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Planning Your Next Vacation

When getting ready for your next vacation, you can keep costs and hassles to a minimum with a little advanced planning and preparation. The following tips will help make your next trip a fun and relaxing experience from beginning to end.

Maximize frequent flyer miles

Travelers can get a big value lift by maximizing airlines’ frequent flyer programs. Identify which airlines partner together, such as those in the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, Aerom√©xico, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Korean Air. Members of alliances have agreements in place that allow passengers to earn and redeem miles on flights with any of the carriers in the alliance. That means travelers flying with Continental, for example, can designate that the miles earned on the flight go into their Delta SkyMiles account.

To further your travel perks, book hotel and car rental accommodations with companies that have partnerships with the airline on which you earn your frequent flyer miles.

Research destinations and fares in advance

Travelers can save on travel costs by researching airfares and destinations early. This will give plenty of time to book accommodations and organize documentation without last-minute charges. If you are traveling to another country, it is important to know what paperwork and identification you will need before you depart. Be sure your passport is up-to-date and research visa and health information pertaining to specific destinations. If you are visiting several foreigndestinations, look into special fare packages offered by alliances.

Pack smart

Travel light. Bring pieces that are easy to layer for comfortable transitions from daytime to evening and from outdoors to indoors.

Dress for security

When traveling through the airport, dress with security in mind. Wear slip-on shoes with little or no metal in them and minimal jewelry. Keep your boarding pass and identification easily accessible.

Prepare for the journey

Bring along reading materials and other entertainment, such as crossword puzzles. Also be sure to pack snacks and water to keep hydrated throughout your travels. While at the airport, take advantage of airport lounges, such as Northwest’s WorldClubs, to relax in before your trip. Passengers without the ticket class or frequent flyer status to access lounges can often purchase a one-day lounge pass.

When you’re packing for your next vacation, don’t forget to pack in those frequent flyer miles.