Rising gas prices, air fares, hotel rates… bills, bills, bills… But none of these are keeping travelers off the roads to get their much deserved vacation. According to the triple-A, around 35 million Americans traveled during the Memorial Day weekend – A hundred thousand more than last year’s. The number only says that there’s no stopping the common American from hitting the road to take a break. But how does one cope with all the spending to make sure that there’s enough left to go back to the normal life they left off? How does one prepare for traveling and avoiding hassles during and after their vacation?
Hotel rates are up between 5 and 10 percent.; Airfares, 14 percent; a gallon of gas? More than a $1 higher than last year. So what’s an American to do? Here are a few tips:
1. Awareness of Peak Travel Day Fees – Peak travel day fees are applied when there is a higher demand. These hidden travel fees increase the price of your flight, especially during the months of June, July, and August. During these months, every day is almost considered as a “peak” day. And the only way to avoid it? – postpone your vacation until the end of the summer, which is quite a hassle since you don’t want to ruin your kids’ summer vacation.
2. Bargains — There are lots of cheap travel packages going to the Caribbean, Cancun and Las Vegas during the summer months.
3. Travel Tips from CBP – They say that people who read fast get ahead. This might be true, except for some information that you really need to remember and digest like the tips from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Here are some CBP tips that you should remember before you go:
a. Have all the required travel documents for the countries you’re visiting. To add, identification for re-entry to the U.S. Passports are also required for re-entry.
b. Declare everything you are bringing in from abroad. This includes items that are bought in a duty free shop as these items are also subject to U.S. duty fees and other restrictions.
c. Be cautious when buying something from a street vendor. Some merchandise can be classified as counterfeit or unsafe and you may have to surrender it to the CBP when you get home.
d. Know that things bought abroad for personal use or as gifts are eligible for duty exemptions. But if you’re going to resell them, they are not eligible.
e. Have a quick look at the list of prohibited merchandise (such as ivory, tortoise shell, absinthe, and counterfeit items) and restricted merchandise.
f. Be aware that many foreign-made meds are not FDA-approved. You cannot bring these meds into the U.S. Also remember that, when traveling abroad, bring only the amount of medication that you’re going to use during your trip.
g. Cuban-made products are a big no-no.
h. Don’t bring any food into the U.S. without checking to see if it’s permitted. To add, exotic pets like live birds, whether it’s for your personal use or for commercial use, may be restricted and/or quarantined.
i. You also have to remember that CBP officers can inspect you and your belongings without a warrant. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and personal searches. This is meant to enforce U.S. laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.
4. Maintain Your Tires – Most people would opt to go on a road trip instead of flying, so a good advice to take is to check if your tires are properly inflated. Estimates show that U.S. motorists could save up to 700 million gallons of gas each year just by maintaining their tires properly. To add, tuning-up and putting the correct motor oil in your car can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4 percent.
5. Find a Cheap Vacation Rental — Looking for a cheap vacation rental near your intended destination can save you money, especially if you’re going out with a large group. Instead of booking a hotel during peak season, try to look for a vacation rental that has all the amenities that you need.