Booked the Wrong Flight? Here's How to Switch Your Plane Ticket Without Paying a Fee

iStock.com/MStudioImages
iStock.com/MStudioImages

Making travel plans for the holidays is stressful enough, so when you learn that you booked your flight for the wrong date and you have to pay $200 to change it, you may be tempted to stay home until the new year. But switching a flight after you've already paid for it doesn't have to be expensive. With some insider knowledge, you can rearrange your travel plans while avoiding the extra fees all together.

If you haven't booked your flights for the holidays yet, start by selecting an airline that will grant you some flexibility. According to Free, Delta, United, and American Airlines are all on the high end when it comes to cancellation fees, charging $200 or more if you want to switch your flight. Allegiant and JetBlue charge some of the smallest fees—as low as $75 depending on your ticket—and Southwest charges customers nothing at all even if they cancel the day of their flight.

There's one exception to these policies that affects all airlines flying out of the U.S.: the 24-hour rule. If you buy a ticket for 11/12 only to realize you meant to book it for 12/11, you're entitled to a full refund mandated by the Department of Transportation, as long you booked at least seven days ahead of the departure date. All you need to do is request a refund within 24 hours of making the mistake to get your money back.

If the 24-window has already passed, check to see if your credit card offers trip cancellation insurance. Depending on the reason for your change of plans (illness, injury, bad weather, and even getting laid off may qualify you), your card may reimburse you up to $10,000 for the unused ticket. And even if you don't have travel insurance, such emergency circumstances may qualify you for a refund if you plead your case directly to the airline's customer service department.

When all else fails, your best option is to wait until the absolute last minute to switch your ticket. There's a chance that weather or scheduling issues may push back the flight or cancel it all together—if that's the case, you may be able to get a refund on a flight you never intended to board.

After getting your tickets sorted out, all you have to deal with is packing, parking, and getting through security before going home for the holidays. Here are some tips for making the process less stressful.

[h/t Free]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

The 20 Best States for Singles

monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images

Being single on Valentine's Day means you don't have to worry about cards, gifts, or date ideas. But if you'd like to do something romantic on February 14, your chances of snagging a date in time may depend on where you live. WalletHub crunched the numbers to create a definitive list of the best states to be single and looking for love in America.

To come up with its rankings, the personal finance site analyzed numerous data points for each state, including the proportion of single adults, nightlife and entertainment opportunities, and economic factors like cost of living. Combined, these qualities paint of picture of where you're most likely to find, afford, and enjoy a date.

Florida secured the number one position with a total score of 69.21 out of 100. Though it comes in 33rd out of the 50 states for economics, it places third for dating opportunities and fourth for romance and fun, earning it the top slot. It's followed by California with a score of 67.41 and Texas with 66.77. You can check out the top 20 states below, and see how all 50 states ranked at WalletHub.

  1. Florida // 69.21
  1. California // 67.41
  1. Texas // 66.77
  1. New York // 65.29
  1. Pennsylvania // 64.61
  1. Ohio // 63.10
  1. Illinois // 62.61
  1. Wisconsin // 61.13
  1. Massachusetts // 59.11
  1. Michigan // 58.56
  1. Arizona // 57.22
  1. New Jersey // 56.71
  1. Georgia // 56.11
  1. Colorado // 56.01
  1. North Carolina // 55.58
  1. Minnesota // 55.42
  1. Virginia // 54.98
  1. Washington // 54.76
  1. Missouri // 54.29
  1. Nevada // 53.64

The world uses Valentine's Day to celebrate romance, but you can take it as an opportunity to embrace singledom in 2020. If that's your plan, here are some vintage tips for living alone to keep in mind.

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