black / girl / abroad

Gaming the travel system

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Skitterphoto / Pixabay

It’s weird to think that there’s a “system” to travel, an eye in the sky that coordinates and controls all our travel, an illuminati of travel. That’s not quite what I’m gonna get into, but it’s more this idea that there are many layers of planning travel and executing on it effectively, from evaluating the safety, laws, and visa requirements / treatment of foreigners in a country you want to visit, to how you’re going to get there, to where you’re going to stay, to how you’re going to navigate it once you’rethere. A key driver in your ability to do any of this is simply — paying for it. And, once you have the money, where to book your travel, and how to navigate the logistics of travel efficiently and cost-effectively.

I’ve definitely posted and plan to post on various elements of this “system,” but I’m no pro and I don’t have a million miles in my airline membership accounts, etc. I don’t run a whole website with multiple staffers researching and experiencing and posting their analysis on any of this stuff. But there are, blissfully, sites that do! And many of them I check as part and parcel of what I’m doing, to stay in touch with trends, important alerts and changes, and new ways to get the most for money and enable myself to travel as much as possible with the least amount of difficulty/effort.

To that end, sites I use that you might find useful:

  • thepointsguy.com: His tagline says it all – “Maximize your travel.”
  • seatguru.com: Confirm the seat details for all of the world’s airlines and aircraft models and find the ideal seat on your flights.
  • flyertalk.com: Hear from other frequent flyers as they share data points and help each other configure logistics. For example, discover how to navigate a certain route if you have a broken foot, how to deal with customs / immigration in a given airport, which hubs are known for what in a given region domestically or internationally — all the inside secrets, community-sourced.

I’m sure there are more but these are just the ones I tend to visit more often. Post your own ideas in the comments!

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