Friday, February 27, 2009

Road Trip Cost Cutting Tips

Rental car rates can vary much even at locations in the same geographic area. You can save money by shopping around.

A recent example. I am planning a trip to visit Little Rock, Tuscaloosa, and parts between and around. It does not matter where I fly into. In fact, I redeemed a frequent flyer award (more below). Since I am using a frequent flyer award and visiting several areas, I have the flexibility to fly into any area airport. I researched flights and rental car rates at most locations between Tulsa, Memphis, Huntsville, Mobile, and Houston.

Checking around, rental car rates were relatively expensive from Little Rock, Memphis, Birmingham, and others; mostly in the $250 to $300 a week range. One location was much less expensive than the others. Drum roll.... It was Shreveport, about $150 with Hertz. So, I booked my frequent flyer flight to Shreveport which would have cost $536.

I considered driving instead of flying. It would have been about 2,000 miles just getting there and back, plus another 1,000 miles in the area. I used Cost2Drive to calculate fuel usage and carbon output. That certainly helped me decide to fly, although I put the true cost of driving my own vehicle at about 50 cents per mile including wear and tear, etc. I also realized that about three days would have been burned driving there and back, leaving me less time to research and explore.

© 2009, Charles McCool

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Travel Reference Books Teach Travel Skills

Previously I talked about destination guidebooks. When you are planning a trip, it is worth reading a few different guidebooks to learn about the area, what to do, how long to spend there, and more.

The other genre of travel books, I call travel reference books. Travel reference books are extremely helpful because they can teach you travel skills; to help you save money, time, and stress, no matter your intended destination. Travel reference books can be about air travel (like my book), cruises, budget travel, luxury travel, solo travel, packing, and so on. You name it, there is probably a book for it. An example, I recently received a book called 101 Best Outdoor Towns. There are books on staying at colleges, monasteries, and aboard boats.

Perhaps my all-time favorite travel reference book, the one I would be proud to have written, is Traveler's Tool Kit by Rob Sangster. Although it is a guidebook, I am very impressed with Rick Steve's Europe Through the Back Door. It is a guidebook, in that it covers the destination of Europe. Half the book, however, is a wonderful reference guide with solid tips for having a great trip (packing, shopping, touring, etc., tips galore).

On my website,, I occasionally review travel books. Please check there for my two cents before shopping. Do you have a favorite travel reference book? Let me know by submitting a Comment. Thank you.

© 2009, Charles McCool

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Twitter Me for Travel Deals

OK, I mentioned that my next post would be about travel reference books. I will get back to that soon. This post is a recap of this blog's purpose and some quick announcements.

This blog's purpose is to teach readers skills to save money, time, and stress on all aspects of travel. By following this blog and incorporating the skills into your travel planning process, you will become better at planning travel and finding deals. I appreciate hearing from readers. Instead of sending e-mail to me, please post comments so that everyone can learn from your suggestions and experiences. I approve comments and only post those that are appropriate and useful. I have not approved some that are spam or ads. Thank you.

I do post individual travel deals on Twitter. Click here to follow me on Twitter and read my travel deal (and other) twits. Check out the people I am following; many post their own travel deals.

© 2009, Charles McCool