Are you a savvy traveler?

A couple leans out a train window while traveling.
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Travel is many things, but it's rarely simple. However with some planning, you can make your trips — whether a quick weekend getaway or a month in Europe — much smoother. How much do you know about traveling?

Question 1 of 11

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A hotel concierge runs the phones
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What's your best resource for local information when you arrive in a new city?

While you can ask waiters and cabdrivers or search the Internet (provided it's free, works well at your destination and there's info available in English), it's your hotel concierge's job to know everything about the city and help you access it as an outsider. Even if your hotel doesn't have an official concierge, speaking with the owner or manager is the best way to get reliable information. 

Question 2 of 11

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A mother and daughter playing in autumn leaves.
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What is the shoulder season?

You can often find good deals (while still enjoying great weather) by traveling during shoulder season, which is the time betwen high (expensive) season and the off-season at a destination. For example, the shoulder seasons in Europe are April-May and August-September. 

Question 3 of 11

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A man shakes a cocktail shaker at a bar.
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Are package deals (a combo of flights, hotel and car rentals or meals) a good idea or a ripoff?

While not guaranteed to save you money, packages are usually a good deal because airlines and hotels offer lower prices to the bookers or travel agents who put them together. Generally, these are prices that aren't available to the public.  

Question 4 of 11

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A couple waits at a quiet airport.
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What are the two cheapest days for air travel?

The least-busy (therefore cheapest) days to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday. Vacationers tend to leave on weekends and business travelers like Mondays and Fridays for their trips. That leaves the middle of the week for lower fares. If you can book a trip to leave on Tuesday and return on Wednesday, you will get an extra day at your destination while still flying for less. Bonus: You are more likely to get an upgrade or the seat of your choice.

Question 5 of 11

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Security screening at the airport.
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Which one of these is not an expedited security program for trusted travelers?

Global Entry is the U.S. Custom and Border Control's trusted traveler program. SENTRI is Border Control's program for people traveling between the U.S. and Mexico, and there's also NEXUS for travel between the U.S. and Canada. Pre-Check is the TSA's trusted traveler program.

Question 6 of 11

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Cat in a suitcase
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What's the best way to pack clothes in a suitcase?

Pack shoes at the bottom of your bag and tuck socks and undies inside them. To both maximize space and reduce wrinkles, roll all your clothes into logs. Shirts can be folded in half and then rolled, or not folded and simply rolled in a long, skinny tube, then fit into edge spaces. Roll thin skirts or dresses around thicker ones to keep lighter materials from wrinkling. Do not pack your cat.

Question 7 of 11

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Lost luggage
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If your airline loses your luggage, what should you be sure to do?

Most missing luggage is eventually found, though it could take some time to track down. But don't leave the airport without filing a detailed missing luggage report with your airline. Waiting to report your missing stuff means you're likely to forget important details they might need, or you could lose your baggage claim ticket.

Question 8 of 11

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Writing on paper
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What information should you carry with you (and keep a copy of in your bag) on paper?

You may not be able to rely on the Internet (it may be unavailable) or information booths (they might be closed). To keep multiple flights straight — especially useful if you end up with a shorter layover than you expect — carry numbers, times and gates with you. Also have the full name, address and local phone number of your hotel, and a copy of the ID page of your passport — or at least your passport number.

Question 9 of 11

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A woman looks nervous and holds her head when she flies.
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To avoid turbulence, what time of day should you book your flight?

Heat that rises from the Earth as the day warms can cause turbulence and thunderstorms are more common later in the day, so morning is the best time to fly bump-free. You are less likely to be delayed too.

Question 10 of 11

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A man steals a wallet from a woman's open purse.
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What should you do to avoid being pickpocketed?

You could be pickpocketed while traveling far from home or in your hometown. Keeping phones and wallets out of back pockets and backpacks is a good idea wherever you are. (You can carry extra layers, guidebooks and water in a backpack, but valuables are easy to steal from them.) Also, being aware — that means no headphones — and walking tall and confidently will make you look like less of a victim. 

Question 11 of 11

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Cash and cards
What's the best way to keep your money safe in a foreign country?

Using different sources of money and keeping them separate is smart when traveling. Do your homework, but most cities have ATMs from reputable banks with set rates, so you don't need to carry or exchange all your cash at once. Use a travel-protected credit card for lodging, transportation and other large purchases. Use cash for day-to-day activities. Have several cards as well as cash, and keep a spare card in your luggage in case you lose one. Report it lost or stolen as soon as possible.

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A couple leans out a train window while traveling.
Photo: CandyBox Images/Shutterstock