Pop Quiz: Answers to 4 Tricky Travel Questions

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The holiday travel season soon will be here. In a very short time, you’ll join the masses as part of the annual exodus to visit family and friends.

To prepare you for happy trails, Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson has a special travel edition pop quiz. Can you answer the following four questions correctly?

Does the airline have to spring for a hotel room if you are stranded overnight?

Sorry. The answer is no. Sure hope you have a comfy bag to use as a pillow.

In our customer-is-always-right society, we’ve become accustomed to businesses catering to us. Therefore, you may logically think an airline should be expected to pay for a room and a cozy bed if it can’t fly you out of the airport on schedule.

However, what you think and what the government thinks are two different things. Here’s what the U.S. Department of Transportation says about canceled flights:

Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers waiting at the airport; there are no federal requirements …

Contrary to popular belief, for domestic itineraries airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled.

So there you have it: If your flight is delayed or canceled, you are on your own.

However, don’t let that stop you from asking. Airlines do business in a competitive market, so it’s in their best interests to keep you happy, particularly if you’re a returning guest and frequent traveler.

Can you cancel a booking if you have second thoughts?

Yes — if you act fast.

While the government apparently doesn’t care if you’re stranded in the airport, it does want you to be able to back out of an expensive mistake.

The DOT has a 24-hour reservation requirement that “requires carriers to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be canceled within 24 hours without penalty.”

Does a credit card’s rental car coverage typically apply to trucks and other large vehicles?

Unfortunately, no.

Dashing through the snow in a large pickup may seem like a smart idea when the roads are ice-slicked, but your credit card company probably won’t pay for the damage when you slide into the ditch. That’s because vehicle exclusions are a typical loophole in rental card insurance policies.

So, check your credit card’s terms and conditions before renting anything other than your run-of-the-mill sedan.

Can you negotiate hotel rates?

Absolutely. In fact, you should always attempt to negotiate hotel rates.

Yes, it may be harder to do during peak season, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Call the hotel directly and ask for its best rate. You may be surprised at what’s available.

Another strategy is to shop around, find a lower rate and then go back to your preferred hotel and see if it will match it. Finally, don’t forget to ask if any upgrades are available when you check in.

For more ways to save, check out “8 Tips to Slash the Cost of Hotel Stays.”

How did you do for this round? Share the glory of your perfect score or the agony of your wrong answers in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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