Airline passenger protections and cheap air tickets

In 2011, the US Department of Transport introduced a series of new regulations to offer greater protection to airline passengers. The intention is to improve the level of service actually delivered at airports and to achieve a better level of transparency on fares before you book. This is a brief summary of the new protections:
  1. Baggage loss. If a bag is lost, the airline is required to refund the fee charged for carriage, and to hold that reduced fee on any continuing or return flights. Compensation is also to be paid. Although this is not intended as a substitute for you carrying travel insurance, basic losses should be covered immediately when loss or damage is obvious. Compensation remains payable even if the bag is not lost but merely delayed.
  2. Looking at bumping. Despite the best efforts of regulators around the world, airlines continue to overbook, particularly when cheap air tickets are held. The new rules double the amount of compensation payable if you are denied a flight. If you cannot be delivered to your intended destination within two hours of the scheduled time, you're entitled to compensation of double the face value of the ticket up to a maximum $650 per ticket. But if the delay is longer, you're entitled to four times the face value of the ticket up to a maximum of $1,300 per ticket. These compensation amounts will be adjusted to stay in line with inflation every two years.
  3. Airline transparency. All airlines must list all the applicable charges on their websites for handling bags, providing meals, and so on. All government fees and taxes must be included in the ticket prices collected. Unless the government fees and taxes rise, the prices cannot be increased after you pay.
  4. Making ticket reservations. If you make a reservation for full-price or cheap air tickets, the quoted prices must be held for at least 24 hours. If you decide to cancel, the airline is not allowed to impose a penalty.
There was no variation of the tarmac delay rules. Secretary LaHood has been satisfied by the improvement in airline's performance although the new rules do require more disclosure on delays and cancellations to improve monitoring of the airlines.

Europe Budget Travel Tips

Full of history, great culture and beautiful architecture and natural landscapes, Europe is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, but it is also one of the most expensive. Finding a cheap flight is a good way to start saving money on your European trip, however once you are there, accommodation, food and transport costs can quickly chew through your budget.
Although Europe can be expensive, there are many ways to save money and travel this great continent even if you are a budget traveller. Here are some tips on how to travel Europe on a budget.
One of the best ways to save money in Europe is to stay in hostels. You may think that hostels are only for 20 something backpackers looking to party, but in truth there are hostel options for all types of travellers. The cheapest hostel rooms are known as dorms, where you get your own bed in a shared room that usually house from 4-10 people, as well as a shared bathroom. Most hostels also offer private rooms, some just as nice as a hotel room but at a much cheaper price.
Even cheaper than hostels, camping can be a great option. In Europe there is an excellent amount of convenient camp grounds, often even within major cities. And these camp grounds have excellent facilities such as bathrooms, cooking areas and shuttle buses to take you to the nearest town or city.
Last minute deals, multiple night stays and advanced bookings:
If you want to stay in hotels, there are still plenty of ways to save money. Often hotels will offer last minute deals if they have plenty of rooms available, and give a great discount. Many hotels also offer discounts for booking more than a certain amount of nights, while others offer discounts if you book well in advance. It's a good idea to look around on hotel sites and see what is available.
If you're staying in a certain city for a few weeks or more, renting an apartment can be a very affordable option. The longer you stay, the more options there are to save money. For example some apartments can be rented on a weekly basis, while others are monthly. This is also a great option if you are travelling with a few people to share the cost.
Cook your own:
If you are staying in a hostel, camping or renting an apartment, it is likely that you will have kitchen facilities available. Buying your food at a supermarket and cooking it your self will save you a lot of money. This doesn't mean that you have to eat every meal like this, but even one meal a day will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Eat local:
Eating where the locals eat can be a lot cheaper than eating where the tourists eat, and usually the food will be a lot better too. Often restaurants that are located close to tourist attractions will leave you with a hefty bill, while you may be able to walk a couple of blocks away and find a nice restaurant for half the price! Usually the locals know best.
Street food/take away:
It's not unusual to find different food carts or eateries located around a city, and they are a great option for saving money on food. For example: For only a couple of dollars you could buy a nice slice of Pizza in Rome, a Crepe in Paris, or a Bratwurst in Berlin.
Rail pass:
One of the best ways to travel in Europe is on the train, and a great way to save money on train fares is to buy a rail pass. There are many different passes available from single country passes to complete passes that allow you to travel all over the continent. It entirely depends on your trip, but a rail pass can literally save you hundreds of dollars.
Tourist passes:
Many cities in Europe have special tourist passes that you can buy, and they usually give you free use of their public transport systems, and also offer free or discounted entry to attractions and museums in the city.
Walking and cycling:
One of the best ways to see a city is on foot. You will always see more and have a great experience, it gives you lots of exercise and costs you absolutely nothing. Many European cities are also very bicycle friendly, and renting a bike for the day can be a great way to explore a city.
Budget airlines:
There are two great budget airlines in Europe, EasyJet and RyanAir, and together they fly all over Europe to most major destinations, and at excellent prices. This is a great option if you are short on time and want to travel faster or over larger distances.
Lease a car: If you are going to be travelling in Europe for an extended amount of time and want to hire a car, it can often be cheaper to lease a car instead. Many companies such as Peugeot lease cars for a certain amount of months.
Travel in Europe doesn't have to be as expensive as you might think, and if you use these tips, you are sure to save plenty of money on your trip through Europe.

Budget Travel Tips to Krabi

As much as we all love to travel, we also love to save as much money as we can while on the go. Be it on shopping, dining or even tours, saving money during a holiday is considerably a hard thing to do. Especially if you come from a more affluent country such as the West, because you tend to think everything is cheap even when it is not considered so in a local context.

Krabi, Thailand, is a hot tourist destination due to its cheap food, lodging and available tours. Apart from Krabi, there are also a number of popular holiday destinations in Thailand such as Phuket, Phi Phi, Surat Thani, Lanta, Pang Nga and Trang. These few places are constantly packed with travelers from all over the world. So how do you save your money and still get the best out of your vacation in Thailand?

Eat the Local Way
A fancy restaurant does not necessarily guarantee the quality of food. Head over to where the locals eat. Following the rule of thumb, if there is a crowd in a particular food house, then the food there should be good. After all, the locals know best.

Bargain, Bargain Bargain!
The locals can spot a foreigner easily especially if you are not of Asian descent. It's also very common for them to try their luck and jack up their sales price when they see a potential tourist-customer. So do not be deceived and put your bargaining skills to test. Never settle for the first price they offer you - always try to reduce or pretend to walk away if they refuse because it's very likely that they will call for you with a price that is way lower than the first one. But of course, you also have to be reasonable in the price you quote.

Go During Off-Season
If you visit Thailand between Jan and May or July to Nov, chances are you will get a free upgrade to bigger rooms without having to top up. Sometimes, hotel rooms are also cheaper than stated.

Walk or Rent a Bike
Forget taxis! If the place is near, then just walk there instead of flagging a cab. The streets of Krabi and Phuket are always filled with shops so it is not really a lonely and boring walk. Otherwise, rent a bike. Renting a bike is very common in Thailand and cheap too. You can check with your resort's front desk if they have any motorbike rental services. If they do not, then just walk out and you will definitely see at least one motorbike rental shop out there.

Make Friends with the Locals
You will be surprised at how willing the Thai locals are to share with you good places to eat, shop and stay. If you are lucky, they may even invite you for dinner and maybe stay over at their own house!