Author: support

passportRemember back in 2007 when the US changed the rules for traveling to Canada, Mexico and on cruises? Everyone rushed to get passports and the backlog nearly broke the system. It took two and three times as long to get your passport back then. Well, guess what, in 2017 all those passports expire. They are expecting over 20 million passport requests in 2017 and 2018 and by the end of 2016, they anticipate 17 million requests. Thank goodness they have put into place much better systems to handle the increase but if you are needing to renew, sooner is better than later.

In addition, there will be changes to the passport itself with increased security and advanced technical features. These changes are anticipated to be put into place in 2017 and will come with an increased cost to all US passport. All of this is to be announced late summer of 2016. Renewing now locks you into the lower price for the next 10 years. You will have to decide, however, what you would give up in future options and security.

One last thing to keep in mind. Getting or renewing passports for children under 16 has much more stringent rules. You will need additional paperwork and documentation including the child’s social security card. Minor passports are only good for 5 years and they can catch you off guard when you are planning a trip. Always look at all your passports when you are just thinking about a trip. Make sure they don’t expire 6 months before your planned return (General rule of thumb) and that they have enough empty pages, (Some countries require at least 6 empty pages).

deltaplaneI’m looking into a possible trip to Australia, then to China and flying home from Dubai.

Don’t use the Multi-City option when booking through the airlines website. Multi-City price to Melbourne and home from Dubai is $7671.00 on new “scheme” from the airlines is to only show you non-refundable fares when using the Multi-City search option. When I searched one way for each leg the price dropped to a reasonable $2133.29. This is a new “trick” the airlines are pulling. The non-airline sites like Kayak aren’t doing this and the Delta price on Kayak is only $2016.00. Do your homework on all possible options to your destination.

12311052_916437405071121_8571743510268505290_nWe talk a lot about and promote the use of low cost airlines. When is a “low cost” airfare not a good deal and what should you expect when traveling on a low cost airline?

On my trip last week to Australia I choose to fly on a low cost airline, mostly because of the time I wanted to fly more than the price of the flight. However, when you are looking strictly for price, are low cost airlines really the best deal? Lets look at some pricing. A one way fare from Sydney Australia to Melbourne on Virgin Australia on average will cost $85. The same flight on a low cost airline like Tiger Air will cost $43, a savings of $42 or about 1/2 the cost.

For the $42 savings you will need to travel light because you have a carryon limit of 7Kg or 15.5Lbs. If you want to carry on more you will need to pay an additional $18 if you prepay or $17 if you want to check a bag up to 20Kg or 44Lbs, so now your $42 saving almost got cut in half now saving only $24. If you are going to both check a bag and have more than 7Kg of carryon then your net savings will only be $7. For this you will have to pay for any snacks, drinks, your legroom is cut and your seat does recline but only a smidgen.

Because I was packing light and could carryon I still had a decent savings, but it is always the unexpected that gets you. Mind you, this could happen on any flight but it seems to happen to me more on low cost airlines vs a more traditional flight. As we began to taxi away from the terminal to take off a few drops of what looked like water dripped on my jeans from the luggage bin above. As we turned towards the runway the drip turned into a constant stream and it wasn’t water, it was clear oil. As we took off down the runway, the force of the take off directed the now pouring oil to the seats behind me. It was quite the interesting dilemma and when we could we opened up the luggage bin to find out it was someones massage oil. When you through policy, encourage people to carry on items they would normally check, these are sometimes the results.

In the end, all was well. I reached my destination and had something to write about. In the long run was it worth the savings? Probably not in this case, but it was a short flight and the time of the flight was the most important to me. It is good to check all the cost of flying and all the extras can really add up. However, if you are a light packer, can live with a smaller space and a few other inconveniences, low cost airlines are a way to save you money.