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I’m a travel expert. These are 5 things I would never do when planning a trip

Before booking your next trip, check out these tips from travel journalist Mark Ellwood.
/ Source: TODAY

Traveling is one of life’s great joys — from seeing new places to meeting people from another culture, seeing the wider world is something to be treasured. But even the most experienced travelers can find some moments stressful.

On May 8, travel journalist Mark Ellwood joined TODAY to talk about some of his best tips after a lifetime of living out of his own suitcase.

He offered five things he would never do if you want your trip to go off without a hitch.

1. Travel without insurance

Ellwood says that travel insurance is often very low cost and can save you in a pinch.

“It’s the same price as a cup of coffee per day, give or take, and buys you peace of mind when something goes awry," he said.

Ellwood notes many credit cards offer built-in insurance for any trips purchased on that card but he is also a fan of travelinsurance.com or insuremytrip.com. Both are marketplaces where you can shop around for the best plan.  

2. Overlook considering all airports

While it might not be the most convenient, Ellwood suggests checking the wider metropolitan area for flights at nearby airports.

“Look for airports nearby — you might score a deal better by searching for, perhaps, Stewart, New York, rather than Newark, (New Jersey)," he said. "Always check nearby airports to both your point of origin and destination.”

3. Exclude lesser-known carriers

“Don’t forget lesser-known carriers," Ellwood says, adding that Breeze Airways his is go-to carrier. He notes that Breeze's home bases are in the southeast and include the following:

“Don’t forget lesser-known carriers,” Ellwood says, adding that Breeze Airways his is go-to carrier. He notes that Breeze’s home bases are in the Southeast and include the following:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Fort Myers, Florida

4. Neglect geotagging luggage

There's no worse feeling while traveling than waiting for your luggage to appear on the baggage carousel, only for it to never materialize.

But geotagging your luggage can at least help you track it down.

“Geotag your luggage — whether AirTag or similar," Ellwood says. "You’ll always know where your luggage is ... or isn’t."

If your bag doesn't make it to your final destination, you can always tell the airline where it is to help them track it down. 

5. Think there’s a magic time to book a flight

Despite years of rumors, there's really no day or time that's best to book your travel.

“There is no magic day date time to score a deal," Ellwood says. "Instead, the best time is whenever you receive an alert that your route’s gone on sale."

The way to do this is to track your flights ahead of booking them. Ellwood suggests using Google Flights — just type in where and when you're looking to fly, then toggle the alert tab so you'll be notified of any changes.

"This allows you to watch how much it’ll cost and swoop in the moment an airline cuts the price when you want to fly," he says.