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Avoiding Trip-Spoiling Travel Mishaps

The small things that can make a big difference in your vacation.

You know -- scary hotels rooms, cramped seats -- things like that.

But they can be avoided, "Early Show" Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen explained to co-anchor Harry Smith:

One of the common things that happen is you book a hotel room you have this image in your mind of what the hotel room is going to be like and you walk in the door and, to say you are disappointed is an understatement. You go, 'Oh, my God -- this isn't what I expected. It's not what it looked like online."

There's a Web site called TripKick.com, which launched last year. It has 600 hotels and counting, from around the world. It has employees who go to hotels, stay in the rooms, then write reviews. They also talk to the housekeeping staff, the bellboys, etc. So, you can go that Web site and check out a hotel and find out things like, "This room is small and near the dumpster and really noisy." Or, "This is a great room; it's huge, with an awesome view."

One of the other things is you get your ticket and you realize you're in the middle seat of a middle seat of a middle seat. And it's so crazy. You're claustrophobic."

There's a Web site called SeatGuru.com. Ninety-five airlines are on it. You can go on and literally take your mouse and you just sort of run it along all the seats. And it will give you a review. Some are green which means it's a great seat. You can read why it's a good seat. Leg room, etc. You can find out if you are going to have a good movie. I once switched a seat because I found out I wasn't going to have good movie view!

Another thing: You're going on a long trip and will need long-term parking. How do you figure out where you parked, when you get back?!

Take a picture on your cell phone of where you parked. If you're in a hurry and forget to do that, most major airlines actually take a picture of your license plate when you park, or they have people who write down your license plate number. All you have to do is say, "I forgot where I parked." Instantly, if you tell them your license plate number, they'll tell you where you parked. They will actually drive you to your spot.

What are the chances of getting bumped from your flight, and what can you do about it?

A good rule of thumb: The last person who gets checked in probably the first person to get bumped. If you try to check in online and you can't get a seat assignment, that's a very bad sign. That means the plane is probably oversold, so you need to get to the airport early. You need to beg for a seat. Early, early, early is usually the best advice. If they do have to bump you and you don't want to be bumped, if they can get you to your destination within an hour, you don't get any compensation. It takes them two hours, you can be compensated, but not more than 200 bucks.



To write to Susan, click here

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