Should You Book Your Flight On A Tuesday?

by Grace aka costofcollege

You’re booking your flights all wrong

This article says it’s a myth, but last week I booked a flight that dropped in price on a Tuesday, and I’ve had that same experience at least a couple of times before.

What’s your experience?  Any tips for booking flights?  Hotels?  AirBnB?  Other travel tips?

Advertisements

115 thoughts on “Should You Book Your Flight On A Tuesday?

  1. I have been working on a couple of vacation trips recently, one domestic and one international. My only advice is to keep checking. For the international one when I first started looking the prices were X; by the time everyone agreed on the dates / times the price was roughly 1.5X. So I let it rest for maybe a month and the prices came back to about 1.1X. For the domestic one I found what I thought was a good price and booked the flights. Then there was a person added to our group so the next day when I went to buy their ticket I found the price was down about 10% from the day before AND I could get a nonstop one direction and a pretty short layover the other way (when previously each way had layovers of >4 hours each way).

    Hotels: now I always look at hotels.com and trivago to get an idea of what the rates are and then I go to the hotel site itself to find the “real” rates i.e. AAA or AARP which are usually 10% off the lowest shown on Hotels.com. It really does pay off sometimes to call the hotel property directly. I find this especially true in resort locations.

  2. rest of paragraph one above:

    So I cancelled what I had booked the day before and rebooked the whole group at the lower fare on the better flights.

    There is now a 24hour cancel window on non-refundable flights. I happened to use Expedia for one trip and Priceline for the other. I forget which trip was which but it was easy to cancel and rebook within the 24hour window.

  3. oh, and I always use this site http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ to look for the best fares. A lot of what they show might be hard to buy unless you work with a travel agent, especially for multi-city trips, but it gives you a really good idea of what’s out there.

  4. This is timely since I just got finished making arrangements for a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and am now booking flight/hotel for a conference in the fall in Chicago.
    One takeaway – when did hotels in Seattle get so EXPENSIVE!! The prices are very similar to Manhattan – most rooms that could accomodate 4 people are $300 or over in Seattle itself. We ended up in Redmond to get something closer to $200. I spent way too many hours on all sorts of search engines looking for hotels. Vancouver is bad too, but not as bad.
    I did look at VRBO, but the prices for short stay rentals were insane too. And I am increasingly having qualms about VRBO and airbnb, given what is happening in NYC with these companies. They aren’t just small owners renting out a few weeks anymore, and quality of life for residents is declining because of these in-all-but-legality hotel rooms that are taking over residential buildings. Who wants lots of transients traipsing in and out of your building?

  5. I’ve had good luck bidding on Priceline for rental cars on my last few trips. And we did VRBO for our last Seattle trip and got a decent deal for a house that held us and our DIL’s parents. I don’t think anyone’s quality of life was disrupted from that rental. The guy who ordinarily lives there did have a large, full-body depilatory machine (about the size of a washer) in the downstairs area, but other than that, it was fine.

  6. I just tried the ita site to search for flights I already booked, and they showed them available for almost $200 less than what I paid. But then I went to the airline site and their lowest fare was about $300 higher than the ita fare. So how would I get the low ita fare? Should I contact a travel agent? (I haven’t used a travel agent in years, not for booking flights. The only travel agent I know is the AAA one.)

    Kayak does give price alerts, which AFAIK only works for the general itineray.

  7. We book directly with the hotel and airline, as it’s much easier to change reservations in the future. On our recent family vacation, we used hotels.com to locate hotels with good locations and room types, and booked with them directly. I also look on Trip Advisor for reviews of the individual hotels before booking.

  8. We’ve used VRBO for outdoorsy and beach type vacations. Urban VRBO’s, in my experience, tend to be expensive.

  9. I’ve never tried Priceline, but now I’m tempted. Do you learn the exact hotel or rental company before you commit?

  10. I always try to book direct with the airline and the hotel these days. With airlines, I think you get better treatment when something goes wrong. When I had to deal with an impending snowstorm a couple of years ago while I was in Denver, I was happy I had booked with the airline because they sent me a text message that they were waiving rebooking fees, and a simple phone call got me on a different flight so I could avoid the storm. More recently, a relative of mine was in the same situation, but she had booked through Expedia, and getting a rebooking was a nightmare of going back and forth between the Expedia agent and the airline agent. WIth hotels, you can usually do a little better than Expedia with a AAA card.

  11. I have a VRBO question – how is the bedding? I’m becoming the princess and the pea in the my old age and after a recent weekend at a friend’s beach house I’m leery.

  12. I use TripAdvisor extensively!! Not just for choosing hotels but also to ask questions about practicalities – for instance, how to set up a phone so it can call a US phone from China without paying an arm and a leg. Or best town to stay in near Mt Rainier. A few years ago, I found a wonderful cabin rental in Tadoussac by asking questions on the forum for that town.

  13. I just booked a hotel for my Chicago conference. The conference rate is really good, and my university will reimburse 50%. But I just learned that my dear friend who lives on the 40th floor of a swanky highrise in the Loop may be away in China that week, in which case I can use her apartment. Good thing the hotel cancellation policy is lenient.

  14. I used priceline for our upcoming trip because it was hotel AND car AND flight. I did pick the flights specifically so we wouldn’t have to get the kids up at 4 am. I am pretty out of the loop with planning trips, though, since we travel so rarely. Next time I will try going directly through the hotel, but I don’t have any great tips for picking airline tix…reading eagerly for those since 5 tix is EXPENSIVE.

  15. My relative in the hotel industry says the lowest rates for her chain are offered in package deals, because their frequent travelers can’t see the rates and demand a match.

    if anyone has tips for booking travel with three small children, I’m all ears. It’s going to be a few years until they can handle it if we split the family into two rooms.

  16. We are thinking about going up to Mass. for fall break this year and I’ve been looking everyday for flights. Right now they are about $325 (not unreasonable but x 5, ugh). We’re still two and a half months out so I have time to wait. I’m going to keep in mind the Priceline for rental car tip. I hate paying for rental cars, but with three kids, two of whom are in car seats, I can’t really just rely on family for rides.

  17. I will be taking advantage of the 24 hour cancellation window when appropriate. I booked Mr WCE’s ticket a day after ours, and his ticket (same flights) was 1/3 less, but even though we were still in the 24 hour window for our tickets, I couldn’t book 4 tickets at the Mr WCE price. Especially if I’m booking close to my travel dates, i might cancel and rebook if the ticket prices remain the same to maintain my 24 hour window. Mr WCE’s was the least expensive ticket I’ve bought in years, purchased ~24 hours before departure. I will also consider booking 2 or 3 tickets at the “low” price and 2 or 3 tickets at the “high” price when 5-6 tickets are not available at the “low’ price.

    If we flew more, I’d get an appropriate credit card for free checked bags.

    On our Memorial Day weekend trip, when tickets were fairly expensive, Mr WCE and I split up for the trip back in order to use frequent flier miles on three return trip tickets. We were willing to risk being delayed on the way back (work wasn’t that important compared to seeing my mom :) and everything went close-to-fine. I’ve since learned that if the airline changes your flight time on you, you can call and rebook. As it was, we just dealt with the ~5-6 hour layover in San Diego with a visit to the Midway carrier. I was nervous about getting the booking to stay together if we changed flights, given that I had booked the tickets under two reservations from two frequent flier accounts. That caused Mr WCE some hassle checking in, when Twin 1 appeared to be traveling alone, even though I had linked the reservations in the system as required for a minor.

    On Mr WCE’s return from Europe, there were no seats available into Portland so he ends up flying into Seattle and taking another flight to Portland. There are also trains and buses from Seattle to Portland, so he’s not going to be stuck-stuck.

  18. Sky, my tips on hotel rooms for a family with 3 kids is
    1. stay at hotels with suites.
    2. Lie. When you make the booking, say it is 2 kids. Otherwise, most chains will force you to take 2 rooms.

  19. Atlanta Mom, you can gate check car seats, strollers and booster seats for free. Thus Mr WCE’s luggage hauling prowess that impressed the United baggage handler.

    My brother was on the fence about getting a hotel room on his trip to Denver and ended up booking through hotwire, because he could see there was one hotel in the town he was coming into (in Kansas) and hotwire offered that town as an option, so that hotel would obviously be where he’d be put. This may not be an option in urban locations.

  20. My experience on using Priceline for hotels is that if you go into the section where you’re not blindly bidding, you can see what hotels they have as options in each zone of the city and how many stars the hotel are rated. I then do the bidding process, being soecific about which area and number of stars I want, and I can have an idea of which 2-3 hotels I’ll match up with.

    I had heard that about Tuesdays, but don’t know it it’s true. I have experienced pricing a flight only to come back an hour later to finalize and see that the rate has increased. Now I use different devices to search vs book.

  21. CoC, when you’re doing the bidding thing, you don’t get to pick the brand of hotel or car if you want the best price. That’s why I’ve limited it to cars so far. That said, if you’re brand-insensitive, the deals are goid. Like $20 a day for a car out of SFO. And of course I check the car websites first.

  22. Car rentals are crazy expensive too when you are a family of 5. We have booked a fullsize sedan, which supposedly seats 5 with 3 pieces of luggage. Given that we are fairly large, and will have 5 large backpacks with us, I suspect we are going to feel like sardines on this trip. I tried Priceline, and got a much better price, but then the taxes and fees drive it up a lot more. And you don’t know what brand – and there is a brand in the Seattle area that is cheap and gets HORRIBLE reviews on TripAdvisor, so I want to avoid them.

  23. Oh man, I just looked and a rental car is $700 for 4 days, jeesh! I was thinking about making the trip because it’s my high school reunion, my daughter has fall break anyway, and so it seemed like a fun idea. DH is not as enthused about going because he doesn’t want to relive my high school life and he definitely won’t be enthused about spending $3K for a weekend trip.

  24. Even though we got a rental SUV, it was pretty squished with one of the seats folded down to hold the luggage. At home we had the older model of the same SUV, it is much roomier. The new egg shape instead of the old square shape makes it smaller.

  25. Atlanta –
    please try priceline “name your own price” for the rental car. I have had great success using this all over the country. You get to choose the car class you want (mid-size, minivan, etc) just not the rental car company. It’s still airport pickup, just like if you’d book with Hertz or whomever. Usually I bid 40-50% of the listed price…sometimes I have to do it a couple of times.

  26. Timely for us, as we are still trying to figure out Alaska for next summer (we have decided no cruise, and instead to do a trip that has us traveling around in Alaska a bit). Getting there not so bad, coming home looks like a nightmare. Would require 3 separate flights, flying through the night. I had no idea there wouldn’t be a direct flight back to the East Coast. It’s enough to make me take pause on the trip, although I really, really want to go.

  27. There are lots of nonstop choices out of Seattle back to the East Coast. Could you fly down to Seattle, and then home from there?

  28. Yes, I looked at that. I think we would have to stay overnight in Seattle in order to avoid a red-eye flight home. But that might be the solution. We have also talked about just extending the trip and staying in Seattle for a couple more days. But, the Alaska trip is going to be activity-intense and I’m wondering if we’ll all just be worn out and ready to be home.

  29. Now that all of my residual business frequent flyer miles and elite status are long gone, I usually start with Expedia to figure out who flies where and general price point. I use tripadvisor for hotel screening in the same way. Then I check the airlines, hotel and attraction sites for deals. Often this is done the first time well before the booking stage to winnow down, determine routing, itinerary etc. I bookmark the lodging sites and tourist sites that make the cut and choose the airlines. When I go back to make the bookings, I do a quick revisit to all of those, establish my plan, clear my browser history and cookies, and go back for the kill. Clearing the cookies and today’s browser is key – you are likely to get a better deal coming in fresh. I only rent a car if there is no possible alternative, so I tend just to use my old Hertz account for convenience. They still treat me as if I am elite. If I have to get a city hotel room at the last minute, I find a Kimpton property and wheel and deal. I had two terrible experiences with booking through aggregator sites, so I always book directly with the airline or the hotel or the rental company. Given our new world of precarious health at home everything is going to be booked at the last minute instead of months in advance anyway, and if the amount is significant, I will just book a refundable fare. I presciently did that for the Arctic trip and got my funds back already for DH’s tickets.

  30. Lark –

    When I used to go to PNW all the time, I wanted a non stop home to Boston. So I would have a choice between a flight that left at 7am or the red eye. I usually chose the red eye, but if not I would stay at an airport hotel with a free shuttle. But I see Delta has lots of non stops every day – you wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.

  31. Lark, you might consider getting the Alaska Airlines credit card, perhaps separately for you and your husband. You get a $99 companion fare and Alaska codeshares with other airlines for flights back to the East Coast but it takes awhile for the companion fare deal to show up. If you and your husband each get the credit card, you can use the $99 companion fares for two of your kids. It’s valid on any Alaska fare.

    Also, if you have any frequent flier miles, Alaska’s website does a great job of showing you how much various flights (including one way) cost in frequent flier miles not only for Alaska but for Delta and other partners. (Alaska has a lot of partner airlines.)

    The constant daylight in Alaska made us super-energetic while we were there (slept only ~5 hours/night) and then we slept extra when we got home.

    Be warned that flights to Alaska in summer book up and they don’t add any more seats, so if there are places you particularly want to go, buy your tickets early. Same for hotel rooms and rental cars. Consider whether you’d split your family if you can’t get seats on the same flight, if you’re doing any flying within Alaska.

    Hopefully Ada will chime in with more advice.

  32. Regarding Mémé’s comment, lots of the hotel shuttle services have limited hours, so make sure you can actually use the shuttle when you want to. We’ve been caught by the hotel shuttle not being available by the time our late flight arrived home. I would check public transportation. In Portland, light rail is now at the airport and runs at least every 15 min round the clock.

  33. Atlanta – will you need a car the whole time? (eg are you going to Boston or to suburbs?) You could also try just getting a car for some of the time, or doing zipcar.

  34. I have wondered about a cc for miles. We have had the same cashback credit card for 15+ years & I feel pretty loyal to it. They’ve treated us great over the years, sometimes going above and beyond. I have friends that seem to accumulate miles quickly on their credit cards, but I’ve not researched to see what is the best one.

  35. WCE’s point is a good one, but since airport hotels are only a short drive from the airport, the cab fare is not all that bad. In Portland I took public transit. I do the same in the Bay Area. (I really don’t like to rent a car.) I would never rent a car as a weekend visitor to Boston unless I were going to the Cape or Maine or something like that. But I would vastly prefer to go to a reunion solo.

  36. Well who knew. The one we have is the first on that list. Clearly I’m not taking advantage. Thank you Rhett.

  37. I recently learned a tip that if you book the cheapest rental car from expedia and the like you’ll have the longest line at the rental counter. I don’t know if it is true, but it would explain why some lines are long while others have no one at them. Last winter a family member had a 2.5 hour wait at a Florida airport rental counter because she booked the cheapest one. In the last few years I’ve become loyal to one brand, booking under a corporate rate, and never have more than a one or two people in line.

  38. Hertz Gold is free and lets you switch cars within your class if you don’t like the first one. We have Hertz Gold but Mr WCE didn’t get it attached to our reservation and we ended up waiting an hour plus at O’Hare. We won’t make that mistake again.

  39. Hertz Gold is free and lets you switch cars within your class if you don’t like the first one.

    I don’t know about Hertz specifically but most of the time if you see a vehicle you’d rather have they will be happy to give you a deal. If you have a Corolla and you spot a QX60 that would work better you can say – “How much for the QX60?” “$30/day extra.” “How about $15?” “$20” “Deal!”

  40. I’ll also mention that I’ve had considerable success in negotiating with VRBO owners. I just try to politely ask if maybe I could get the place for 15% less, or maybe I could get the 5-day rate even though it’s only 3 days? If it’s off-season the owner will usually deal. I don’t come on like a ton of bricks, I just ask nicely if there’s maybe some leeway in the price.

  41. Meme: Great advice on clearing your browser history! I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense.

    Lark: Now that we are back from this year’s summer vacation, it’s time to start planning next year’s. Alaska is at the top of our list. I’d be very interested in any advice that you care to share, as you build your trip.

  42. I don’t book my own tix to AK, so limits knowledge on that. I can say that ANC is crazy busy from 10p to 2a – that is when most of the flights depart. It’s a good airport for sleeping in (I know that is so untotebaggy, but it happens). One morning I was on a 7a flight out, and half of the first class cabin was chatting about their favorite place to sleep in that airport.

    For hotels, I always do embassy suites if available. They are the only true suite chain that I know. They always have rooms with two double beds, and a door to the living area with a queen sleeper sofa.

  43. “I am increasingly having qualms about VRBO and airbnb, given what is happening in NYC with these companies. They aren’t just small owners renting out a few weeks anymore, and quality of life for residents is declining because of these in-all-but-legality hotel rooms that are taking over residential buildings. Who wants lots of transients traipsing in and out of your building?”

    This has been a problem here going back long before the VRBO and airbnb became so popular. A lot, perhaps most, of the properties rented here to tourists, whether through those websites or other means, are full-time rentals.

    There was a recent article in the local paper which reported that over 20,000 housing units here have been illegally converted to vacation rentals. Then a little later, another article on the housing shortage here said we’d need….. about 20,000 housing units in the next few years to satisfy our housing demand.

  44. “For hotels, I always do embassy suites if available. ”

    I love their breakfasts. If I travel for business, they are always my first choice, but are sometimes too expensive.

  45. “Lie. When you make the booking, say it is 2 kids. Otherwise, most chains will force you to take 2 rooms.”

    Yes. DW has found this works really well. She’ll often try 2 adults + 2 kids, and only get a few hits, then try 2 adults + 1 kid, and get a whole bunch of hits. Many of the hits she only gets with 1 kid are for rooms that will accommodate a 2nd kid, sometimes for an extra cost.

  46. Houston: we are actually considering doing a tour company that caters to families (there are several companies out there, haven’t nailed down which one we would do, they all look amazing). They take care of all the details, and sometimes do separate activities or dinners for kids and adults.

    We are a little hesitant, as we’ve never done a trip as part of a tour group. But friends we know who have done it this way rave about it, and it seems like a great way to do a place like Alaska.

    Atlanta: Have you tried Jet Blue? We have gotten amazing prices recently on flights to Boston and New York. We are taking kids to NYC for fall break and I think all 4 of us are flying for less than $500 total.

  47. “if anyone has tips for booking travel with three small children, I’m all ears. It’s going to be a few years until they can handle it if we split the family into two rooms.”

    Besides mooshi’s suggestions, with which I agree,you might also look into timeshares, e.g., renting timeshare units from their owners, or DVC if going to WDW. A 2BR condo might work well for you.

    Locally, a lot of hotels have been converted to timeshares.

  48. “For hotels, I always do embassy suites if available. They are the only true suite chain that I know.”

    That’s good to know!

    As a family of four, I can only imagine how the cost of traveling starts to escalate with more kids.

  49. PS to Houston – I have been futzing around with flights this afternoon and it looks like there is a Houston/ANC flight! Travel wouldn’t be so bad for you…

  50. For Hotwire and Priceline info, use biddingfortravel.com and betterbidding.com to get a sense of what hotels are won and at what price you should bid. In addition, they explain the strategy you should use to bid using free rebid zones and the like.

    The deals haven’t been as good as they used to be. I usually reserve a cancellable room and the week before my stay, I use Priceline and Hotwire to see if I can beat my existing reservation.

  51. Lark: Thanks for the neat idea! We have never thought about using a tour group. Did you find them on Trip Advisor?

    If you haven’t finalized your hotel in NYC yet, we just stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on 33rd and Park (last week). 2 blocks from Empire State Building. Subway stop on corner. Great staff. $275 per night including a full breakfast for the family. I’m surprised at how reasonable the hotel prices were in NYC.

  52. I have to laugh at this discussion. Tech evangelists, when pressed to show how the Internet has increased productivity, always point to travel and the fact that an entire job class, travel agent, has mainly disappeared because the Internet gave us “increased efficiency and productivity”. No! In fact, the work involved in planning a trip has not decreased at all! It may actually have increased. The difference is that we schmucks now do it ourselves. So much for technology.

  53. I have to say that given the noise the kids make at night when they are “going to sleep”, I like to get 2 rooms! (You can usually get adjoining with the door in the middle)

  54. Mooshi,

    I think you’re misremembering they were talking about disintermediation. One of the reasons a ticket that was $400 in 1980 is still $400 is because that $400 1980 ticket included a lavish commission to the travel agent.

  55. CoC, sometimes travel agents still make sense. They apparently can get blocks of plane tickets/rooms to resell.

    There’s an online travel agent I use that sometimes still has the lowest priced plane seats available even after the airline’s website is sold out.

    For our trip last winter, we were having a hard time finding hotel rooms. DW contacted a travel agent we’d worked with before, and she was able to get us, and the friends we were traveling with, rooms in a hotel whose own website showed no availability, and for which the travel websites like hotels.com, orbitz, expedia, etc, did not show availability.

  56. We did well going through Costco for our car rental earlier this summer. Full size SUV for 17 days, $1085 including all taxes and fees. It was several hundred lower than what I’d been finding looking at the search aggregators, directly at rental company site with various codes, and so on.

  57. WCE, we’re running into the same thing– if an airlines has n seats left at their lowest price, and you want to book m seats, with m>n, the sites will only sell you m tickets at the higher price. Good idea about the 24 hour window– we’ll split the booking to take advantage of as many of the lower priced seats as we can get.

  58. We’ve also had success with Costco travel for car rentals. We also got a good deal on a package when we went to Disneyland a couple years ago.

    I’ve used Hotwire for cars a few times with no problems.

  59. One of the “features” when booking Amtrak is that if the cheapest fare for the chosen trains is senior one way and AAA the other, you have to book two separate one way tickets because it defaults to one classification or the other. One of the things I like about Jet Blue (which serves a number of my regular markets non stop from home) is that you can buy the cheapest ticket on their website, and if you have to cancel you still get back a sizable chunk of the purchase price as a credit. So the “bet” that you make with a very low price fare is not all or nothing, as long as you can manage to travel before the credit expires. Southwest is now so expensive that unless it provides ideal routing I don’t consider it anymore. And I did some prechecking yesterday for a possible flight to Winnipeg and I decided that I’d prefer to pay the premium for Air Canada via Toronto rather than use any other possible carrier or routing.

  60. And I am increasingly having qualms about VRBO and airbnb, given what is happening in NYC with these companies. They aren’t just small owners renting out a few weeks anymore,

    I’ve never seen VRBOs that were people renting out for a just a couple of weeks. All the ones I’ve seen are full-time rentals or close to it (maybe the owners use them a couple of weeks or a handful of weekends a year).

  61. We are renting a cabin near Mt Rainier in a town that is clearly mainly short term rentals. It doesn’t bother me so much though, because this area has no economy save for people visiting the park. I don’t think these cabins are taking away housing for teachers or anything. In NYC, the problem isn’t just that the airbnbs are taking away from the housing stock, though they are, but also that these are apartment buildings. Typically the buildings have a locked front door. If you are a real resident of one of those buildings, would you want the front door key being given out to potentially a hundred total outsiders in the course of a year? I wouldn’t.

  62. We have shied away from airlines and rental cars as a family of five. We recently did a week at the lake, with parents, brother and family, and in-laws. Six bedrooms (four with attached baths) on the lake for $4k including all taxes. Then two boats–one 220 hp ski boat and one 13-person pontoon–for about $1600 combined for the week.

    It was a good value, I thought. I made significant improvements in my slalom skiing.

  63. I have a VRBO question – how is the bedding?

    It varies but my experience is that it is usually good enough.

  64. “It varies but my experience is that it is usually good enough.”

    Agreed. This time it was very firm, which was a shock coming from our current mattress.

  65. L – we will be on the Cape but also Rhode Island for a night or two visiting my in-laws so probably do need a car. My in-laws have one of those teeny matchbox cars so can’t use that. Lark – just checked and Jet Blue does not fly out of Atlanta

  66. I did bring my own sheets when I went with some college friends to an airbnb place. I didn’t need them because the sheets were decent, but I just brought some really old sheets that I was happy to throw out when the trip was over. I had some cheap scratchy sheets in a different rental, and I just started to bring my own if I had room in my bag.

    We had a very hard time finding reasonable airfares to CA for next month. We looked for months, and we finally bought tickets because it just didn’t seem like the prices would drop. I love to fly Jet Blue with kids, but they are usually the most expensive when I compare to other regular options – united and Delta. Jet Blue used to be cheaper, but I haven’t had any luck recently if it is during a school vacation.

    The priceline tips are great, and I am going to try to use this in the future. For rental cars – keep looking because we usually wait for price drops with Hertz, Enterprise, National etc. I hope the car rental places don’t use the airline method because we just call or rebook when we see a price drop. We are Gold at Hertz due to Amex platinum card, and we try to use it because it is so quick and convenient. We started to use Enterprise in Florida when Hertz was too expensive. We’ve been surprised at how nice they are at Enterprise. They even gave us a free day when we casually mentioned that a manual was missing from the car. We never used to consider Enterprise for travel because we use them when our car is being repaired, but we’ve had several good customer service experiences with them.

    I found the hotel prices in Silicon Valley to be similar to the Seattle problem that was discussed earlier today. I could have stayed in downtown San Fran in a five star hotel for less money than I was seeing for a sofitel, westin, or hyatt in the peninsula. I am sure it is demand because there are just not enough hotel rooms, and there is so much demand. The VRBO prices are really high too.
    We want to stay south of SFO because all of our friends that we are going to visit live in that area.

  67. “One of the reasons a ticket that was $400 in 1980 is still $400 is because that $400 1980 ticket included a lavish commission to the travel agent.”

    The low point for fares was actually in the 90’s, after dergulation but while travel agents still existed. I travelled to Europe constantly because I COULD. RT fares to Paris at $400 were common. And all through travel agents so all I had to do was pick up the phone. Now, we search and search and search, on multiple sites and faretrackers, and still end up paying $900 or more for the same route.

    And don’t get me started on what happened to fares to regional US destinations like Knoxville. It can often be almost as expensive to get to Knoxville or Little Rock as to get to Paris, and Paris is not cheap

  68. Atlanta – in that case you do need a car! I would try priceline (or see if zipcar is comparable) and Delta for airfares – since they fly in between so much they usually have a good deal going on.

    Mooshi – I remember flying to the UK from Boston in the late 90s for $450 RT.

  69. Lauren,

    The cheapest motel that’s passable in Palo Alto is the Travelodge on El Camino. It’s…acceptable. Barely. But it’s about $120 a night. It’s, um, a step up from camping.

  70. “We’ve been surprised at how nice they are at Enterprise.”

    I’ve had this experience also, even though IIRC Enterprise has been criticized here. The local Enterprise is staffed by manager trainee types, and everyone there seems to go out of their way to give excellent service. (Reminds me that I have to check my credit cards to see which one gives me expanded insurance coverage on rental cars.)

    As far as wait times, I do seem to remember that airport rental desks have a separate line for plan members, and my experience is that simply joining their plans significantly reduces wait times.

    From what I’ve read, deregulation was the biggest factor in the long-term decline of airfares, and despite the downsides I prefer today’s method of buying rather than relying on travel agents. Soon we’ll be waxing nostalgic about the times when a human took our orders at McDonald’s. :)

  71. RMS, thanks. We want to be closer to the airport because our friends our scattered, but all of our friends are in the Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood Shores area. There is a Hyatt suite hotel that we’ve stayed in before, and we will just suck it up and pay to stay there again. My DH does not like to stay in someone’s house vs. a hotel. We could save A LOT by just staying with one of our friends. It is a coincidence, but he has to travel to this same area for his job at least 5 or 6 times a year. He stays in the Sofitel, but we’ve had mixed experiences when we’ve stayed there as a family. He just booked a business trip there for Oct, and the Sofitel rates were almost double his usual corporate rate. There is just too much demand now, and the hotels are just beginning to catch up. I hope they finally build another luxury hotel because the Four Seasons in Palo Alto is too far with the traffic.

  72. Houston: After I looked at the itineraries for the Disney Cruises, I felt like too much time was spent on the boat and not really in Alaska. But I still wanted to try to go to Alaska, so I think I googled “family travel to Alaska” or something like that, and then several different companies came up: Thompson Family Travel, Tauck Bridges (different from regular Tauck, it’s the “bridges” program that caters to families), and Adventures by Disney. Warning: do not start exploring any of those sites until you have hours to spend — you will totally get sucked into all the amazing trips and itineraries.

  73. Lark thanks – we would do a trip vs. being on a boat, so this information is useful.

  74. So, where did everyone go this summer? Milo went to the lake, I went to Philly/NYC.

  75. Very late to the discussion, but I have a question – we will be going to Chicago in the fall. It’s a nonstop flight on Southwest (2 free checked bags each). Since it’s a short hop, DH and I will hold Baby Rhode. So here’s the question – do we gate check the car seat and stroller or put them through regular baggage check? We will probably check one bag each, so we’ll have one bag left that’s free to check. I can use the baby carrier in the airports, so I don’t technically need the stroller between the check-in and the gate.

  76. We went to Breckenridge and Alamosa on separate weekends. This weekend we’re going camping near Estes Park. Nothing exciting for us this summer.

  77. a week at the South Jersey shore coming up. Baseball just ended for my one still playing so we have a couple of weeks to do stuff before fall HS sports start.

  78. @Rhode: gate check the carseat for sure — what are you going to do if luggage gets lost or delayed? Personally, I’d gate check everything; I found the stroller really useful for carrying the miscellaneous stuff through the airport and basically corralling the bits and bobs until you have to board.

  79. Atlanta – if you want to meet up (if you have time), I’d love to meet you in person. If not, totally understand! Sounds like you have a busy itinerary.

  80. Rhode – would love that! I will keep you posted on our schedule, but I’m guessing we will be in RI Oct. 8-9th if everything comes together.

  81. We went to NC for a week for my dad’s 70th; went with the correct expectations (i.e., “don’t expect any decision to take less than 2 hrs/to actually get out of house and to beach before noon/to start any dinner prep before 7”), so the trip met expectations and therefore was a pretty happy one.

    We are going to Scotland for the “camp is over/school hasn’t started yet” week in late August. Really looking forward to it — going to spend a few days on the teensy island my clan all comes from, and then take the kids by Loch Ness (in a “castle hotel”), go to Speyside so DH can sample as much scotch as possible in 36 hrs, and then go to Edinburgh and hit the Tattoo (which, ?I had no idea, is an actual very big thing).

    Unfortunately, I just found out yesterday the school system changed the stupid calendar right before summer break started. They were supposed to start the last Wednesday in August, so we decided to come home late Sunday instead of Saturday — with no daycare, I was going to be home with the kiddos M-T anyway, so we’d have plenty of time to sleep and pick up last-minute supplies and such. Now it turns out school starts Monday. Which, you know, is *much* more convenient for actually being able to work and find daycare and all that — if only they had decided that *before* we bought nonrefundable tix and hotels and all. Fun! Joy! First week of HS! And yes, I already got the “awesome mom/thanks for screwing it up” award last night. (Because, of course, I am mom, so it is All My Fault).

  82. L: I’d take the booster seat, if the child is only slightly under the physical requirements.

  83. L – bad mother advice here but both my kids were out of designated seats before the recommended time. They were just too oversized and needed to move to the next seating level.
    Now one wants to and will soon be able to sit in the front passenger seat.

    LfB – just have everything in place and ready to go for that Monday morning. It is what it and enjoy the “Bad Mother of the Year” award.

  84. rhode we always took the stroller to the gate, we would push a bag in it and carry DS

  85. Pretty sure I win the lousy vacation award–three trips in three weeks for various in law events, scheduled that way because it was convenient for one SIL and no one would stand up to her. Culminating in a week with MIL and FIL, the out of control control freaks.
    At least I can say I’m truly happy to be back at work.
    Hoping to go to Italy next summer, with no inlaws in sight.

  86. We went to Carmel for two weeks, and it was lovely. I guess it was a trip rather than a vacation since my family was there (in different houses and motels), and there was a little too much togetherness, but we had a great time. We got to bring our dog, which made it even more fun!

  87. We went to WCE’s area and went from beach to mountains, to orchards and drove along the rivers. Beautiful ! It was definitely a “trip” rather than a vacation. In the winter – I hope to do a real vacation.

  88. I have not had a real summer vacation, but I prefer to take vacations in the winter anyway. Long weekend in Chicago with DD to visit my brother, SIL & niece. A few days at my aunt & uncle’s house while volunteering at a golf tournament. (But at least that part was at the Greenbrier!) A few weekends at the lake with my parents, including this coming weekend when a bunch of my friends will join us. Then I close on my new place next Friday, and since my parents are financing it for me, I don’t know when they will spend the $$ to take us on another vacation. Of course the last one was at WDW, so not really a vacation for me. I’d rather wait a couple years and do Hawaii for 2 weeks.

  89. DH and I spent a few days in the French Alps and caught 2 stages of the Tour De France including the famous Alps D’Huez finish. Lots of hiking, beautiful vistas and cheese.
    We’ll be doing our annual home visit in a few months but that’s not really a vacation as we have to work on the house, visit family, and I’ll go into the corporate headquarters to work.

  90. Departure in 6 days for the Arctic. Can’t wait. DH is stable, although we are throwing away tonight’s Red Sox tickets rather than try to figure out how to keep him from collapsing in this heat. A nurse calls every week to check up on him.

    Our accommodations at the most remote site.

    Stock photo (note kayak in foreground), but here’s hoping.

  91. We didn’t go on vacation yet because camp doesn’t end until mid August. The last day of school was June 26, so this is just the midpoint of the summer vacation here. We are going to California between camp and school. We will see friends and then travel south to go to the beach. This is the first time that school starts before Labor Day for some districts in NY. I don’t get it because it is obviously not the first time that Labor Day is really late, but our district did announce this far enough in advance to plan.

    LfB – that stinks about your change in schedule. the unions would never put up with the swap that you mentioned. The calendars are set very far in advance, and that’s it unless it is a crazy year like hurricane Sandy and several major snow storms.

  92. baysidegirl – how was it? Were you at Dutch corner? That looks like it was a fun party! Since the hill was so steep were you able to get a look at the riders? I’m sad that TJ dropped out but I don’t think he would have held on to third place.

  93. SSK, in hindsight, we should have gone lower on the mountain to a steeper section, but we were 125 meters from the finish. It was fun seeing the crazy international crowd but we had a much more enjoyable time (and better photos) at the top of a Cat 3 climb a few days earlier. The caravan throwing schwag at you is hilarious. We have great photos of Froome in yellow and and the last days of Rodriguez in the mountain jersey. I’m sad that Purito lost the mountains jersey, I was really rooting for him.

  94. Lauren, I did not know there is a Four Seasons in Palo Alto, so I googled it, and found that it’s located in Whiskey Gulch, which used to be the gateway to East Palo Alto, which at the time was a high crime area we were warned to stay away from.

    The urban renewal in that area is quite remarkable.

  95. L, what does that kid normally use when riding in your cars? That seat might be most comfortable, especially on the plane.

    Besides that, pro of the car seat is that it’s probably safer, although that depends on the exact seats (my kids’ first booster seats were like big car seats, with the five-point harnesses).. You’re also less likely to run afoul with law enforcement if you will be traveling to somewhere where a car seat is mandated by law.

    I’m guessing if the kid is at the cusp of moving from car seat (rear-facing?) to booster, the booster will be similar to my kids’ first, and take about the same amount of time to install and be even more of a pain to lug through airports (no nice handle for carrying).

  96. “Now one wants to and will soon be able to sit in the front passenger seat.”

    And in another figurative blink of an eye will be sitting in the other front seat.

  97. BTW, I recommend letting the kid sit in the front seat before starting to drive. It’s a different perspective than the back seat.

  98. “DH and I spent a few days in the French Alps and caught 2 stages of the Tour De France including the famous Alps D’Huez finish.”

    OOOooohhhh, I am so envious!!

    What were your vantage points? Were you on the side of the road on L’Alpe itself, between the switchbacks? Isn’t it incredible how fast they’re going up such a steep incline?

  99. L– I’m late, but my understanding is that a booster isn’t very helpful for a physically small kid. (I’m concerned more about kid size than age in my own decisions.) FWIW, I bought a lighter, cheaper carseat that we have used several times because it’s still safe, but its’ easier to lug through airports. (The buckles and adjustments are a royal pain, but because it’s for a short vacation, it suits our purposes just fine.)

  100. L, we bought the Cosco scenera car seat for travel since it has a five point harness but only weighs 9 pounds. Much easier to get through the airport than the 29 pound britax.

    And check the car seat law at your destination: in my state the child has to meet an age *and* a weight requirement.

  101. Be aware that you will only be allowed to use the booster or carseat on the actual flight if it has the FAA approved sticker on it. Of course, if you are planning to gatecheck the booster, that doesn’t apply. We were stuck once having to hold a baby in our laps despite having paid for a seat because no one could find the sticker quickly enough. It was on the seat of course, and we found it later.

  102. What Mooshi said.

    The stickers on our car seats tended to curl and peel off the seats due to the heat they endure while sitting in the car parked in the sun. I learned to use Scotch tape to tape them to the seat to prevent that, and to always check the stickers before we headed to the airport.

Comments are closed.