very romantic. We all sent love into the air many times.

Yosemite became our romantic getaway and we visited the park often, usually off-season. We expanded our trips to the surrounding mountain areas then got an off-road vehicle that took us to very remote locations. I will skip the details, but the romance got pretty hot on more than one occasion. But the views were breathtaking and we sighed many times.

You do not have to travel to far-off countries to enjoy a romantic sigh-inducing trip. A drive to the beach to watch the sunset will set your hearts on fire. You can snuggle together in a blanket on the sand or go early and walk to the end of the pier. Every sigh puts love in the air and you certainly must see when that last glimpse of sun dips below the horizon.

But, when you do take those long excursion, take the time to relax and enjoy the ambience. Breathe deeply in the rose gardens, or dip your hand in the fountains and playfully splash your mate. Hold hands while walking together and kiss gently whenever you feel like it. Your love will deepen, your passion will be enhanced and you will cause people around you to sight just watching you. Remember, every sigh puts love in the air.

My hope is that every person on the planet sighs love often. Even if you are alone, enhance your world with sighs of love as you watch your roses bloom or the leaves turn vibrant colors in the autumn. If every breath exhaled was a sigh of love the world would have to be a better place.

Top 7 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Guitar Tunings

There are many different guitar tunings that are used in Rock and Metal music besides standard tuning. Guitar players in these genres like to use these tunings because they give a heavier and darker sound to their music.

Some of the more popular tunings used are Dropped D, Dropped C, Dropped B, E Flat, D, C and open G. Here are the descriptions of how the strings should be tuned and some of the bands that use them.

Dropped D tuning:

E ———-1st string

B ———-2nd string

G ———-3rd string

D ———-4th string

A ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

This tuning enables power chords to be played with a single finger on the lowest three strings and produces a dark sound with it. If you’re music doesn’t fit together with this dark sound, you can place a capo on the 2nd fret and can still easily play power chords.

Some bands that use Dropped D tuning are:

Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Silverchair, Soundgarden and Velvet Revolver.

Dropped C tuning:

D ———-1st string

A ———-2nd string

F ———-3rd string

C ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

C ———-6th string (thickest)

Dropped C tuning is the Dropped D with each string lowered one whole step. Dropped C tuning produces a very low and heavy sound and is used by many of the new Heavy Metal bands.

Some bands that use Dropped C tuning are:

30 Seconds to Mars, Atreyu, Buckethead, Bullet for My Valentine, Children of Bodom, Godsmack, Bad Religion, Metallica, Mudvayne, P.O.D., Papa Roach, Rammstein, Shadows Fall, System of a Down, Three Days Grace and Ozzy Osbourne.

Dropped B tuning:

C# ———-1st string

G# ———-2nd string

E ———-3rd string

B ———-4th string

F# ———5th string

B ———-6th string (thickest)

This tuning will need heavier gauge strings to be effective. Also you might have to widen the string grooves as well as adjust the tension in the neck of your guitar.

Some bands that use Dropped B tuning are:

Audioslave, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Mudvayne, Slipknot and Stone Sour.

Eb tuning:

Eb ———1st string

Bb ———2nd string

Gb ———3rd string

Db ———4th string

Ab ———5th string

Eb ———6th string (thickest)

This tuning is Standard tuning turned down a half step. There are a few reasons that bands use this tuning instead of Standard tuning. One reason is to sound heavier by using heavy gauge strings. By tuning down a half step it is easier to bend these heavy gauged strings. Another reason why some bands use this tuning is to compliment the lead singers voice.

Bands that use Eb tuning are:

Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Megadeth, Metallica, Motorhead, Nirvana, Poison, Slayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stone Sour, Van Halen, Weezer and Yngwie Malmsteen.

D tuning:

D ———-1st string

A ———-2nd string

F ———-3rd string

C ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

D tuning is also known as whole step down tuning and as you have probably already guessed, it’s Standard tuning tuned down a whole step. D tuning has been used mainly in Heavy Metal music.

Bands that have used D tuning are:

Alice in Chains, The Beatles, Bullet For My Valentine, Bob Dylan, Children of Bodom, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Racer X and Soundgarden.

C tuning:

C ———-1st string

G ———-2nd string

Eb ———3rd string

Bb ———4th string

F ———-5th string

C ———-6th string (thickest)

C tuning also produces a low sound that is mostly used by Hard Rock and Metal bands. The tuning is 2 whole steps below Standard tuning, which gives it a heavy sound but still maintains the same intervals as Standard tuning.

Bands that have used C tuning are:

Atreyu, Black Sabbath, Bullet For My Valentine, Deftones, Dream Theater, Jimi Hendrix, P.O.D., Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, Steve Vai and The Who.

G tuning:

D ———-1st string

B ———-2nd string

G ———-3rd string

D ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

Other than the Drop D tuning, G Tuning is one of the most popular alternate guitar tunings.

Some bands that have used G tuning are:

The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam.

These are just some of the alternate guitar tunings that are available to you to experiment with. Play around with them and see which tunings fit your style of music.

Seven Things You Should Do On Your Next Texas Vacation

Being able to take a break from life is something we all look forward to, which means that when it comes to taking a vacation, we really want to be sure to make it count. Earth is a pretty big planet, and while there are a number of places on the globe you could travel to your next vacation, you might consider Texas vacations to be requisites for your next few getaways.

Texas? Really? Absolutely! Before you begin to scoff at the idea of ​​spending your well-earned time-off in the Lone Star State, you might want to consider what it is that you do on standard vacation. You travel by either land, sea, or air. You make it to your lodging, and more often than not, you might just call your first day a "chill" kind of day. You figure you'll regroup, get refreshed with a good night's sleep, and when the morning comes, vacation mode will be in full-effect. You take in the sights, buy meals out, take in more sights, and then head back to the hotel or vacation rental. You're absolutely tired, and you very quickly begin to think that maybe a "hotel day" would be a good option instead of seeing more sights. Eh.

With a vacation in Texas, you can not help but run into things to do, see, and experience everywhere you go. Moreover, why not make it a really memorable getaway by renting a car & having an epic road-trip through the state? The options are really pretty endless.

But before you get overwhelmed thinking that you would not know where to start, here are seven things that need to be part of your next Texas vacation:

Take a Picture with a "Do not Mess with Texas" Sign – As iconic as they are important, Texas prides itself on maintaining the stunning looks of its land.

Take a Pit-Stop at A Buc-ee's – If you think you've been to a convenience store on a road-trip before, you will be sorely mistaken. Be prepared for an experience.

Cruise on I-35 – It's the major thoroughfare in Texas. You can not say you've driven in Texas unless you've hit this highway.

Check Out Historical Markers Along the Way – With as much history as there is in Texas, you'll find countless historical markers everywhere you go.

Visit the George HW Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station – Fmr. President Bush is the longest-living president in history, and his decades of service to this country make this destination a must.

Check out an Antique CW Parker Carousel in Brenham – Tremendous craftsmanship that is over a century old & is the only example of a CW Parker carousel with Herschell-Spillman horses.

Explore Washington-on-the-Brazos – See "Where Texas Became Texas" with the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.

Texas vacations may not seem like they would provide you and your family with much in the way of entertainment and excitement. You figure if you've seen one part of Texas, you've seen pretty much all of Texas. Therein lies the biggest mistake you could make about the Lone Star State. Texas has a rich history and cultural heritage that makes it statehood one of the truly interesting benefits to prominence in the country. You owe it to yourself to make Texas a major candidate for your next getaway.

4 Tips To Rent A Yacht That Will Make Your Cruise The Most Enjoyable And Memorable

Yachts have for the longest time being considered as open only to those who can afford their luxurious nature. It is however very possible for you to enjoy a luxury yacht even if for only a few days of your holiday. With so many boat rentals available, you will definitely find a yacht that you can afford for your private or group cruise needs. There is really no better way of enjoying the waterways than in yacht and with a few helpful tips, you will be able to rent a yacht that makes all your dreams come true.

Tip 1 – Choose the right type of boat

There are different yacht charters to choose from to match your activity levels, budget and taste. You can go for a small sailing yacht or a motor yacht if you are looking for a romantic getaway for you and your partner. The same can also be suitable for a small family looking to spend an intimate time together. If you are a larger group, then a catamaran that is crewed makes a very suitable option, whereas a mega yacht is best for even larger groups made up of more than ten people. Remember yachts can also be rented for corporate getaways of the parties; whatever your needs, you will find one that works best for you.

Tip 2 – Get a fully crewed yacht

Most private and luxury yacht charters are fully-crewed meaning that you will have a captain and chef and other crew members to ensure that all your needs are met. Of course, there are people who would want to have the yacht all to themselves and hence choose to skipper themselves. But with a crewed yacht, you have all the time to sit back and relax or engage in other exciting activities on board without worrying about the boat at all.

Tip 3 – Go for a non-fixed itinerary

This can be a wonderful alternative compared to a fixed one where everything you do on the cruise is timed. When you choose a private charter yacht, you can make a loose itinerary such that you can stop whenever you want or stay longer in areas that interest you the most before moving to the next point. It is also a great way to deal with unpredictable weather because you can easily move to better places if the weather starts misbehaving. This kind of itinerary gives you flexibility that would otherwise be hard to enjoy. You will only be required to be back at the agreed time, but what you do in between is up to your preferences and agreement with your captain.

Tip 4 – Enjoy the cruise in your own style

When you charter a boat, you can choose to have an adrenaline filled adventure or a more relaxed kind of cruise for you and your partner. Most rental yachts come equipped with equipment for watersports meaning you can indulge as much as you wish if such adventure is what you are looking for. If relaxation is your thing, then find a vessel that has a therapist as part of its crew so you can enjoy a massage on the go. Some luxury yachts come with spa facilities so you can choose accordingly.

Get Away From The Norm On Nile Cruise Holidays

Everyday life will eventually start to get anyone into a rut. There is a cure to the malaise of a typical routine people tend to find themselves in. The cure is to get far away from home and have some real fun. A whole planet of fun and adventure are waiting for those who want it badly enough. The best way to find an adventure is with Nile cruise holidays.

A holiday is also known as a vacation to some. No matter what it is called, a holiday is a great way to relieve stress and get that hop back into a persons step. It can be tricky finding the right way of spending this quality time. Planning will help to make the expense match the fun.

The destination is what it is all about in vacationing. Often times the farther one goes the better the adventure. A new setting helps create a different way of thinking. Breaking the habits of a repetitive life can improve health and happiness in one go. Ancient lands with culture and intrigue hold the best of old an new.

Finding a great location is a big step, but after the place has been selected the mode of travel starts to become a major issue. Everyone wants to have a good time without giving up life’s conveniences. The key to having it all and getting from one place to another is in taking a cruise. Everything the modern world can offer without having to drive or search all day for it.

Traveling on the oceans and seas is not only relaxing, but it is also a great deal of fun. Comfort is king, but activities are what keep each day on the water fresh and exciting. Culture will also flow from every possible pit stop. Old world history and beauty with a taste of everything on the ancient river is hard to beat.

When the time comes to finally take that big vacation, be sure to go somewhere that leaves an impression. See the lands that time has never forgotten and bring home some new stories. A voyage into the past with the pleasures of the world of today is the tops in travel. Make a Nile cruise a top choice when planning the next great holiday.

10 Ways To Save Money On Flight Tickets

1. Have patience. It does take effort to get a good price on flights. Now, don’t let that deter you, because saving $100+ on flights can mean having more money to spend on sight-seeing, hotel, dining out, tours, etc. This means that if you want to travel in Spring, you should start checking prices in the late Fall or Winter. Sometimes there are last minute deals, but more often than not, you will find the best deals at least 21 days before your departure date.

First thing in the morning (around 9:00am, and in the evening, after 6:00pm) I like to browse travel websites to see if there are any deals being offered that day. I also like to delete my browser history and cookies, because sometimes travel websites and airlines will remember your search and this might cause prices to actually increase.

My favourite website is Skyscanner. One of the great features about this website is that you can check to see what the best price for the day is for travel worldwide from the airport of your preference. For example, I live in Toronto, so I will enter flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Everywhere. This is a great feature because it will tell me where on that day, which date, month, etc. is cheapest for me to fly anywhere in the world. [I used this site recently to help me get tickets for my trip to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines were charging $1,000-$1,500+ for flights to Seoul, but Delta was having a promotion and I was able to get round trip flights for only $850 CAD / $770 USD with the exchange rate.]

Another great feature on Skyscanner, is that you can put in your destination and dates of travel and sign up for “Price Alerts” so they will email you if the price goes up or down for your specified dates of travel. [My sister just used this feature to help her get a flight to Edmonton, Alberta for travel in May. Prices for one-way tickets were around $300-$400 and she was able to get it for $269 CAD.]

Another website I like to use is Expedia. Everyday they will shows travel deals available to the top domestic and international tourist destinations. They will also include deals packages for “Flight + Hotel”. This helps me get a feel for what the average cost is for example, a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let’s say the price for flight and hotel to Vegas for 4 nights on the Strip is $500-$600 per person from Toronto, I like to try and keep an eye out for deals that are equal to or below this price – that’s how I know I am saving money and getting the best price.

One thing about Expedia however is that the price advertised is not always available. If I am looking on their flight deals for last minute getaways, I might see round trip tickets to Miami for $250 CAD (departing from Toronto), but once I click on the deal, it may say the price has increased to $350 CAD instead. This isn’t always the case, but it does happen sometimes which is something to keep in mind.

Other websites that I like to use are: Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor and Airfarewatchdog.

2. Check the airline’s direct website. While these third party travel websites can be great, sometimes the best unadvertised deals are found directly through the airline’s website. I recommend signing up for email promotions offered through your preferred airline. For example, since I live in Canada, I am signed up for Air Canada’s travel promotions. This let’s me see special offers available as soon as they go live on the Air Canada website.

I really wanted to do a weekend trip to NYC with my sister this past February to celebrate her 21st birthday. In addition to checking third party websites, I would also play around with dates by entering the travel in Air Canada. They did not advertise this deal, but I was able to find direct round trip flights from YYZ to LGA for $199 CAD. This was a great deal that I was so happy to find through Air Canada. Sometimes the Airline’s website will offer promotion codes as well, so it is worthwhile to take a look.

3. Check departures/ arrivals from alternative airports. This is not always convenient, but sometimes a lot of major cities have more than one airport or have another airport within close proximity to them in another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport that offers domestic and international flights and Billy Bishop Airport that offers select flights within Canada and the USA. There is also the option of driving across the border and flying out of Buffalo Airport too. It is almost always cheaper to fly out of Buffalo airport than Pearson or Billy Bishop. But the downside is most, (if not all flights) are not direct and you will have to pay for parking since most people leave their car at the airport while travelling. Flying out of Buffalo is always a last resort for me, because it is a 90 minute drive from Toronto (you have to consider gas charges) and depending on how long your trip is, parking costs may bring that discounted flight up to or around the same cost as the flight would have been if it had departed from YYZ or YTZ. However, sometimes there are significant savings to be had when flying out of Buffalo, which will definitely make it worth your while. [When I handled the company corporate travel at my previous job, last minute trips happened often and if a group of 2 or more needed to travel to the USA, flying out of Buffalo saved the company upwards of $300-$600 + per flight ticket.]

This can also be said of not just the departure airport that you choose, but also the arrival airport. For example, when flying to NYC, there are essentially three airports that you can choose to arrive in: LGA, JFK or EWR. Sometimes you can get a better price when arriving at one airport over the other. One thing to keep in mind however is the travel from the airport to your hotel. If you are taking public transit, you can get to Manhattan from LGA for as little as $2.50 when taking the bus and subway train. However it is a bit more pricey when getting to Manhattan from EWR because you have to take New Jersey transit, then switch onto the Manhattan transit system. If you are taking a taxi, prices to get from each airport into Manhattan can vary. This is an important point to keep in mind and I recommend you conduct your own research before traveling.

4. Follow airlines and third party travel websites on Twitter (social media) and sign up for their mailing list. One of the great features about social media is that airlines can use this to advertise special travel promotions through certain social media outlets. Sometimes an airline will offer a special promotion code through their Twitter or Facebook page that isn’t advertised on other websites. West Jet offers Blue Tag Thursdays, which is a special promotion that is offered only Thursday afternoons (unless they have another special running during this time). You can find this on their website, or watch for it advertised on their Twitter or Facebook page. When signing up to third party or airline website’s mailing lists, they will sometimes send private promotional offers to their subscribers that give you secret access to their sale.

5. Don’t be afraid to book your flight and hotel separately. Sometimes you can get a great deal on sites like Expedia when you bundle your vacation and book flights and hotel at the same time, but this is not always the case. If you see an exceptional deal on a flight, book it now, don’t wait! You may be able to find a better price on the hotel later. I also recommend that if you do in fact see a great deal on a flight, please book it now, rather than wait until later that same day. Let’s say you see a great deal on a flight to San Francisco in the morning, but wait until you get home from work to purchase the tickets, this may not work to your advantage.

I will give you an example: I grew up in San Francisco and was looking for flights to go back and visit (this was back in October 2012), but they were around $600 and I wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later, Delta had a sale and was offering flights from Toronto to San Francisco for $437 CAD. This was an unbelievable price, considering all I was seeing was $600+ in the previous weeks, so I didn’t wait around and purchased the tickets immediately. I checked later that afternoon to see if the deal was still live and the price had shot back up to $600. I highly recommend booking when you see a price you feel is a great deal, because it may disappear sooner than you think.

Sometimes if you are booking multi-city flights, it may be more cost effective to book them separately than go with the same airline. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to fly from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles back home to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily to get the best deal. I was eventually able to get a sale through Air Canada for the flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles back to Toronto. I waited on booking the USA domestic flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Air Canada obviously didn’t offer this and prices were around $100 USD for this one-way flight at the time. About a week later, I was on Southwest.com and I saw they had a “Getaway” deal for $49 USD for the flight I needed from LAS to LAX. This was a great deal, so of course I booked right away. My entire multi-city airfare ended up costing $515 altogether. [YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost me $466 CAD and the Southwest flight from LAS to LAX cost $49 USD].

6. Know what time of year and which days are cheapest for flying. Travelling on Tuesday and Wednesday are generally cheaper than any other day of the week. (Generally, searching mid-week for flights produces the best deals too). From experience, I also find that Thursday and Saturday can offer the best price sometimes as well. Of course doesn’t happen all the time and you will have to experiment with dates, which is why Skyscanner is great for deciphering which day is cheapest to depart and return. Days that tend to be most expensive are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place Monday – Friday, which is why it tends to be more expensive to depart Monday and return on Friday. However, business travelers have started to fly out on Sunday instead of Monday in hopes to get a more affordable fare, but this doesn’t always work. Getting the cheapest departure date of the week of course is dependent on the flexibility of your travel dates.

The time of year also helps. It is usually cheaper to fly to Europe in the off-season and shoulder seasons (late fall, winter and early spring). Last year (2013) my parents traveled to Paris in April with direct round trip flights with Air Transat from Toronto for $671 CAD each. This isn’t the best price I have seen, but it was definitely the best deal at the time for non-stop round trip flights. Traveling during the off or shoulder season isn’t always negative. Sometimes due to poor weather, you will not want to travel during the off-season, but generally the off-season is less crowded and offers better prices.

I find that right now (early Spring) it is a bit more expensive to fly to Las Vegas (around $400-$500 CAD) because most people like to go there during the Spring time before the weather gets too hot in the Summer months. [I am comparing this to flight deals I saw this past winter for around $350 CAD.] It’s always wise to check out what events are happening during the dates you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes a holiday or big conference meeting could jack up the fares. I always suggest scoping out the average price for flights to your preferred destination, then keeping an eye on how the price fluctuates.

7. Save money on your baggage. Most airlines now charge you $25 each way to check your luggage. And they will charge you extra if your luggage goes over the airline weight limit. You can avoid this by packing light and making sure that your luggage does not go over the limit (check the airline to confirm the weight limit and for prices on checked luggage). Also, if you are going on a short trip, consider sharing one checked luggage bag with your travel partner(s). This can save you $50 on travel costs, since it costs $25 each way to check your luggage.

If you are going on an even shorter trip (weekend trip), consider only bringing carry on luggage and forget about the checked bag. Most airlines will let you bring a small amount of liquids on board the plane. If you are just going for a quick weekend trip, you might be able to get away with just a carry on bag. I did this for my trip last month to NYC. I went to my local dollar store and bought a small travel pouch of clear plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night/ day cream, foundation, etc. It also included sticker labels so I knew what everything was. I do realize that this is not practical for everyone, but for a 2 night trip, I would much rather spend $1 for the travel pouch at Dollarama then $50 for a checked bag. It also saves me the hassle of waiting to retrieve my checked bag at Baggage Claim.

8. Shop around for travel / health insurance. I always recommend getting travel or (extra) health insurance for your trip, but sometimes you are not getting the best price when you select the insurance package offered through the airline when you book your flights. Usually your work insurance will offer some type of travel or health coverage when traveling. Talk to HR about this if you are unsure. You can also buy insurance through your bank – that’s where I tend to find the best prices. This will also be cost efficient in the long run in you plan and traveling multiple times during the year. [Rather than pay for insurance each time you book a flight, you can get covered through your bank or alternative place for the year for a set fee.] If you are over 40 years old (or have a history of health issues), I recommend purchasing extra health coverage (even you already are covered through work). Unfortunately we can never predict what might happen while traveling, and if, heaven forbid, anything did happen, you will be happy that you purchased the extra health insurance. This is something that is unique to each person, so I cannot tell you what the best option is, that is something that you need to discuss with HR, your bank and family in order to see what the best choice is for you.

9. Avoid paying for seat selection (if you can). Some airlines ask for an extra fee to make advance seat selection, sometimes it is included in the price – if that’s the case then great, but if you have to pay $20 or so to make an advance seat selection, I would pass. You can usually check in early (24 hours before flight departure) and make the seat selection for free. You may be able to get the seats that you wanted, or you may not. It’s a hit or miss. If you don’t have a preference on where you sit, or willing to take the risk, then avoid paying the additional fee for advance seat selection.

10. Take advantage of travel reward programs. There is so much competition between airlines and credit cards today, so sign up for their travel reward programs. Talk to your bank and see what travel reward credit card works best for your needs. A lot of them allow you to collect points on your everyday spending so you can redeem them for free flights. Some of these credit cards do have stipulations, such as you can only book the flights through your bank, or there are black out dates for travel. However, due to the vast amount of travel reward credit cards being offered today, they are getting better and you can find one that does not contain any of these stipulations. That means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards do come with a slight annual membership fee, but the rewards alone are worth it.

The same goes for airline frequent flyer programs. The more you fly with one airline, the more frequent flyer points you will collect. This works great for business travelers because while their company pays for their trips, they are be able to collect frequent flyer points so they can redeem for their personal holiday travels. Some companies even allow employees to book their own flights, then submit the receipts for reimbursement. This allows the employee to get points on their travel reward credit card in addition to frequent flyer points.

I hope these tips will help you when booking your next vacation or trip. Please note that these tips have worked in my own experience, but may not work for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that the key to getting the best deal on your flights is to have patience and be flexible with your travel dates.