How to Fly Successfully on Budget Airlines

How to Successfully Fly on Budget Airlines

Taking a budget airline flight can be very cost effective, but only if you can successfully avoid all the hidden fees and traps.  Navigating the regulations of budget airlines, such as Ryanair, Wizzair, and EasyJet, is similar to trying to understand the rules of the Federal Tax Code.  Here are a few tips to help you travel with ease and maximize the little space you have.

1)      Location, Location, Location.  Budget airlines can offer the crazy low prices they do for multiple reasons; one of these is by offering flights out of tiny airports that don’t get the traffic of the mainstream ones.  One example of this is The Paris/Beauvais airport which Ryanair regularly flies out of.  This airport is not really located in Paris, but in the neighboring city of Beauvais over an hour’s drive away from the heart of the city. Airports outside main cities require special travel arrangements and take more time.  In the Paris example, you should arrive at a bus stop to the airport over 3 hours before your flight at a cost of 15 Euro.  Don’t rule out these tiny airports right away, but remember to factor in the added cost of getting to them and the extra travel time to make sure the plane ticket is still a steal.

Map of the Paris/Beauvais airport in relation to Paris

2)      Always pre-print your boarding pass.  Some budget airlines may charge up to 60 Euro to print your boarding pass at the airport if you do not print it before hand.  Even worse, the ticket may not be available to print more than 24 hours before your flight and 4 hours or less before the flight.   Be sure to check the time restrictions to print off your ticket and research a place to print the ticket within that timeframe to avoid paying an extremely hefty fee.

3)      Choose your suitcase wisely. Budget airlines love to pick out travelers with baggage that is outside of the specified size to make them pay for breaking the luggage guidelines. Pack in a backpack or some form of bag that you carry on your person instead of a rolling bag.  Every time I witnessed someone get stopped by the “baggage police” (which happens very often), it was someone using a rolling suitcase.  They love to make everyone with a wheeling carry on try to fit it in the little metal cage that is the measurements of the restrictions.  Can’t get it in? Pay a large fee.  Our backpacks were usually larger than these rolling bags, but never got questioned.

Carrying a wheely bag is like carrying a giant target, just avoid it.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Being an Annoying Tourist Abroad

Ever had something negative to say about a group of tourists in your hometown? Chances are the answer is yes.  Just because you’re in a foreign environment doesn’t mean everyone has to know it.  Here are some tips to help you avoid being that “pesky tourist”.

  • 5. Stop traveling in giant cliques – We get it, you’re just getting off a sardine-packed tour bus or your entire group of study abroad students wanted to see Geneva together, or maybe your 15 other sorority sisters all want to look “hot” together on the way to the discotheque. Just because you all want to be together doesn’t mean you have to travel in packs of 20. Split up and tackle a city in smaller groups. I can tell you from experience  if you’re traveling in a large group, there’s going to be some decision-making issues anyway.
  • 4. Make an effort to know a few words –  How do you feel when someone asks you for directions in Spanish? Most people I know lament about how this is ‘Murica’, and therefore people should learn English or leave. Just because it’s a popular global language doesn’t mean everyone abroad speaks it. In the tourist sector, knowing 10 simple phrases will win you enormous bonus points with the locals and some might even reveal a secret; they knew English all along (so watch what you say)!
  • 3. You miss home, get over it –  Asking for ice at every restaurant in Europe, whining about the lack of Dr. Pepper, bee lining it to the nearest McDonalds for free Wi-Fi so you can post your 12th consecutive photo of the Eiffel Tower on Facebook (this is a great way to slim down your friends list, by the way) – all these hardships are not permanent. You will be back home soon, stop complaining about it to every living soul, foreign or otherwise, because guess what? Nothing you say is going change things.
  • 2. Pack the attire of a squire – Needless to say, you don’t have to wear a tuxedo and ball gown to hike the Great Wall of China, but that doesn’t mean wear your sweats and college football snuggie. There is a happy medium.  Generally speaking, people in other countries take more pride in their appearance than the average Wal-Mart shopper.  They also don’t want to see your, “I Heart NY” shirt, flip flops, “norts” (aka Nike shorts), fishing shirts or whatever. Could you identify a lederhosen-ladden group of men leaving a German beer house? Because if you’re wearing anything I mentioned above, they can probably identify you too.
  • 1. Stop YELLING –  Americans are loud. We get it, we’ve been there too. The volume in which Americans speak is much higher than other countries, so tone it down or risk being the loud obnoxious cliche tourist. The most common and deadly of the traveling sins, many have a hard time grasping the concept of intercultural communication, thinking their message isn’t getting across because either a) Their hearing is bad or, b)They must not be speaking loudly enough and/or enunciating.  Sadly, it is neither of these. They truthfully just don’t have a damn clue how to speak English.
Travel smart my friends.

Top 5 North American Fall Trips

5 Fall Trips in North America

Looking for a great trip to take this fall? Here are some suggestions.  There is a little something for everyone whether you want to experience fall beauty or escape somewhere to forget about the impending winter.

1) Fall Foliage Trip 

Drive through New England to see the trees in hundreds of varying colors.  Famous Allegheny Passage from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasts some of the most famous views of fall foliage.  Stop along to way to visit apple orchards or to take a hayride. Travel anywhere from South Carolina to Wisconsin to experience picturesque views in the fall.

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2) Escape the Winter Trip

Visit locations close to the Ecuador for one last summer-like trip. Puerto Vallarta still has temperatures in the high 80’s throughout the fall.  As an added bonus, the tourist season doesn’t pick up until mid-November, providing cheaper hotels and airfare.

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3) Unusual U.S. Trip

Every fall there are a number of festivals throughout the U.S., perhaps one of the most famous of these is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Each year the festival draws thousands to view the hundreds of balloons ranging in shapes from a Pepsi can to a castle.

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4)British Columbia Classic Trip

Ski resorts in British Columbia, Nevada, and Colorado offer a place to stay in nature with an amazing view.  Like mexico, it is the off season in the fall, so you can stay in an upscale resort for bargain prices.

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5) City Trip

Prefer to take a trip to a location with lots of action and nightlife? Los Angeles can be a great option for it warm stable weather and plethora of things to do. Visit neighboring cities such as San Diego or take a trip to the farms in the valley while you are visiting.

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My Buddy Abroad

Aside

Globetrotters,

To travel or not to travel, that is the question.  Whether tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of global isolation, or take arms against a sea of losers, and by opposing, travel.

Shakespeare’s version might have varied slightly, but who really knows? One thing is certain though, Shakespeare’s influence spanned an entire planet, something he could not do personally in the 1500’s.  How many international tour dates do you think Shakespeare would have in 2012? My best guess is however many there were, they’d be sold out in every city across the globe.

Do you ever wonder why so many American artists do international tours? We’re the epicenter of culture and entertainment for the world.  We set standards for other countries in terms of music, movies, television, etc.  But that doesn’t mean we’re all the world has to offer. Up until four years ago, mainstream culture was 90% originating for the good ole U S of A.  Today, we have been ambushed by a sea of English pop-Gods; Adele, One Direction, the Wanted.  And as it turns out, America is welcoming the ambush with open arms.

The point I’m trying to make is the world is getting smaller and it’s happening fast.  For so long we’ve had this idea that the rest of the globe is one big greenhouse experiment; we send over American culture and news in droves while most anything that tries to escape the bubble is caught in a thick 12-mile layer of indifference and who can blame us? We barely have to time to swallow everything here in the states.  It’s time to start opening our eyes to different regions, languages, cultures, food.  The world as we know it is shrinking and believe it or not, that’s a good thing.  At My Buddy Abroad, we want to show what it’s like to ride four wheelers in the Moroccan dessert, to fall in love in Paris, to teach English in China, and to watch the sun rise after a long night in Ibiza, with hundreds of other people JUST like you.

And at the end of it all, maybe we can honor our beloved but not forgotten American culture with a few updated sequels, starting with, “Honey, I shrunk the kids world.”

Travel smart, my friends.