WARM UP TO "WAVE SEASON," WHAT CRUISE LINES CALL THEIR PEAK BOOKING PERIOD. According to Carolyn Spencer Brown, of Cruisecritic.com, "If you’re interested in getting a suite for less, start looking after New Year’s. January through March is the best time to get value-added extras like free airfare, or an upgrade to a suite or balcony cabin for around $100."
X MARKS THE SPOT. Locate speed traps (not that anyone is speeding!) in Europe on ViaMichelin.com. The site includes detailed maps with approximate driving times, up-to-date notations on roadwork, prices for tolls and gas—and the exact location of speed cameras along your route.
YES TO Y-UP FARES. A Y-Up fare is a special kind of seat category—sometimes also called a Q-Up or a Z—which can put you in the front of the plane for about half the price of a first-class ticket. Airlines describe the elusive code as either deeply discounted first-class or full-fare economy class with an automatic upgrade. Until recently, these fares were difficult to find; travel agents have always known about them but tend to be reluctant to suggest Y-Up tickets to customers because they usually cost about $100 more than a ticket for a full-fare coach seat. (Meanwhile, airlines don’t publicize them, because first-class ticket sales yield far more profit.) Last year, FareCompare.com, which tracks national and international fares from the U.S. and Canada, began publishing Y-Up prices on its Web site in an easy-to-navigate format.
ZIP PRECIOUS DOCUMENTS. You already know you should carry a copy of your passport and driver’s license. (How many of us actually do so is another story.) A surefire 21st-century solution: Make digital scans of your documents, then e-mail them to a Web-based account. Scan and save your ID’s with a zip program such as WinZip (www.winzip.com; $30), then e-mail yourself compact versions in a secure form, which you will be then able to retrieve from anywhere in the world.