Traveling is one of those things. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
If you don't, the hassles of getting patted down by TSA, missing flights, losing luggage and discovering that your 4-star hotel is a 1-star motel will make you cry. I don't want that for you.
Trust me, I am such a frequent traveler that I have experienced almost every high of traveling and every low of traveling. Do you know why I love taking my family on trips? It's because I know how to make it enjoyable.
Note: Each week, I share tons of travel tips on my site. Click here to see my best advice on booking hotels, saving on flights, avoiding rental scams and more!
I've discovered little tricks and big tips over the years that help me avoid the headaches of getting from Point A to Point Z. I want to share these tips with you, so you can enjoy your vacation and get the most value for the money you're spending.
Here are five of my all-time favorite travel tips. Please be sure to read No. 4 - It could save you money and it will definitely give you peace of mind!
If you haven't used Google Flights, try it. In about two seconds, you have more information at your fingertips than a travel agent used to get after days of researching flights.
On one screen, Google Flights will show you the lowest priced flights to your destination. You'll get a Date Tip that shows you how much money you'll save if you book your trip for a different date.
Google Flights will also give you a little warning when prices will likely go up. Google uses algorithms based on past travel trends to alert you to price increases that are imminent. "Prices will likely increase in 3 days."
If you click on Learn More, here's an example of the insight Google Flights has about a trip: "Historically, 90% of the time the cheapest price on this route increased 13 days before departure by at least $19."
Have you seen people at the mall wearing virtual reality goggles? They walk around, flailing their arms at imaginary space ships coming their way or reaching for a glass of water that isn't really there.
With virtual reality, it just looks like it is. VR's cousin, augmented reality, is when a virtual world is placed on top of the real one, as with the video game Pokemon Go.
These days, you can use augmented reality to visit vacation destinations before you pay for a ticket. Have you ever arrived at a destination that you had dreamed of that didn't live up to the hype?
Maybe the lively crowds on the streets that you'd seen in photos are actually rambunctious throngs of people. Maybe the rustic cobblestone streets are smelly alleys.
Whatever the case, you've been disappointed and so have I. There's nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of money to sit in a faraway hotel room that makes you wish you were home.
Instead, test the tires before you spend your money. You can try apps like Google Street View or YouVisit.
If you're like me, technology sometimes blows my mind. Google Translate is one of those innovations.
Of course, we use it so often that we just expect to type in a foreign word or phrase and have it translated almost instantly into English. Just think about how amazing that is.
But translating words isn't the only thing Google Translate can do. It can also read signs in foreign languages. You capture the words on your phone, whether it's a street sign, the name of a restaurant or something else.
Then it translates the image of those foreign words into English. How did we travel before Google Translate?
SimpliSafe home security
One of the greatest innovations for travelers is internet-connected home security systems. The best ones include webcams, so you can see what's going on inside your home when you're away.
You can watch and listen to live streaming HD videos from our sponsor SimpliSafe's SimpliCam. You can see what's going on at home from any internet-connected device, like your smartphone or laptop.
SimpliCam alerts you when it detects motion in your house. So, you have the peace of mind that everything is safe at home when you're not there.
There are many companies out there that offer 24/7 monitoring services, but we like SimpliSafe best because, not only does it provide superb protection, you don't have to commit to a long-term contract!
In fact, you can protect your home and have peace of mind for as little as $15 per month. Click here to learn more about SimpliSafe's affordable 24/7 monitoring services.
One rental car mistake
If you're like me, you would have never imagined that you'd be talking out loud in your car to send text messages to your friends. Or that you're keeping track of your car from your couch so you can see where your teenager is driving.
You can also easily listen to streaming music and make phone calls without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. That's a safer way to drive than using your hands to dial or send a text.
That's thanks to Bluetooth. It's a wireless technology that connects your smartphone to other devices.
Warning! Be careful when you rent a car. The car's Bluetooth-enabled system could be keeping a record of the calls you make and copies of your contacts.
Before you return your rental car, go into its system. Choose Settings >> look for your smartphone, then delete it from the list.