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The five best travel tips to take into the new year

As we begin the new year, you may have already started planning your 2022 getaways. Here's some of the best travel tips we learned this year to help you prepare.

As 2021 comes to an end, I looked back on the best travel tips I learned this year and narrowed it down to my top five. So let’s countdown… 

Starting at number five: use an airline credit card instead of a bank credit card to build up points. 

"You swipe your credit card, you earn your points, and then when it comes down to it, three months, six months, a year down the line, when you're ready to redeem, you just send them directly from the credit card to the airline or hotel of your choosing," said Zac Griff from The Points Guy.

Many credit card companies are offering pandemic-era point bonuses to sign up for their cards. Some are offering as high as 100,000 points. 

Moving to tip number four: look into what documents you need to acquire a real ID, if you choose to get one. 

"It's a great time to just sit down and figure out the documents that you have," said Diego Sandino with PennDOT. "If you have them all—great. But if you do need to replace one of those documents, it's a great time to do that so you're not in a rush before that deadline hits." 

The Real ID deadline isn’t until 2023. However, if you’re serious about getting one, it doesn’t hurt to start now. 

Tip number three is to pack healthy snacks full of antioxidants when traveling. 

"I like to pack dark chocolate, walnuts, berries, for the plane," said health and wellness expert Nora Tobin. "I pack my coffee, things that are going to be rich in antioxidants, delivering those powerful nutrients but without having to go search for them when you're traveling." 

Tip number two: Book your flight in the “Goldilocks window” to get the best rates. 

“This is a period in advance when cheap flights are most likely to pop up" said Scott with Scott’s Cheap Flights. "Not too early, not too late, right in the middle." 

For domestic flights, Scott recommends booking one to three months in advance if traveling domestically and two to eight months if traveling internationally.

For the number one travel tip of the year, make sure to talk to the locals wherever you travel.

"Start talking to them," said author Karen Gershowitz, who has traveled to more than 90 countries. "The locals are the people that are going to tell you about the really odd, unusual things that you would never find on your own."

Plus, if you’re trying to stay within budget on your vacation, locals know where the inexpensive or free events are around the area. 

Make sure to stay travel smart in 2022 by using these tips when preparing for your vacations this year. 

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