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13 Things You Didn’t Know About Smart Travel

You probably have your trusted sites to book for your dream vacation, but here are 13 things you might not know about traveling smart.

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Know How To Work The ‘Net

The Internet has turned everyone into an amateur travel agent, but for the best deals try deleting your search history. If  you have your eye on a bargain, clean your cookies before revisiting it. Deal sites know when they’re getting a repeat visitor and may increase the last price you saw. 

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Use The Phone

For the best value on accommodations, call the hotel directly. A manager or booking agent will usually match or better the best price you found online. Hotel sold out? Find out when cancellations go into effect and phone exactly on the hour to scoop up last-minute openings.

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Ask For What You Want

Not all hotel rooms are created equal-some are larger or have superior views. Upon check-in, request better digs. If you have a few dollars to spare, ask if an affordable upgrade is available. 

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Check Your Calendar

Some travel experts say Tuesday afternoon is the prime time to book domestic flights. But the weekend may be a better bet, according to researchers at Texas A&M University. Want to make the most informed decision? Check Bing Travel Price Predictor to monitor rates and watch trends.

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Photo: Thinkstock

Know Your Days

For travel within North America, Wednesday is generally the least expensive day to fly, since most vacationers bookend their trips with weekends. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the next best days.

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Keep Digital Notes

Keep a digital trail of your travels. Photos are a great way to keep track of important things-such as where you parked your car, what your suitcase looks like and what hotel room you’re in. 

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Find The City’s Low Season

Almost every major city has its own mini off-seasons, when rates drop and last-minute specials apply. Visit New York following Fashion Week, go to Venice after the film festival or head to New Orleans post-Mardi Gras. Hotels lose a huge percentage of their guests on the final day of a major event, and top restaurants have vacancies. 

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Redeem Points

Make the most of your reward points by calling an agent for assistance just after midnight. Not only will you have the help of a pro who can think strategically with your points, you may have more options to choose from, since airlines have traditionally released new inventory at 12:01 a.m.

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Get Social

Ask your Facebook friends or Twitter followers if they have any recommendations for the place you plan to visit. Knowing a few show-offs will finally come in handy! And be sure to “like” the Facebook pages of your destination’s tourism board and key attractions for deals and specials.

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Photo: Shutterstock

Bank Smart

Canadian financial institutions have sister banks abroad, which means you can use their ATM machines to take out local currency with no international transaction fees. For example, HSBC has its own ATMs all around the world.

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Get Travel Insurance

Unless it’s bronze, no one wants to take home a $20,000 cast as a souvenir. Check to see what travel insurance coverage you already have from your credit card company and work health-care plan, and then fill in the gaps. Avoid insurance companies that make travellers front hospital bills. A multi-trip insurance policy with one annual rate is generally the best way to go, even if you only take a few trips a year. 

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Make Copies

Do you know your passport number by heart? You won’t need to if you’ve made a copy to leave with 
a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping, in case of loss or theft. Better yet: if you know you’ll have ready email access, scan and send yourself your passport details so you’ll always have them on hand. 

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Treat Yourself

If you find yourself stuck at the airport for any length of time, consider buying a day pass to an airline lounge. Or if you need WiFi, try sitting just outside a lounge to pick up its free service.