Miscellaneous useful travel tips

Earlier this month I took my car in for a recall repair (some issue about airbags randomly deploying or something like that), and the next day as I was driving the complimentary rental car back to dealership to pick up my fixed car, I saw something that reminded me of a useful tip that I read on the internet a few years back.

Today, I thought I’d share this with you, along with a few other miscellanea that might come in handy someday.

 

Tip 1:

If you’re in a rental car and forget which side the gas cap is on, here’s a simple way to determine this information without having to get out of the car and look.

 

See that little triangle to the left of the fuel dispenser symbol?  That points to the side of the car where you put the gas in.  If the arrow points to the left, the it’s on the driver’s side.  If it points to the right, it’s on the passenger side.  This is apparently a well known fact that I did not learn for the longest time, so I bet there are at least a few of you who didn’t know about this either.  No more having to turn the car around at the gas station like a jackass.

 

Tip 2:

Save your boarding pass after your flight if you have another connecting flight; especially if you’re traveling outside the United States.  A while back I picked up a habit where I would sometimes toss old boarding passes in the garbage as I walked from one flight to the next one in order to minimize the amount of trash I was carrying around in my pockets.

Turns out in some parts of the world (cough, South America, cough) the airlines can just bump you off a flight for no reason in particular.  This happened to Mrs. Lite Adventurer and I on our way back from Peru.  We flew from Cusco to Lima and had a few hours to get to our connecting flight back to Tennessee, so we stopped by the Latin American Airlines ticket counter to make sure our flight was still on time.  The employee at the counter then asked us if we had cancelled our flight back home.

Uh.  No?

She then explained to us that this situation occasionally came up where the computer system would not register that some passengers were on board the first leg of their trip and then subsequently boot those passengers off the remainder of their connecting flights.  She then asked if we had happened to keep our boarding passes from the previous flight to prove that we were actually on the plane.  This was one of the occasions where I did in fact keep the little paper stub.  Without it, we would have had some difficulties, but the stub proved that we were present and accounted for on the airplane, so she got us re-booked on the proper flight without any major issues.

I’m guessing that this sort of thing is pretty rare, especially in other places (I doubt something this sloppy would ever happen in Germany for example), but it wouldn’t hurt to just hold on to the boarding pass until you land back home.

 

Tip 3:

When making hotel reservations, consider using the old fashioned telephone.  Sometimes this method can get you a room when you can’t get one online.

 

True story that recently happened to me.  Mrs. Lite Adventurer and I are planning a California road trip in 2018.  One of the stops is Yosemite National Park, which is a ridiculously busy destination right now.  Unless you book a year in advance, it’s difficult to get a room inside the actual park, so the next best option is to book a room at a nearby hotel.  Well, this hotel that we’re looking at has a very convenient online reservation system, just like every modern hotel.  But due to it still being many months away, the system will not allow a person to book a room that far in advance.  I called over the summer, and the front desk person told me that the website usually updates around September and that I could likely make my online booking then.

So for months, I checked the website several times a week waiting for those dates to open up.  September rolled around and still nothing.  October made its appearance and still no way to reserve a room, so I got antsy and called the hotel to see when their online reservations would be up and running.

Well it turns out that even though the website won’t let you make a reservation, the hotel could still book the room via telephone and has been able to do so for at least a month.  So I went ahead and got a room with a nice view of the river.  Had I not called out of curiosity, I wouldn’t be surprised if all the rooms sold out by the time the online system updated for the new year.

Good thing to know for hard-to-get rooms in places like Yosemite.

 

If you have any other helpful travel tips, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll put them in a future post!

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