When making a car reservation at an airport, find the airport web site. They list all the available car rental agencies that are located there. You can use this to check for the best prices.
When making a car reservation at an airport, check all the car rental agencies that are available. While you may make a reservation at the one with the best price, keep track of 2 or 3 with the next lowest prices. This way if your first choice is not available for some reason, you know the prices of a couple other car rental agencies without spending a lot of time.
While visiting big cities, check on parking at the airport. Usually signage to find the airport is easy to follow. There is always cheap transportation (bus, train) into the city and this avoids having to drive and find a place to park in the city.
Always have 2 different credit cards available and make sure they are not carried in the same location. If your wallet, purse, or fanny pack is stolen, the other credit card should still be available. When traveling with someone else, make sure you each have credit cards with different numbers.
Have your credit card information available if the card is lost or stolen. I leave a list with family of the credit card information, including what phone number to call to report it stolen.
Make a copy of your passport and leave it with family back home. If needed, this could be faxed to you or officials in the event you passport is lost or stolen.
When you are walking in a strange city, always keep moving. Don't be a tourist by looking lost. Keep alert of where you are and where you want to go. If you have to stop and look at a map, get to an out of the way location. You can always turn around if you missed where you wanted to go.
Avoid anything that looks like a commotion, such as a fight or argument. Chances are this may be a distraction created by pick pockets. Besides, why should this be of any interest to you while traveling?
Using generic hotel reservation websites are fine for locating hotels in a general area, but always check the hotel website. They not only have specials, but usually a lot of information that is specific to their hotel and area. On occasion, the prices are even better.
When having someone take a picture of you (usually in front of a monumental landmark), always consider having a second or even third person do it. Some people are not as skilled at picture taking as others. This gives you the option of a couple picture choices.
A cheap way to eat is to go to a grocery store. Often they have prepared foods that you can get in smaller portions. Then you can find some place nice to eat such as a park bench.
In Europe, on Sunday and Monday a lot of places are closed. This includes a lot of museums on Monday. Check ahead, but also plan accordingly on doing outside sightseeing activities or make it a travel day.
In Europe, many grocery stores charge for shopping bags, even the cheap plastic kind. Bring your own or stuff some of the small bags they provide for free in the fruit and vege section.
As great as GPS is, after you enter your destination always look at the GPS map to make sure it is taking you where you want to go. Many areas have similar names but are definitely different destinations.
GPS does not pick up a signal in a parking garage and when you leave it can take a minute or 2 before the signal can give you directions. In the mean time you have to get on the street, get into traffic, and start driving. Before leaving a parking garage, stand at the exit (hopefully the one you're coming out of), turn on the GPS, and enter your next destination. This way you know the basic direction to start driving after leaving the parking garage and before the signal picks up.
When you enter a parking garage and receive the parking stub, write down the level/row/column location on the stub. Also, take some pictures in the garage as well as the entry/exit you came from so you can find the parking garage later (pictures like the garage name, street signs, or landmarks). After all, wouldn’t it be neat years later to see what the parking garage looked like?
If you are planning on using the car rental insurance that comes with the credit card you are using, verify with the car rental company if you need a letter from the credit card with their insurance information and limits. I had to purchase the car rental company insurance because I didn’t read the fine print on the rental agreement about this.
Take a trip before even leaving your house. Using your GPS, find your hotels and save them to your favorites before you leave. This way you can ensure the GPS map location matches the location on the hotel website map. Also, once you are there it allows you to know how far your hotel is from your current location so you can plan your driving accordingly.
After landing, try to turn your GPS on right away so it can get a signal for the country or state you are in. Sometimes this takes awhile so it is best to do this before you start driving.
Normally, an airport car rental is at the airport or very near. The return is also likely where you picked up the rental car. Before leaving the rental area, add the car rental location to your favorites so you can easily find it again on your return. Also, this allows you to know how far the rental car is from your last night’s hotel so you can plan your driving accordingly.
When you pick-up a rental car, take a couple pictures of it showing the color, make/model, and license plate (front, back, side). Comes in handy when the hotel wants this information on a registration form. But, also comes in handy if you're trying to find your car in a parking structure.
When you arrive at an airport, before you leave, try to find out your departure terminal for your return flight. This is handy when you return to fly back, especially if arriving at the airport on public transport. You'll know where you are supposed to be to get your flight.
Some miscellaneous things for me...