Travel expert shares booking tip to get a row of seats to yourself on a plane


Chelsea Dickenson, who shares travel advice on Cheapholidayexpert.com, has devised two strategies to increase your chances of bagging a row of seats to yourself on a flight

An empty row of plane seats
An empty row of seats on a plane is what we all dream of

It’s always a pain to feel squashed in your seat on a plane – especially if it’s a long haul flight.

But a travel expert has now shared her two best tips to increase your chances of avoiding an uncomfortable situation by bagging an entire row of seats to yourself.

Chelsea Dickenson, who shares brilliant travel advice on Cheapholidayexpert.com, says the first hack is for people travelling as a pair to avoid the temptation of simply booking your seats beside one another.

Instead, find an empty row and book the window and aisle seat, as Chelsea says “solo travellers are much less likely to select a seat in between two strangers” and increases your chances of getting extra room.








Chelsea tried the hacks recently on a flight to Corfu
(

Image:

https://www.instagram.com/cheapholidayexp/)










It worked and no stranger came to sit on her row
(

Image:

https://www.instagram.com/cheapholidayexp/)



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This does, of course, rely on the plane not being fully booked, but even in the worst-case scenario that someone does come to claim the seat between you, chances are they will be more than happy to exchange the middle seat for an aisle or window and you can sit next to each other as originally planned.

Chelsea and her partner recently tried the method on a flight from London to Corfu, and uploaded a video on Instagram to show it worked perfectly as they bagged a row to themselves.

She says you can adapt the hack if you’re travelling alone by booking out the middle seat and hoping other passengers avoid those either side of you, warning that although it is a very high risk strategy, “you’ve gotta be in it to win it”.




The second tip involves playing on the superstitions of the people you’re sharing a flight with, by booking into row 13 in the hope that others who view the number as unlucky will avoid it.

Chelsea revealed on her website that some airlines don’t even have a row 13 for this reason, and added one last piece of advice, writing: “People tend to want to book closer to the front of the plane so choosing towards the back may increase your chances further – but it’s all about how the specific airline allocates their seats (they’re all different I’m afraid!).”

On her flight to Corfu, Chelsea combined both methods by booking the window and aisle seats on row 13 and found no stranger came to share their row.

Do you have any travel hacks of your own? Let us know in the comments.





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Travel Expert Shares Booking Tip To Get A Row Of Seats To Yourself On A Plane


It’s always a pain to feel squashed in your seat on a plane – especially if it’s a long haul flight.

But a travel expert has now shared her two best tips to increase your chances of avoiding an uncomfortable situation by bagging an entire row of seats to yourself.

Chelsea Dickenson, who shares brilliant travel advice on Cheapholidayexpert.com, says the first hack is for people travelling as a pair to avoid the temptation of simply booking your seats beside one another.

Instead, find an empty row and book the window and aisle seat, as Chelsea says “solo travellers are much less likely to select a seat in between two strangers” and increases your chances of getting extra room.



Chelsea tried the hacks recently on a flight to Corfu
(

Image:

https://www.instagram.com/cheapholidayexp/)


It worked and no stranger came to sit on her row
(

Image:

https://www.instagram.com/cheapholidayexp/)


Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here.

This does, of course, rely on the plane not being fully booked, but even in the worst-case scenario that someone does come to claim the seat between you, chances are they will be more than happy to exchange the middle seat for an aisle or window and you can sit next to each other as originally planned.

Chelsea and her partner recently tried the method on a flight from London to Corfu, and uploaded a video on Instagram to show it worked perfectly as they bagged a row to themselves.

She says you can adapt the hack if you’re travelling alone by booking out the middle seat and hoping other passengers avoid those either side of you, warning that although it is a very high risk strategy, “you’ve gotta be in it to win it”.

The second tip involves playing on the superstitions of the people you’re sharing a flight with, by booking into row 13 in the hope that others who view the number as unlucky will avoid it.

Chelsea revealed on her website that some airlines don’t even have a row 13 for this reason, and added one last piece of advice, writing: “People tend to want to book closer to the front of the plane so choosing towards the back may increase your chances further – but it’s all about how the specific airline allocates their seats (they’re all different I’m afraid!).”

On her flight to Corfu, Chelsea combined both methods by booking the window and aisle seats on row 13 and found no stranger came to share their row.

Do you have any travel hacks of your own? Let us know in the comments.





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Psaki mocks ‘renowned travel expert’ Ted Cruz for blaming Southwest woes on pending vaccine mandate


WASHINGTON — The White House mocked Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday over his claim that a federal vaccine mandate that hasn’t taken effect yet caused thousands of Southwest Airlines flight cancellations this weekend.

“I know world renowned business travel and health expert Senator Ted Cruz has made that point,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, alluding to his widely ridiculed trip to Cancun as millions of Texans remained in cold homes without electricity after a winter storm.

Dallas-based Southwest has blamed bad weather on Friday for a cascade of operational problems that prompted it to cancel more than 2,000 flights. Other airlines had no such problems.

On Sunday night, Cruz pointed at the order Biden issued on Sept. 9 requiring COVID-19 vaccines at employers with more than 100 workers, and federal contractors.

“Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate a work!” he tweeted. “Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers.”

The only trouble is that Biden’s order can’t take effect until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration drafts, publishes, accepts comments on and then finalizes regulations.

The first step may take OSHA another few weeks.

Cruz aides did not respond to a request to explain the senator’s reasoning, or respond to Psaki.

Southwest said Tuesday the disruptions over the weekend were “primarily created by weather,” reiterating the explanation it had offered for days.

Both the airline and the pilots’ union have shot down rumors that the problems were related in any way to COVID-19 policies or mandates.

Conservatives have resisted vaccine mandates.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday issued his own order barring Texas employers from carrying out any such mandate – an effort to overrule the federal government that the White House insists will have no legal force.

“Federal law overrides state law,” Psaki said.

Southwest agrees, saying it intends to comply with Biden’s order even if that means violating Abbott’s.

“We’re reviewing all guidance issued on the vaccine and are aware of the recent Order by Gov. Abbott. According to the President’s Executive Order, federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the President’s Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor,” the company said.



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It’s Almost Too Late To Book Holiday Travel. Here’s Where One Expert Recommends Going


You’re vaccinated, Delta’s on the downswing, and you’re finally contemplating that holiday trip with friends. You launch Kayak and search five-star hotels in Cabo San Lucas only to turn up wildly priced leftovers. Oops.

According to travel expert Cynika Drake, many key destinations for American travelers booked up weeks and even months ago. Drake, president of Lavish Lifestyles Concierge, a global travel and event planning company based in NYC, suggests booking your hotel or villa for the “festive season,” the period covering Christmas and New Year’s Eve, immediately.

Offering an example, Drake recently helped a client search for a villa in Turks & Caicos. “It’s 99% booked” she says. “I even checked with 4-star and 5-star hotels. There was one 3-star hotel left and that would not work for my clients” she said. Ultimately, Drake found two villas due to last minute cancellations since Turks & Caicos changed its entry-requirements to allow only fully vaccinated visitors.

“Those went fast. Turks & Caicos is currently one of the hottest markets and there are only so many villas and hotels on the island” she said.

The holiday period has long been notoriously difficult and expensive to book, even when planning a year in advance. Some consumers assumed, wrongly, that the pandemic would have dampened travel, but it’s having the opposite effect.

“This year, we’ve seen festive season travel practically double compared to last year. People are eager to travel after been stuck inside and many people rescheduled their vacations for this winter. So, you have people that don’t typically travel choosing to travel this holiday season combined with those rolling over their vacations to this winter. Now, time is of the essence, especially in popular markets such as the Caribbean and Mexico.”

Drake recommends four places, ranked by price, for those without plans to consider.

  1. St. Barths 
  2. Antigua 
  3. Sint Maarten 
  4. Mexico 

Saint Barthélemy or St. Barts, has a certain je ne sais quoi, says Drake, which is why it remains one of her favorite vacation destinations. She highlights the islands abundant beaches, including remote Saline beach which allows for social distancing. “Often, you’ll be the only person there” she says. For clients who love to explore, she recommends renting a car to drive around the 11-mile island and stop at beachfront restaurants. “You can literally drive the entire island in 30 mins” she says.

St. Barths is a popular winter destination, but Drake believes the slew of last-minute cancellations she’s witnessed, will allow the persistent traveler to nab a villa or hotel room. Keeping track of cancellations is a service professional travel agents like Drake will handle.

Drake’s tip: “be prepared to put down 50%, which in many cases will be $30k or more for St. Bart’s during festive season. During this timeframe, villa rentals typically have a 14-night minimum though some allow 10 nights.”

Antigua is next on Drake’s list, notably because of its selection of boutique all-inclusive 5-star hotels. She recommends this Leeward island with remnants of its British colonial past, to clients who are looking for a luxurious experience and want to be around other people, not just their travel partner or family. Antigua boasts some of the nicest beachfront villas she’s toured; plus, visitors can spend a day visiting nearby Barbuda.

Drake’s tip: You need a car or daily driver on Antigua, unless you stay on the property for the duration of your trip. Book a rental car the minute you book your lodging.”

St Maarten offers more budget-friendly villas and hotels. Depending on where you stay, walking to various places is possible, especially on Dawn Beach. Drake appreciates that island has both a Dutch side (Sint Maarten, in the south) and a French side (Saint Martin, in the north) to explore. That means French wines, cheeses, and foie gras can be found when exploring the beaches, towns and coastline of the north.

Drake’s tip: “the water is calmer on the Dutch side, whereas the French side is great for kite surfers. 

Mexico is one of Drake’s favorite destinations because Mexico lends itself to many different vibes, from all-inclusive luxury to bohemian chic. Drake’s favorite places in Mexico include Playa Del Carmen & Puerto Aventuras for beachfront villas. Tulum for bohemian chic resorts. Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta for those on the west coast seeking high-end accommodations and a short flight. For those appreciative of beautiful Spanish architecture and an arts scene, San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City are top choices.

Drake’s tip: “Your best bet for accommodations over the holidays is Mexico. It’s a larger market than the Caribbean and has far more hotels and villas.”

Given the challenges of booking during the festive season, one should consider managing their trip through a travel agent or adviser. For example, when last minute cancellations occur, the management company contacts to those on the waitlist, and it can become a bidding war. In other words, whomever can wire the money the fastest gets to book the villa. An adviser will stay on such situations for their clients.

As Drake explains, agents have relationships with villas and hotels, and as a result, receive insider information as to what’s available or what will be coming on the market from villas to hotel suites.

An agent also stays abreast of the evolving travel requirements during the pandemic.

Additionally, as Drake puts it, “who wants to spend hours researching hotels and villas? Negotiating rates and thinking of itineraries? We do! As travel advisors, we live for that!”

“Save yourself time, money and the headache of traveling planning and let a professional do the job for you. Let figuring out what to pack, be your hardest challenge of the day” she says.

Contact Drake through her website Lavishlifestylesla.com; follow her journeys on Instagram at Lavishlifestyleconcierge.





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How to Score the Best Luxury Hotel Deals: 5 Expert Tips


TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS a night for a hotel room with one king-size bed in Nantucket. More than $4,000 a night for a “Desert View Suite” in Utah. Travelers itching to get back on the road are getting an unwelcome surprise: hotel sticker shock. According to a recent survey from travel booking app Hopper, lodging prices in the U.S. are up 42% from earlier this year, and are likely to rise even more by the winter holidays. “We’ve seen crazy high levels at some leisure destinations,” said Hopper economist Adit Damodaran. Why the spike? “Demand for hotels just skyrocketed overnight” around Memorial Day, explained Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice lead at research firm J.D. Power. Plus, many guests chose to stay stateside this year instead of going abroad. The good news: You can still ferret out bargains or wrangle a discount. We asked a few travel industry insiders for their best booking tips:

Time it right

Hopper advises booking at least 30 days in advance for a hotel in a resort area. But for city center hotels, try the opposite tack: Book less than two weeks from arrival to get last-minute deals when inventory opens up. And look for midweek specials.



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Book holiday flights now to land the best deals, travel expert says


SAN ANTONIO – If your holiday plans include a plane ride to grandma’s, sunny beaches, or ski slopes, now is the time to snag the best deals on on airfare, travel industry experts say.

Amy Rozarto is dreaming about a warm Christmas – in Florida.

“If airfare gets cheaper and if I can get time off work – just to step away for a while, great,” she said.

She could be in luck if she gets a move on.

“Airlines have a lot of empty seats and are doing everything they can to fill them,” said Willis Orlando with ScottsCheapFlights.com.

We’re in what he calls the “Goldilocks” hour for looking and booking. It’s not too early and not too late.

With concerns about the Delta variant and lack of business travel, demand for fall flights has lagged expectations. As a result, many airfares are on a September descent.

If you’re looking for an October getaway, Orlando said he found roundtrip air travel from San Antonio to Miami for $162. Roundtrip to Denver next month can be found for as low as $118.

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But what about the holidays?

“If you’re looking to travel domestically for the holidays, now is the time to book,” Orlando said.

Some of the best deals, though, are to Europe. He found an end-of-year trip to Italy for $296 roundtrip.

“Because demand hasn’t come back yet, we have blanket cheap prices across the board,” he said. “Next year they will be a thousand bucks.”

With COVID-19 concerns still a major issue, flexibility is key. Most airlines are being customer-friendly when it comes to making changes. But, travelers should check their airline’s policy before booking just in case there is a change in travel plans.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.



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Several holiday destinations in danger of going on red list this week, expert says | Travel latest | Travel News


Which countries are in danger of being added to the red list this week?

We have been working with COVID data expert Tim White to try and get an idea of which countries are vulnerable to being added to the red list this week.

Of course, these things are unpredictable – and the reasons for government decisions have not often been made clear. 

But looking at the data, White feels the focus this time could be on the Caribbean and Balkans.

Jamaica stayed amber in the previous review, but the Foreign Office appeared as shocked as I was and within hours changed its advice to travellers, effectively placing it on its own red list,” he told Sky News.

“I doubted [Transport Secretary] Grant Shapps would downgrade Jamaica this time as he would effectively be admitting a mistake three weeks ago. However, in the last few days the NHS Test & Trace data, tracking people’s Day 2 results after arriving from overseas, has shown a big spike in the numbers arriving from Jamaica infected with COVID-19. This means it is at risk after all.

“I thought St Lucia would just survive last time despite high rates in August, and so it proved. Rates increased since then, but are going down again now. I think this, allied with the low numbers of people returning to the UK carrying the virus, should help it stay off red again, but St Lucia is still at risk.

“No country has ever gone from green to red in one go. But that may happen this time on the small Caribbean island of Grenada. There’s been an astonishing spread there, with seven-day rates now around 1,000/100,000, well into the danger zone.”

White thinks a few other small islands in the Americas could be added to the red list, but the only concerns in Europe this time are again in the Balkans.

Albania had one of the highest rates of infected arrivals in the most recent NHS results. But rates there seem low enough to keep it amber. Serbia has the strongest sustained COVID-19 growth in Europe right now, but levels are still below Montenegro when I warned it may go red three weeks ago. Serbia’s vaccination rate is also better, so I think it avoids red too.

Kosovo should already be red, but its fate could be linked with Serbia and seems set to survive again.”

Further afield, Iran and Iraq may yet again stay amber – though White believes the fact they’ve remained so is a “mystery”.

In Africa, the data suggests Nigeria could be vulnerable, White says.

Follow Tim on Twitter at @TWMCLtd 



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Top tips for drivers to make the most of their road trip this bank holiday – expert advice


The RAC suggests around 2.6 million trips will be taken on Sunday, followed by three million trips on Monday. In addition, drivers are planning a further 3.6 million journey’s at some point over the course of the four days.

Most holidaying Brits will be staying local this summer, as travel restrictions remain in place abroad, so roads are likely to be busier than ever.

By planning the route ahead of time and avoiding key motorways, drivers could save some significant time.

While alternative routes may seem longer at first, the roads could be quieter and prevent motorists from sitting in traffic on a sweltering summer day.

A small spray bottle of water is a lifesaver in a hot car and will cool down hot surfaces like seat belts and interior handles.

Generally, when driving on slower roads, rolling down car windows is the preferable choice as there is very little impact on a car’s aerodynamics.

When driving on fast roads or motorways, windows should be swapped out for air conditioning, to ensure that the impact of the air will not increase fuel consumption.

In the event of an emergency, a first aid kit should be on hand including a change of clothes, an umbrella for shade and water.

This can be aided by trying to park in the shade at all times, as it will stop cars from reaching insufferable temperatures, as well as protect its paint work, which can be damaged by relentless heat and light.

As with any long trip, tyres need to be checked, especially when travelling with more weight and during the summer.

Make sure there’s no visible damage and check tyre pressure and tread levels before any long journeys.

The last tip is very scientific and will help cool the car massively in the heat.

Before getting in the car, roll down the driver’s window and open the passenger door.

Repeatedly open and close the door five or six times; heat rises, so when using the door as a fan, the stuffy hot air will leave the car via the driver’s window, replacing it with cooler air from outside on the passenger’s side.





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One Expert Tip Can Save You Big Money When Shopping for Airline Tickets


Hispanolistic / iStock.com

Hispanolistic / iStock.com

Scott’s Cheap Flights founder Scott Keyes has the ultimate tip for saving on airfare — and its not the usual “book ahead” or “search on specific days” mantra that you’re used to hearing.

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Keyes recommends always comparing fares for the full group of your travel party to the price of just one or two seats on the same flight, reports CNBC. He claims that, typically, airlines sell their tickets in buckets, meaning that a flight could have 10 tickets available at $99, 15 available at $150, or 20 available at $200 — all for the same flight. When a cheap “bucket” sells out, customers are then shown the more expensive seats.

For a single traveler, this might not make a huge difference, but for a party of four, it could be a deal breaker regarding whether or not to take the trip at all. For a four-person trip, the airline’s ticketing system will show the tickets in the bucket that can still accommodate four seats. One way around this is to search for single or double tickets — regardless of how many people are in your travel party. It is possible that there are still cheaper tickets available on your flight, but perhaps not for the bundle you are searching for.

Related: Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing: 10 Ways To Save on Travel in 2021

Using this method, you could theoretically purchase one or two tickets that are still available in the cheaper bucket, thereby closing out that price section’s availability, and then purchase the rest of your tickets at the higher price.

An important thing to remember when using this strategy, Keyes said, is to call the airline after you make your reservation and ensure that you and the rest of your party are all on the same itinerary. This way, if flights change or get cancelled, everyone is handled together and, in the worst case scenario, not all booked on separate flights.

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Other strategies for cheaper airline bookings are avoiding the weekends and searching from different devices. The more you search a particular flight on your phone, the less likely you will be to catch a “hook you in” deal. Airlines are known to jack up prices if you keep searching for the same particular travel. One way to circumvent this is to search from different devices or a friend’s/spouse’s device to ensure you get the best deal.

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Last updated: August 23, 2021

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: One Expert Tip Can Save You Big Money When Shopping for Airline Tickets



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