greenbergPeter Green Berg, the CBS News Travel editor is known for his fast-talking wit and his unabashed love of travel. Greenberg travels extensively, always looking for deals and ideas for the rest of us. I recently had the opportunity to hear Mr. Greenberg speak in person. His talk was both informative and fun as he cheerfully smacked the audience around a bit for our faulty travel habits.

Here’s what Greenberg thinks we get wrong.

We think Cuba has been isolated.

It hasn’t been isolated from the rest of the world, just Americans. That doesn’t mean that it has kept pace with other destination in terms of catering to tourism, just that we should not expect it to be a complete time capsule.

We stand in the wrong TSA line.

It is natural to assume that a TSA line with two workers either at the check-in podium or at the scanners would be the most efficient. Wrong! Two trainers means one of them is in training, slowing that line considerably. Avoid two-agent hot spots at all costs.

We are too fearful about where to go.

There really are very few places on the planet we should avoid completely. Almost any place you can get to via commercial transportation is safe.

We trust the US State Department.

It’s worthwhile to check the US State Department’s website before you travel outside the country, but don’t forget to check similar sites for other countries as well. Great Britain’s Foreign Travel Advice website is a good place to start.

We lack creativity about our destinations.

We fail to see beyond the tourist destinations being currently pushed by media, advertisements, and social media pages. He thinks we should look at a map and just pick someplace. Anywhere is better than staying home, right?

We have bucket lists.

The only list worth keeping is a list of places we have not ever been.

We book flights online.

Online, we can fall victim to pricing cookies and are often only shown flights and availability that the airline or travel website wants us to see. We also eliminate all possibility of getting a better deal than what the website shows simply by asking the right questions.

We don’t ask the right questions.

The mistake we make is starting off the booking conversation asking exactly what we think we want. A better option is to ask something like this,
“What is your lowest fare on any flight to any airport near Los Angeles from any Dallas airport on January 5?” that narrows things down, but leaves the airline agent the option to actually help you find a cheaper flight that still suits your needs.

We check bags.

Checking bags slows down the entire airport experience. Since checking bags almost universally costs extra now, why not ship your bags straight to your hotel and save the hassle and time wasted in the airport? This works well if you travel for business and time is money.

We buy the wrong travel insurance.

Never, ever, ever buy insurance from the airline or cruise line. There are better options and policies that provide better coverage than the carrier themselves. Carrier policies are also prone to escape clauses that gives them an out in certain circumstances. He prefers independent companies like his sponsor, MedJet Assist.

We forget about stopover destinations.

On distant flights, making a stopover part way not only helps you acclimate to new time zones faster, but can often be a cost effective way to add extra time to your trip. This article can help you get started:

We forget that we have airline choices.

We tend to think only about the big airlines that we know well, or the ones that we have the most points with. Thinking outside that box leads us to airlines with often better service and lower prices than America’s Big Four. He especially likes Etihad, which has been expanding service in the U.S.

We elect leaders who don’t even have passports.

This is a sensitive subject for Greenberg. Because travel is the only real way to gain an understanding of the world, it is imperative that we elect leaders that have traveled enough to have some level of that understanding.

We don’t travel enough.

We leave vacation days unused. We opt for staycations. And we don’t teach our children to travel. Travel opens our eyes to the world we live in and