Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.
This week’s episode is part of our new series called “This or That,” where the NerdWallet travel team compares different ways to travel.
Check out this episode on any of these platforms:
The travel Nerds have all sorts of opinions on when to get to the airport ahead of a flight, what sorts of upgrades or perks are most valuable to them — and of course, whether to check a bag or go carry-on only. In this episode of Smart Money, the travel Nerds answer some lightning-round questions on their takes.
The throughline? They all want to save money. Travel writer Elina Geller does that by opting for chain hotels, instead of boutique hotels, so she can redeem hotel points for an award stay. Sally French and Sam Kemmis, both travel writers, avoid extra fees on flights by not checking bags and choosing their seat. And editor Meghan Coyle has been known to rely on friends and loved ones to get her to the airport for free and will literally walk outside of the airport to catch a cheaper rideshare.
No matter what your strategy is for saving on travel, aim to earn perks that you’ll use frequently or for a longer period of time. For example, Elina and Sally usually prefer hotel room upgrades rather than seat upgrades on a flight, because they’ll get to enjoy the experience for longer and maximize the value of their points.
- Don’t pay extra fees. Seat selection and checked baggage fees are avoidable if you don’t mind sitting in a middle seat or packing light.
- You shouldn’t feel rushed at the airport. Flying can be stressful, but you can cut down some hassle with lounges, TSA PreCheck or just getting to the airport early.
- Book a hotel that matches your vacation style. If you’ll be gone all day and just need a place to sleep, location is probably more important than amenities. If you plan on sitting by the pool and never leaving the resort, book one that’ll keep you comfortable and entertained.
Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.
The article Smart Money: ‘This or That’: Lightning Round originally appeared on NerdWallet.