105 Supersmart Strategies

Here's our comprehensive look at the best ways to travel: how to find a deal, avoid lines, pack, fly, tip, and more.

Third-party bookers often get second-class treatment
Wrong as it is, hotels are nicer to guests who seek them out than to those who come via a third-party booking engine. Whenever possible, book directly. If you see a low rate elsewhere, ask the hotel to match it. Hotels will almost always undercut any middleman--which isn't all that difficult, when you consider that booking engines tack on fees

In case of emergency
Old rule: Bring a photocopy of your passport with you. New rule: Scan your passport and e-mail it (and your itinerary) to yourself and to someone you trust back home.

So much for Tuesday after midnight
For years, many "travel experts" have theorized that some or other weeknight was when airlines released fantastic deals, but that's hogwash.

"Garden-view" equals parking lot
Words can lose their meaning (if they ever had much of one in the first place), and you can't assume your definition is the same as someone else's. A few words and phrases you should cast a gimlet eye on: boutique (when describing hotels), centrally located, charming, chic, garden-view, low-fare (for airlines), luxury, quaint, recently renovated, romantic, stylish, suite, villa, walking distance. Plus: Hotel rating systems aren't worth a whole lot. What makes a hotel four-star versus three-star can be something as silly as a phone in the bathroom.

The proof is in the picture
If a hotel or condo doesn't post photos on its site, ask for images to be e-mailed. But don't assume photos are entirely trustworthy. Images shot with fish-eye lenses make rooms seem bigger than they are; or the hotel may send a photo of a room that's better than the one you reserved.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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