The more you know before you go on your summer vacation, the better the odds that you’ll enjoy the trip. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When you make a reservation for a hotel or rental car, write down the way your name appears in the records. This is especially important if you use two last names. Mary Smith Jones, for example, may use Smith as her middle name and expect her reservation to be made under the name Jones. However, the reservation agent may incorrectly list the name as Smith-Jones-and file the reservation under Smith.
- Make sure your name on your airline ticket is the same as it appears on your government issued identification, even if your state issued license shows a first name you never use.
- Flights departing early in the day are less likely to be delayed than later flights. If you book the last flight of the day, you could get stuck in the airport overnight
- If you have to take a connecting flight, look for flights at the less-congested connecting airport. It will minimize your odds of missing the connecting flight because of air traffic delays.
- Check in early. Airlines rescind specific advance seat assignments 30 minutes before scheduled departure, even if you have your boarding pass. You can lose your reservation unless you check in at least 10 minutes before scheduled departure time on a domestic flight (longer on international flights).
- Although a confirmation number is usually all you need when you go to the front desk of a hotel or car rental counter, you may need more information to resolve a rate discrepancy. So carry a copy of your full reservation information, including rate information. Print out the information if you book online, or ask the company to fax it or mail it to you if you make reservations by phone.
- Ask in advance how each hotel, resort and attraction defines terms like child and senior citizen. Children may qualify for discounts, but the age for eligibility can range from eight to 18. The same is true for senior citizens: some places offer discounts to travelers as young as 55, while others only offer them for those at least age 70.