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Places To Go S2E11 – Travel Hacks – Cars and Lodging

in this episode I’m going to show you
all the steps I do to rent a car down to the websites I use to the thought
processes and just every little nuance along the way so in our previous travel hacks episode
we seem to be using Paris as our point of search so we’ll continue that here
I’ve picked the Charles de Gaulle Airport again and you can type in Paris
or the airport code one thing to note it is always lesser expensive to rent a car
in say a downtown or to anywhere away from the airport the airport always
charges a premium price but the airports more convenient if you’ve flown there so
I tend to just go ahead and do that but I’m going to pick Charles de Gaulle
Airport terminal 1 I’ve picked the I’m gonna pick the 21st through the 27th
of August and if you notice it’s got 12 noon as my pickup time but 9:00 a.m.
is my drop-off ideally you basically were paying for that car
for in 24 hour increments so you know I I always try to figure out when do I
really need to drop it off and then I back into it and hopefully that that
somewhat aligns with when I’m actually picking it up so in this case I’m gonna
go ahead and tell it 12:00 noon for a pickup and 12 noon for
a drop-off click show offers so you’ve got options as such as vehicle category
seats and everything but you’ll see some of these for unlimited kilometers I can
get a little small car for $14.99 a day that’s just really incredible you don’t
typically see car prices for that inexpensive in the United States I’m now
gonna go to auto Europe and do the same search and Charles de Gaulle and then
I’m going to pick August the 21st a noon pickup time August the 27th a noon drop-off time and
one thing to note most rental car companies will give you one hour being
late that’s not one hour and one minute that’s
just one hour okay so here we go find your car and in the case of them
they’re actually given rather than giving me the price per day they’re
giving me the total price so if I go back over to sixt you know I can go
pick a car and show that as well so we’ll pick a a compact car and
I’ll go over to sixt and do the same thing I’ll say show me the they’re
giving me different options and so I’m getting like a Peugeot 308 here so let’s
see what a Peugeot 308 which is what they’re showing this here so we’ll pick
that so in the case of this I can pay online or I can pay later if I pay later
I can cancel for free on sixt. It’s $8.82 cents to pay later
though there’s an extra charge and that charge varies it’s based on the rental
so basically if I pay now I can go ahead and save some extra money so I can
select this it’s a $177.05 for those dates whereas it’s a $181.10 over here for
that same car and we’re just going to see what they come out to with taxes and
everything. On Sixt it says taxes are included but notice they have this GPS
guaranteed for $12.92 per day so I don’t want that. $12.92 a day would be very
expensive after this rental and in the case of auto Europe it’s $181.10 but one thing to note I can call Auto Europe and
mention this and that you know get a quote from them and they’ll typically
it’ll typically be less than this and especially if I bring up the fact that
sixt is actually less than them so there’s some play in this and you can
really work it out well “hey Sir, how can I help you?” “oh yes I have a
reservation.” “last name?” “that’s Griffith first name is Matt.” “great, OK we’ve got you in a
full-size today would you like to do an upgrade today for a small fee?” “no I’m
good with what I’ve got.” often they’ll try to do an upgrade for
you it’s just a way for them to make more money and rarely is that upgrade
actually more value what you bought online the rate that you got online is
almost always the cheapest rate. “okay and we have a special today actually that
you can get GPS added to this for just five bucks per day.” “Uh, no thanks.” often
they’ll try to upgrade you on GPS and it’s anywhere from five to fifteen
dollars a day which I personally think is ridiculous because after a week of
renting the car you could have bought the GPS yourself and the thing is on
midsize and full-size cars almost all of those cars these days already have GPS
in them and so the thing is is they’re just gonna rent you a car that already
has a GPS in it and get more money out of you for that GPS that they would have
gave you for free otherwise. Economy cars sometimes they have GPS as well but you
know what if they don’t you have a phone everybody has smart phones these days
and you have either Google Maps or Apple Maps or some other kind of map on it and
those maps rock, so save yourself some money. “And we’ve got four insurance
packages the basic ones just twenty bucks per day should I go ahead and put
you down for that?” “No thank you, I already have car insurance, I live in
the United States so you know we’re required by law to have car insurance
and my car insurance covers these rental cars.” The insurance that they sell you is
probably the biggest scam available because if you live in the United States
and you have a driver’s license you’re required by law to have car insurance!
Well the thing is is your car insurance covers you on any car you drive, even a
car rental, even your friend’s car, so save your money because you’re just
duplicating that insurance. “You do live in the United States and yes you are
required by law to have it, you got me sir, you got me. Alright but I’m gonna
assume you want us to fill it up with our gas when you bring it back right?” “no,
I’ll bring it with the gas already in it.” when you return your car you they expect
you to return it full but they do offer to fill it up for you and the thing is
you’re not paying normal gas prices it’s usually double if not triple and you’re
looking at six, seven, eight bucks a gallon for them to fill it up. Save
yourself some money. “Alright so we’ve got you with no GPS no insurance you’re
gonna fill it up with gas yourself and you’re gonna stick with the full-size — but hey look and this car actually does have its own GPS so you’ll
get that included for free. Is there anything else I can do for you?” “no that’s
good.” “great, okay we’ll have an attendant bring it around.” “Sounds good, thank you
very much.” And when renting a car in Europe things are similar but just a
little bit different… “Bonjour.” “Hello. Do you speak English?” “eh, yes, I speak English. What do you want?” “I have a car reservation.” “okay…Name?” “is Griffith first name is Matt.” “Matthew, yes we have you
here with the full size car. Is that correct?” “That’s correct.”
“And would you like an upgrade today for your big American ass?” “Wow. No thank
you…” uh actually the upgrades are always just something that allows them to make
more money. You’ve got the best deal online. “And I assume you do not know how
to drive so I will put you in an automatic car for a small fee.” “Uh, no a
manual’s fine.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” a lot of times they’ll try to get you to upgrade
to an automatic. If you rent a manual manual is always the cheapest and in
Europe, golly, probably 90-95% of the cars are manual
transmission and you will pay a premium for an automatic transmission. Now most
people in the United States don’t know how to drive manuals anymore but if you
do you can save a lot of money and if you are going to get an automatic you
should have rented it online that way because that’s gonna be the cheaper
place to get it. They’re always always gonna pay more at the car rental place.
“And you will want GPS because your people know nothing of geography?” “No I’m
good with, I have GPS on my phone.” “Uh, very well.” and again your car’s probably gonna come
with GPS. Car rental places almost always get their cars with GPS so that they
don’t have to actually give you an extra GPS. And you have a smartphone – use it! “Yes, okay and you are definitely NOT in America now, so you want to purchase one
of our lovely insurances?” “No I’m good I have, my credit card actually has
insurance.” “Your credit card?!” “my credit card.” if you rent this with a say a Visa
signature card and if you look down by the logo it’ll say signature on it,
most visa cards are signature cards. Those cards will actually cover you on
your car rental and the best way to prove this is just go to and you can read all the terms. And it actually explicitly tells
you if you get their car rental insurance then Visa will will not cover
you, they only cover you if they are the only rental insurance on it. “And I
assume you will be using as much gas as possible because your people care
nothing of the environment so we will fill it up for you when you’ve
returned.” “No I’m good. I’ll bring it back full.” Again they’re gonna charge you
an astronomical fee for returning the car with less gas and them having to
fill it up you’re gonna be paying two maybe three times what gas normally
costs. “Very well you are all set. I hope you have an adequate stay in our country.”
“Thank you very much.” “Americans.” and if renting in Europe, don’t forget to
familiarize yourself with their road signs as many are different than they
are in the United States the most important thing I want you to
take away from this car rental segment is you don’t need the insurance. Do you
have that? Ya don’t need the insurance the two sites I use the most when I’m
booking a place to stay is trivago and Airbnb and it doesn’t really matter
where I’m staying in the world both of those sites work really well. Trivago
while it’s owned by Expedia still looks up and all of its
competitors so it seems to be fairly transparent and it will actually show
you the aggregation so say there’s a like there’s a hotel I stay at in
Germany, it will show me all of the different booking sites such as Expedia Orbitz whatever the case may be even
sites you haven’t even heard of and show the prices for each. And one thing you
want to be careful of is making sure that if one might come with breakfast
and one may not so you want to evaluate that but it’s a fantastic site now I
will say that I prefer Airbnb when I can get a place that is economical because
there’s nothing like having a place where you have say a kitchen and a
living room… makes you feel more at home. so and now of course not all Airbnb’s
have that but yeah many do and you sometimes find a really neat cute place
that way. So let’s continue our search and we’ll do one, we’ll continue to use
Paris. So I’ve put Paris in let’s pick the 21st through the 27th two person and I’ll do the same thing for air B&B.
So we’re gonna say Paris and Airbnb has started doing something called
experiences so so I want to choose places to stay versus the experiences.
And I’ll pick my dates and we’re doing the 21st through the 27th. I’ll pick my
guests which will be two as what’s we’ve picked for the the other site… and you
can pick the type of place with Airbnb you have options of entire place, private
room, a hotel room or a shared room. I usually will try to pick entire place
first because that’s where you’re gonna get a usually a little bit more posh
place and click Save. Now under more filters you have options for like how
many beds because maybe there are four of you traveling but maybe two of you
are gonnabe sleeping in the same bed and the other two need their own individual
beds so you can actually choose that under more filters. But in the case of
here I’ve already found a place that’s $56 a night it says it’s a charming
apartment near Batignolles, I probably butchered that and we’ll
probably have a bunch of comments saying that I did. So in the case of trivago I
have places that are $119, $81, $87. of
course you can sort by price so so right now sorted by their recommendations… so
I’m gonna sort by price and recommended. and I’ll probably get something new so
basically they start at 81 here on trivago. Now another site worth checking
out is because sometimes you’ll find deals on that
for whatever reason aren’t on here. So is a place where I’ve booked
a lot with because has a rewards program where every ten nights
you stay you get a free night, and that free night is based on the averages of
those ten stays. So in the case of trivago where they’re showing all these
different sites like this first one shows hotel website which is the actual
hotel’s website that you can book through, and travel up and
then says more deals from $80, so I’m going to click that more deals and it
will show me what other options there are. And as I see here I’ve got for $81.And so in the case of that I would rather book
with that because that’s getting me that much closer to a free night. So and one
thing to keep in mind with that free night, I never use the
free night for a hotel that costs less than my free night. So if my free night
is valued at say $92 I wouldn’t use my free night
to pay for this hotel because I’m missing out on 10 bucks because that’s
forever gone. I would rather get a hotel that’s say a hundred dollars and just pay
the difference because I got the full value of that money. Now if I come back
over to Airbnb this $56.00 place I can scroll through the photos and it is
looks like a cute little place. So here’s a place more comparable to the price of
the one on trivago says beautiful studio in the 11th district of Paris and the
photos look great. Wow looks like it’s got great views too.
So things like that are these are little gems that you can find on Airbnb that
are someone’s at their home or maybe they’ve basically have one or two extra
homes that they fixed up to for the purpose of running out as you know extra
income. So they they tend to have them dressed up really well. So I’ve had very
good success with Airbnb it’s one of my favorite places to book through. Now if you’re
traveling from the u.s. to Europe or vice versa
one other thing you’ll need for your hotels is a converter and you’ll need a
different converter depending on where you go. So for instance this is a
converter that will convert Europe plugs back to the US plug. This is a plug that
will convert a US plug to a Europe plug and this one it’s a little bit bulkier
is used in the United Kingdom so it’s the one place that’s different in Europe.
But yet will convert your plug your u.s. plug to this. It’ll also actually do
the Europe plug so this Europe plug can plug right in here as well.
Another thing that I have that I keep in my bag and I’ve been doing this for
years and because when you go to hotels even hotels in the United States a lot
of times an outlet’s kind of hard to find they might only have one or two
outlets and you’re like really?! we live in an electronic age! So I
keep a little mini travel surge strip and so this one has three outlets and a
USB port. What I do is I’ll plug my Europe adapter on the end of that and
now it makes this whole outlet able to plug in so now I’ve got with one outlet
I’ve got three outlets plus a USB to be able to charge you know say my iPad my
iPhone and whatever other accessories I have, a
camera maybe needs batteries charged. So or if you’re traveling with somebody it
lets them charge theirs as well .So and these are wonderful at an airport. When
you go to an airport a lot of times all the outlets that are available are all
consumed by people. You can usually walk up and ask somebody hey do you mind if I
unplug your phone and plug this in and that can plug your phone back in this?
And they’re usually more than willing to do that. So plus now you’ve made an extra
person happy and maybe even another person because you’ve got essentially
four ways to charge with this. And these are relatively inexpensive you can buy
these on Amazon and these little adapters can also be bought on Amazon.
These are really inexpensive on Amazon. Another thing I like to bring along with
me is a little cigarette lighter plug that has two USB ports in it. I have a
few of these I’ve got I’ve even got one that I think has four of them in it and
it’s a little bit larger when it comes out but… I tend to like these smaller
ones because sometimes the cigarette lighter in the car is in an obscure
place and doesn’t have a lot of room around it. And the other reason why I
have so many is because I sometimes forget to take them out of the rental
car when I return it so I end up losing it… but oh you know this is an Audi so it
obviously has USB ports in it as do most new cars. But a lot of economy cars do
not and if you’ve got a little bit of older car that you’ve rented it may not.
So by just having something this small in your bag to take with you it
guarantees that you always have a place to charge your phone in your car and if
you’re using GPS for the GPS and your phone for your car then as you know GPS
burns your battery like crazy so this allows you to keep charging while you’re
driving. So on standalone GPS’s I bought a TomTom 930 back in 2009.
Now I’ve just started in the past couple of weeks getting notices from TomTom
that it no longer will accept their map updates,
that they’re just not compatible and you might say well it’s ten years old… so you
can’t expect that thing to last forever but keep in mind that I have a co-pilot
app on my phone that I bought in 2010 that still works and I still get updates
for it. And they don’t cost me anything and that’s nine years old. And of course
one other thing to note is most people don’t keep a phone for nine or ten years. They break you drop them whatever the case may be or you just want the next
newest thing so anything you have for that you’re always getting something new.
That TomTom GPS that I bought back in 2009 just stopped working about four
years ago so I bought this one four years ago. Well the thing is is
because I have Google Maps Apple Maps I have the copilot Maps on my phone I just
don’t have a need for this so I don’t use it and most of the time when I get a
car rental anyway it has a GPS already in it. So this was I want to say I
think a hundred and seventy some dollars the one before that was two hundred and
fifty. These are just honestly a thing of the past

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