Travel smarter, easier with these tips

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Spring Break is around the corner and eager travelers are already plotting their summer vacations.  Whether you hit the road or take to the skies, a few simple tricks that may help you get where you're going with a smile on your face.

Booking a flight on-line is the every man's option these days.  When you do it, Andrew Richdale, the senior editor from Afar Magazine, urges you to turn your browser to "private.”

“You can select a browsing privately mode on your browser and what that does is sometimes airlines will see a person looking for the same flight over and over and they will kick up the price a bit,” he said.  “If you browse privately, they can't see that you are doing that."

Or you can try this route.  Last year, the creators of the free app "Hopper" launched. They are number crunchers analyzing billions of flight searches around the world every day to tell you when it's the best time to buy your flight to get the best fare.

“Tell us where you're thinking about going, and leave the rest to us,” said Hopper’s Rick Surry. “Put your phone in your pocket, play with your kids, we'll watch the prices, and when we see that good price, we'll send you a notification so you can buy that ticket at the low point."

You can book through the app or go directly to the airlines yourself. Hopper fees are $5 for domestic flights, $7-8 for international.

Surry says, on average online shoppers looking for flights pay 5% more than they should.  It may not seem like much, but it can add up. With Hopper, he claims fliers save an average of 10% or better.

“A lot of what we do is tell you not to buy the ticket because it's a high price and if you wait a little bit, you're likely to see it get a little cheaper at some time before departure,” Surry says.

Once you're booked, then there are those dreadful lines at the airport. The staff of Afar reiterate the benefits of paying up for TSA precheck. It's not just for business flyers. An $85 fee covers you for 5 years. And some premium credit cards will actually pick up the bill if you pay for your pre-check with their card.

If you get stuck on a never ending layover, consider waiting at the airport in style at one of the airline's airport lounges. It's not just for the elite traveler anymore. Free drinks, wifi, snacks, even a shower if you need one, are all available before you take off.

If you like to keep things loose as you drive or fly to your next destination, try the "Hotel Tonight" app. It's free and allows you to enter the name of a city with deals running for that night. It rates them solid, basic, hip, charming - even lux and often shows you the price slashing offered to fill the rooms.

Travel experts say there is no silver bullet when it comes to upgrades on your flight.  If you fly a lot, it pays off. Staying loyal to one airline and using a credit card that compliments it, is still your best approach.

Travel experts will tell you, with the dawn of online airfares shopping, there is no best day to shop anymore nor a best time either.


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