For the Love of Travel

Have you met anyone who enjoys being a road warrior? George Clooney in Up in the Air aside, most people don’t really enjoy slogging from airport to airport and hotel to hotel. Air travel is unreliable with constant delays. Security is tight with restrictions that make it difficult to get basic supplies on board. And with baggage costs and lost luggage incidents, who wants to check? Since we do all carry on, once on board, baggage space is scarce. Fun, huh?

Then, of course, there are the rental car companies. They are rarely on site at airports any more and further away from the airport than ever due to “cost control”. Last week we called to book a rental car and it seemed miserably expensive. So, we held the reservation to go surfing for a better deal. When we called back to confirm, we heard the price was $50 higher less than an hour later. Crazy, huh? Good thing we had held the first reservation.

Then, there are hotels. Have to admit this is the best part—because it means rest! And admittedly, most hotels now have finally figured out that the beds matter—all the other features come second. Lately, though, I have run into too many hotels with extra charges for internet (are you serious?) and for parking (one was $25/night!). Sorta like airlines charging for bags, I guess; another way to pass more cost on to users while keeping basic rates (seemingly )in line with competition.

Having said all that, I do love to travel. What I mean is, I like to visit places that I enjoy, that provide a change in scenery, culture and experiences. What I don’t like is the coming and going.

In all fairness, I think everyone has their favorite travel choices—the ones that either get them where they need to go the easiest or the one they think provides the best service. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you probably already know which companies I will give my business to most often. So, on a week in which I didn’t travel I will show a little love to the companies that help me most when I do:

For airline travel, hands down Southwest for their attitude and customer-friendly policies. Did I mention no charge for changing tickets or baggage?

For rental cars, Enterprise has the best service, where I get the most free upgrades and (usually) competitive prices. Avis is a second choice and growing on me more and more.

For hotels, I am the most indifferent, with cleanliness, great beds, free internet and safe locations at the top of my wish list. If I had to pick one chain (that I use), it would probably be the Hilton hotels. Even Hampton Inns have great beds! Marriott is a close second here. Many others are just fine, as well.

Rather than generating great insight, I am hoping this blog sparks suggestions. What travel tips do you have for your fellow travelers? What secrets have you learned to ease the tediousness? What companies do you favor and why? Would love to hear from you and learn from you! Please send me your thoughts!

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