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Helpful holiday travel tips

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Thanksgiving is behind us, now comes Christmas and New Years.

If your plans have you traveling, we've got some tips that could save you both time and money.

Traveling during the holidays is stressful. Just ask my co-worker who recently traveled with his 1-and-a-half-year-old daughter. They almost didn't make their flight because they didn't have proof of her identification. If you are traveling with children under two years old, you need an ID for them. It's a valuable lesson for all of us along with these tips from Dave Blew with Bayless Travel.

"Patience is the name of the game," Blew said. "Avoid the crowds by getting there two hours ahead of time. Have your ID readily available."

Travelers also should get ready to take off their coats and shoes when they go through security, Blew said.

But the process leading up to your big send off can be a little more flexible if you know what to ask when you start to book your trip.

First, you may want to skip booking online. A phone conversation to a hotel or rental car company can sometimes get you a better rate, just by asking. Plus, not all online deals are legitimate, Blew said.

"We even have people call who have checked online and say I found a flight to Paris for $50, can that be true?" said Blew . "A lot of times we've found there's a hidden catch to it or something like that, so it's always good to get a second opinion."

Next, drop names. Ask if your memberships to groups like AAA or Sam's Club entitle you to a discount. You'd be surprised to find what agencies will honor certain memberships.

Mention your frequent flier status--even if it's in a different airlines program, the carrier may honor your elite status once you fax over proof of earned points.

And lastly, be friendly. When you check in with an airline or a hotel, smile and ask for a freebie. You can often get free upgrades or even drink coupons.

"It never hurts to check if there are deals out there," Blew said. "You may come upon a deal that because of where you grew up or something may give you a discount. You never know it never hurts to check."

And one last tip, dial direct. Use local numbers rather than "800" ones because on-site staffers know what's going on in town and whether they have any special offers.

Originally aired: 11-28-07

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