3 travel tips I wish I’d learned a lot earlier

How to find the gas tank on the rental car. For most of my car-renting life I’d just guess as I drove up to gas station—and usually, I’d guess wrong. I didn’t know that the little gas pump icon on the fuel gauge tells you which side the tank is on. Either there’s a little arrow pointing the way, or it’s on the same side as the hose on the icon.

Don’t leave for the airport hungry. In the unlikely event you’ll have time to eat—the worst delays always happen when you’re already starving—you’ll wind up paying a small fortune for something nasty. Becoming a mom taught me the importance of many things, including the need to have a good meal before you travel and to carry lots of healthy snacks.

It pays to be loyal. Until I read Joel Widzer’s “The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel,” I usually went for the cheapest flight, hotel and car rental. Widzer showed me the value in concentrating my travel with one airline (and its partners), one or two hotel chains and one or two car rental outfits. I still pay competitive rates, but now I get lots of extra perks like early boarding, easier upgrades, free breakfasts and free hotel nights. A recent score: I booked a compact car at Enterprise, and wound up in a G-35. Sweet.

I'm going to head out and check the little icon on my gas gauge! Did you know that is how it worked? Great travel tips, Liz. Thank you.