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Personal Finance
9 money-saving travel tips to keep in mind when you’re planning a vacation
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9 money-saving travel tips to keep in mind when you’re planning a vacation

9 money-saving travel tips to keep in mind when you’re planning a vacation

9 money-saving travel tips to keep in mind when you’re planning a vacation

Seasoned bargain hunters know how to stretch a dollar and still enjoy the finer things in life. When it comes to travel season, we believe a key ingredient to a good time is not necessarily the amount of money you spend on your trip, but how much you save.

Ready to save some time and money? Here are some travel tricks and tips we’ve collected over the years.

10 travel tips & tricks to help save you money

1. When should you book that flight?

Conventional wisdom used to say that Wednesday or Thursday was the best day of the week to find affordable airfare. But a new study reveals a different answer.

The lowest average ticket price for both economy and premium airfares can generally be found on Sundays, according to the ARC 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report. There are also some other factors to consider.

2. Make the company keep its public promise

A lot of times, customers can get what they want by making a company stand by what it has written in black in white. As travel blogger Christopher Elliott points out, “Too often, customers forget that they can lean on the public promises, the “customer commitments” and the advertising slogans when they’re up against a rigorous legal contract. For example, did you know Delta Air Lines promises to offer you “the lowest fare available”?  That Avis pledges a “stress-free car rental experience” in its corporate mission statement? And that Carnival Cruises even assures it will do “everything it can to give our guests a lifetime of memories”?

3. How to avoid the airlines’ carry-on baggage fee

The major airlines are cracking down on passengers who try to flout their carry-on baggage fees. But before you start throwing out of your suitcase many of the must-have items you want to take on your trip, there may be a way to pack what you want and keep the flight affordable at the same time. The key is in a technique called “bundle wrapping,” which allows you to fold your clothes in the most efficient way possible.

4. Here’s one thing you should NEVER put on social media

Cybersecurity experts say untold numbers of travelers are going on social media and taking pictures of their boarding passes. If you search the hashtag #boardingpass on any social networking, you see people posting sensitive info on their boarding passes, including flight number, date and barcode.

The travel site Tripzilla says this about the faux pas: “More often than not, the information that is obtained by decoding your boarding pass barcode is enough for one to log on to your profile on the airline’s website and obtain your flight information. Beyond that, the stranger with a decoder can even cancel your flight, change your seats, get your home address and based on your frequent flyer number, even track your past and future flight records.”

5. Google is your (travel) friend

Whenever you’re searching online for cheap flights, always use certain words that could yield savings. Google terms like “discount” “coupon” and “code” when looking for a city to travel to — you might be be surprised what you’ll find.

6. What the pros use to find cheap flights

Sites like Google Flights, Orbitz and Kayak use the software created by a  Massachusetts company that has partnered with Google. It’s legacy site, matrix.itasoftware.com, is still up and running, though, complete with easy-to-use interface to find the cheapest fares out there.

7. Trick the airline site to get cheaper fares

If you prefer to buy plane tickets straight from the airline, it’s always good to access the site in incognito mode or delete cookies on your computer or device. Airlines have been known to generally bump up fares if you search for the same route on the same electronic device. Here’s how to delete cookies on your computer.

8. Only buy this type of travel insurance

Travel insurance is designed to protect the consumer in the event that a company, tour operator or airline defaults. But when it comes to weather, different companies vary widely on what they’ll cover.

“You really have to survey the marketplace to see if your particular weather circumstance will be covered,” money expert Clark Howard says. “A lot of the insurance policies offer false hope on that front. That’s why you have to read the policy before you buy it.”

Also, you want to always buy travel insurance that is independent of the company you’re traveling with. Oftentimes, the trip insurance sold by the trip organizer is skewed to protect them — not you.

9. Travel takes two (documents)

You may be pretty good about keeping your most sensitive documents with you when abroad, but Murphy’s Law is international. That means you’re better off if you have a duplicate of any documents you travel with. The U.S. State Department website says: “Make two copies of all of your travel documents in case of emergency, and leave one with a trusted friend or relative.”

To find the latest travel deals, visit our sister site ClarkDeals.com.

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News

  • Two Walmart clerks in Florida are accused of marking down video games to $1 and reselling them at a higher price, defrauding the store out of nearly $5,000, the Tampa Bay Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Seth Jackson Lulow, 19, of New Port Richey, and Dominic Haydin McGhee, 20, of Holiday, were arrested Friday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. The two men face charges of scheming to defraud, according to arrest records. Lulow also faces charges of dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership. Lulow was being held in lieu of an $87,500 bond, according to arrest records. McGhee was released after posting $5,000 bail. Lulow is accused of stealing $3,795.41 worth of video games on eight occasions between April 1 and April 23 at a Walmart in New Port Richey, WTSP reported. He was caught on surveillance video working with McGhee, who is accused of stealing $771.65 worth of video games, the television station reported. Both men were seen on surveillance cameras marking down games. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Lulow would change the prices of the games in a back room and later buy them at a self-checkout station, the Times reported.  Lulow allegedly told deputies that after buying the games, he would sell them to local game shops, the newspaper reported. On at least one occasion, McGhee allegedly met Lulow and other person and brought a box of marked down games to a checkout lane, where they sold the games to each other, according to the Times. McGhee also marked down 22 games and sold them to friends, the newspaper reported.
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith gave Morehouse scholars the ultimate graduation gift when he vowed to eliminate the student debt of the entire Class of 2019.  >> Read more trending news  The technology investor, who received an honorary doctorate from the HBCU, made the surprise announcement during the institution’s Sunday morning commencement. The gift has been estimated to be worth up to $40 million Related: Billionaire Robert F. Smith, Morehouse commencement speaker, to pay off class of 2019's student debt “On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” he said during his speech. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.” Want to learn more about the businessman? Here are five things you should know. 1. He began his career in technology as a teenager. Smith, who grew up in Denver, developed an interest in the tech field in high school. When he was a junior, he landed an internship at Bell Labs by calling the company every week for five months until he got a position, according to The Washington Post. During his summer and Christmas breaks, he worked on computers.  “I got hooked on technology,” he told the publication in a 2016 interview. “The excitement of figuring a complex problem out creates a eureka moment. It’s one of the best moments in life.” 2. Smith is an Ivy League graduate.  Smith earned his degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University, where he became a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He later snagged his master of business administration degree from Columbia Business School in 1994. 3. He has topped the Forbes list of the world’s black billionaires.  The investor, who now lives in Austin, is the nation’s richest black man, according to Forbes. He’s worth approximately $5 billion. The 56-year-old made his fortune through the private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, which he founded in 2000. According to the company’s website, Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of more than $46 billion and oversees a portfolio of more than 50 software companies Before launching Vista, he worked an investment banking job at Goldman Sachs for several years, where he worked on tech mergers and acquisitions for brands such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo.  >> On AJC.com: Morehouse to use $1.5 million earlier gift from Smith on scholarships and a new park 4. The philanthropist has made several major donations throughout his career.  Before the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened, he pledged a $20 million gift to the facility, according to the Smithsonian. The donation has allowed the attraction to become a hub to archive photographs from institutions like other museums, funeral homes and more.  In 2016, he, along with the Fund II Foundation, gifted Cornell University with $50 million for its chemical and biomolecular engineering school. And ahead of his graduation speech at Morehouse, he donated $1.5 million to the school for scholarships and a new park.  5. He’s a husband and father.  In 2015, he married Hope Dworaczyk. John Legend, Seal and Brian McKnight reportedly sang at their wedding. Dworaczyk is a model, TV host and reality television personality. The 34-year-old is the host and co-producer of “Inside Fashion,” a series on Canada’s E! network. She has also made appearances on “The Celebrity Apprentice” and Fox’s “The Choice.” >> On AJC.com: Robert Smith is one of the world’s 13 black billionaires The couple has two sons together. Hendrix Robert Smith was born in 2014 and Legend Robert Smith was born in 2016. Their names pay homage to two of Smith’s favorite musicians, The Washington Post said. He also reportedly has three other children from a previous marriage.
  • New cellphone video appears to show a Florida substitute teacher body slam a student while breaking up a fight between at least two students. >> Watch the news report here Witnesses told ActionNewsJax that this happened Monday at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville. ActionNewsJax spoke exclusively with Towyhia McAffee, who says her 15-year-old son was the one tackled. “You slammed my son,” she said. “You picked him up and slammed him.” She said her son is the teen shown wearing a cast in the video. “Do you intend to make any kind of complaint?” ActionNewsJax reporter Russell Colburn asked. “Absolutely,” she said. >> Read more trending news  Last week, after at least five recent allegations of teachers hitting students came into the ActionNewsJax newsroom, Colburn sat down with superintendent Dr. Diana Greene to discuss training. “Is there ever a situation where a teacher would want to put their hands on a student?” Colburn asked. “There should never be a situation where a teacher wants to put their hands on a student, unless they are preventing they are preventing that student from hurting themselves or hurting someone else,” Greene said. Duval County Public Schools policy does state the teacher 'must act reasonably given the circumstances when they intervene.' McAffee said that didn’t happen here. “Something needs to be done about that,” she said. “That’s not right.” ActionNewsJax followed up with DCPS on this specific case for more information on the teacher and what may have led up to the fight, but officials said that because fighting is a student disciplinary situation, they won’t provide details or comment further.
  • Former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton was taken into custody this morning by the FBI, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshal’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bret Williams, Barnes’ attorney, said federal authorities arrested her at her home this morning despite previous offers from Barnes to turn herself in.  “I just think that was unnecessary because this is somebody’s aunt,” Williams said. “That’s their prerogative, but they’re just making a show out of it.” Williams  said he expects his client to have an initial court appearance later today. No further details on Sutton’s arrest or the charges she faces are available at this time. She has been under investigation for years, and has been the subject of a series of subpoenas that both she and the county had received from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section. Reached on her cell phone last week, Sutton would not say if she had spoken to federal agents and refused to discuss why she may be the target of an investigation. Channel 2 Action News was the first to report on Sutton’s arrest. Her attorney, Bret Williams, told the station that his client has done nothing wrong and 'has always stood ready and willing to face any allegations against her regarding her unblemished time.” Sutton received a subpoenae earlier this year that demanded campaign and banking records going back to 2012. It's unclear if today's arrest is related to that.  In 2014, an AJC investigation found that Sutton paid her then-boyfriend $34,000 in public dollars, most of it for political advice during her first two years in office. That same year, the Ethics Board investigated complaints that Sutton had used her county purchasing card for personal expenses. While that investigation was pending, DeKalb voters in 2015 approved changes to the Ethics Code that allowed private groups to appoint members to the Ethics Board. Sutton filed a lawsuit saying those changes were unconstitutional, and the investigation of her actions was put on hold. Barnes left office in 2017 after losing a re-election bid. This report will be updated.
  • A father in Tuscumbia, Alabama, surprised his daughter’s entire second-grade class with a field trip to her favorite place. But Jeremy Smith’s little girl wasn’t among the kids jumping and laughing at the town’s local trampoline business, Sky Zone. Jaleia Smith died in September after the family was involved in a car crash, WHNT reported. Weeks before the crash, Jaleia and her friends celebrated her 8th birthday at the same Sky Zone. >> Read more trending news  So, to remember his daughter, and to thank the school and students for everything they have done for him this year since Jaleia’s death, Jeremy Smith treated all 111-second grade students at G.W. Trenholm Primary School to a surprise field trip to the trampoline business, WHNT reported. Her friends still miss the little girl. “[We] try to have as much fun as we can, but sometimes we can’t have as much fun as we would have if she was here,” Mia Awwad told WHNT.  Jaleia’s friends have tried to keep her memory alive too over the past school year. They retired her student number and planted a tree in her memory. They also left messages to Jaleia on the chalkboard in her classroom, according to WHNT.
  • Sisters Hailey and Hannah Hagor of North Carolina spent the weekend selling lemonade to pay off their classmates’ lunch debt. >> Watch the news report here >> Fired lunch lady was 'dishonest,' didn't follow rules, food vendor says Student lunch debt at Southwood Elementary in Davidson County is up to $3,100. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  “There's one family that owes $800,” the girls’ mother, Erin Hager, said. “I don't know how many years worth that is, but it's a big deal.' >> Read more trending news  The girls also sold chili, hot dogs and chips. >> See the girls' Facebook page here More than $40,000 is owed to schools across Davidson County.