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Travel Questions You May be Too Embarrassed to Ask


Wondering how much you should tip travel vendors at hotels in Singapore? Want to know if you can check luggage when taking a train? Is it even possible to get approved for a frequent flyer credit card when your credit isn’t so hot? If you’re too embarrassed to ask these more-common-than-you-realize travel questions, read on for the answers.

How much should I tip?

Most people know to tip between 15% and 20% at a restaurant, but what about on a sightseeing tour or when your hotel concierge goes above and beyond? The answer will vary depending on where you’re visiting. The iPhone app GlobeTipping will help you figure out how much you should tip a variety of vendors at your location. Guidebooks and advice from locals will be helpful, too. If you notice a suggested tip amount from the actual vendor, you can probably go a bit under that amount.

Can you check luggage on a train?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no,” although that would be a nice amenity for trains to offer in the future. In the good ol’ days, you could check your luggage, but today you have to drag everything along with you. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time on trains, you can store your suitcases on the shelves at the end of each car.

I have bad credit. Can I still get a frequent flyer credit card?

The answer really depends on the credit card. Most of the time, your FICO score needs to be over 700 in order to be approved, but there are some cases where people with a score of under 700 are still able to open a new card. The more debt you have, regardless of your FICO score, the less likely you are to be approved for a credit card. To quickly increase your chances of being approved, lower your outstanding balances as soon as possible.

Will anyone speak English?

For the most part, someone will speak English. Ideally, you should memorize simple conversational phrases when traveling to a foreign country. The good news is that you’re renting a car with a GPS, there will be a setting for English no matter where you are.

Can I use my miles even if I’m not planning on flying?

Yes! Frequent flier miles aren’t just for flying. You’ll be able to spend your miles on a host of things, from magazine subscriptions and concert tickets to rental cars and hotel rooms. You can even buy gift cards with your miles. So long as you’re happy with the redemption, who cares how you use your miles?

Is it safe to drink the water?

In first-world countries, the answer is “yes,” it’s safe to drink the water. In the rest of the world, particularly developing nations, you should double-check with your resort about the safety of their water supply. For more information, visit CDC.gov/travel, which has information about different country’s health guidelines and warnings. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s always okay to drink bottles water that’s sealed, carbonated drinks without the ice, hot coffee or hot tea, and milk that’s been pasteurized.

Never hesitate to ask a pressing travel question, especially if your well-being is at stake! Odds are that many other people have asked the same questions.

This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights and hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.

This post is by Hipmunk.