How Can You Get Good Deals on Hotel Rooms?

September 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hotel room in the Renaissance Columbus, OHBusiness travelers often have to find ways to extend their travel budget, or reduce some of their travel costs. It’s possible to reduce the costs of a night in a hotel, with just a little research. These are a few ways we’ve found, thanks to a recent Business Insider article and our own travel experiences.

  • Hotels located in business districts are usually not busy on the weekends and resorts are usually looking for guests mid-week, so check out these to see if you might benefit from the chain’s need to fill rooms during its off-peak time.
  • Corner rooms or rooms at the end of the hall often have more square footage without an extra cost. It never hurts to ask. This won’t save you money, but will still feel like an upgrade
  • If you’re hoping for an upgrade, try checking in at the end of the day and asking what’s available. Be careful to procure a reservation before arrival, though. This strategy might boomerang if you arrive late and there are only premium rooms left.
  • If you have some flexibility in your arrival and departure times, as well as where you stay en route to your final destination, consider checking out’s Hotel Price Index, or registering for alerts through Kayak. You’ll get real time information on prices paid, including taxes and fees, and when prices are dropping. It’s like having your own travel agent.
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All-Inclusive Resorts: Why or Why Not?

September 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A few years ago, I went on my first all-inclusive vacation. I just wanted to get away and have the luxury of not thinking about anything once I arrived. Mission accomplished! It was nice knowing all my meals, my drinks, and my activities were covered by the package deal.

The Tamassa All-Inclusive Hotel is an example of one of the all-inclusive resorts in that part of the world.

The Tamassa All-Inclusive Hotel in Mauritius

Some people question whether all-inclusive resorts are a good value or not. If you’re trying to keep costs manageable, they actually can be. According to the Family Vacation Survival Guide, you can save up to 25 percent by choosing resorts for your vacation, compared to paying for lodging, meals and activities as you go.

Consider the following trip expenses that are included when you choose a resort vacation:

  • Transportation. Complimentary shuttle service to the property from the airport is often part of the package, and if you want to leave the property for a nearby destination, you may be able to use the resort’s shuttle service or hire a cab.
  • Tipping is usually factored into the cost, eliminating the need, especially in a foreign country, to carry and calculate local currency. While I found this awkward, I was assured repeatedly that gratuities were not expected by the staff. Be sure to check before you go, so you don’t feel uncomfortable because you didn’t know the resort’s policy.
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Is Curbside Check-in the Best Perk You’re Not Using?

September 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For some people, curbside check-in is a relic of the past that has somehow been overlooked in airport modernization. However, those of us in the know realize that the convenience and service make it the best little-known perk many travelers aren’t taking advantage of!

Curbside Check-in at Cairo's International Airport, Terminal 3

Curbside Check-in at Cairo’s International Airport, Terminal 3

For example, when I check my Crew 11 25-inch Spinner, I thoroughly enjoy the full-service process. There’s rarely a line deeper than one or two people, the skycaps are always helpful, all I have to do is present my driver’s license and credit card, and in seconds my boarding pass and bag tag are printed and I’m on my way straight to the security checkpoint.

The service can also be used to check bags that have already been accounted for during the online check-in process. Either way, the inside check-in lines are almost always longer, increasing the amount of time it will take you to get through security and to your gate.

(An interesting side note: according to Wikipedia, the skycap service evolved as commercial airline travel became more popular. Travelers were already used to redcaps — the porters who handled luggage on trains — and expected similar service at the airport.)

The demographic of those who utilize the convenience of curbside check-in falls into roughly three categories. 1) People traveling with small children may have carseats and strollers as well as luggage, so curbside allows them to offload all but the essentials for the trek to the gate. 2) People who are in a hurry use curbside as a way to minimize wait times, especially if they’re running late. And 3) people with mobility issues find that only having to maneuver their bags from the car to the skycap — who most likely will help with their bags, if asked — is the best way to navigate the airport.
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Which Seats Should You Avoid on Planes

September 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For some, it’s the middle seat. For others, it’s any seat anywhere near the lavatory. For others, it’s aisle seats or the seats in front of the exit row.

Which are the best seats on planes you can get?Which seats should you try to avoid, or which ones should you try to get? gave a few pointers on how to identify some of the least-desirable seats on every plane.

Let’s start with one area of seating that most passengers seem to covet: the bulkhead rows. While these do offer more legroom, you’re missing an important storage area: under the seat in front of you. That means you must stow your personal items in the overhead bin. If you board early enough, that’s not a problem. But if the bin space above your seat is already full, your carry-on could end up in a completely different section of the plane.

Seats that don’t recline are hard to identify on the online chart, but here are a few general rules about their possible location:

  • The row in front of the exit row
  • The row in front of the bathroom
  • The row in front of the galley
  • The last row of any section

In addition to not reclining, there’s also a lot of passenger and crew traffic around these seats, especially by the lavatory.
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How to Protect Your Information at a Hotel

August 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the same words we hear from friends and loved ones whenever we’re headed out on yet another trip.

Lobby of the Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong hotel“Be safe,” they advise. “Have a safe flight.”

What about once we arrive at our destination? There’s a lot we can and should do to keep ourselves safe once we arrive at our hotel.

Anthony Melchiorri, host of the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible,”shared with Business Insider magazine a list of things to do to be safe and keep your personal information secure while on the road. We thought they were worth passing along.
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Airlines Working to Eliminate Jet Lag

August 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train existed right now, and could travel from New York to LA in 45 minutes? We would never experience any of the ill effects of time zone travel. While jet lag still exists because the Hyperloop doesn’t, airlines and science are looking for some natural ways to help your body prepare for the adjustment to your new locale and reduce jet lag symptoms.

This prompted Fast Company to ask whether we’re on the verge of eliminating jet lag. Short answer, no. But we may be getting closer.

For one thing, airlines that offer long haul and international flights have begun experimenting with LED lighting in the cabin to mimic the time zone destination of the flight.

Sleeping on a plane can help with jet lag, but only if done at the right time.“It turns out you can pretty heavily manipulate levels of melatonin in the body by exposing people to different wavelengths of light,” David Cosenza told Fast Company. He’s a project manager for Lumileds, a company that manufacturers the LED lights that are now used in the new Airbus A380 XWB and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

While you may have no control over the light you’re exposed to as you fly, you can prepare your body using one essential oil and a supplement. Rosemary oil, either applied to the skin or added by the drop to a bottle of water, relieves cramping and nausea, promotes digestion, aids circulation, boosts the immune system, and eases respiratory systems working with recycled plane air.

Also, consuming turmeric — in tea, as a supplement, or as an ingredient in your meals — will help you avoid headaches when flying. Its powerful anti-inflammatory agents require some planning, though, so begin incorporating it into your diet up to three days in advance of your travel.

Speaking of your diet, consider choosing lean protein if you want to remain awake once you reach your destination. Turkey, chicken, and fish satiate and provide extended release energy, which will help you transition to your new time zone. Avoiding fatty foods, which induce sleep, is key. Alcohol and caffeine actually inhibit restorative sleep, so choose water or an herbal tea throughout the course of your travel so that there’s nothing to block your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

These natural methods of curbing jet lag will have you alert and ready to go when you reach your destination.

How do you beat jet lag? Do you have any tips or tricks? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Ian MacKenzie (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Getting the Cheapest Flights Without Sacrificing Comfort

August 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travelers often consider the cost of airfare when determining the ROI of their business trips (and if you don’t, you should, especially for entrepreneurs and executives whose travel costs come out of their regular budgets). You can find less expensive flights with just a little planning, but without giving up the comfort and convenience of your usual travel schedule.

Yahoo Travel shared several great ways for saving money on flights, and they apply to business fliers as much as vacation travelers.

Delta Airline A330 airplaneLet’s start with the basics: it’s true what the experts say. The cheapest flights will be found when you book eight weeks out for domestic travel and 24 weeks out for international. However, if you’re impulsive and can leave at the drop of a hat, you can also snatch a cheap flight last-minute if you can be somewhat flexible in your schedule.

If you want to be more scientific in your search for a deal, we suggest downloading a fare alert app that lets you know when the cheapest flight becomes available for the destination of your choice. Another way to get the big picture on flight prices is to investigate the “search by month” option on sites such as Skyscanner and Google Flights. This will take the guesswork out of your purchase.
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Ways to Avoid Lines When You Travel

August 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you’ve already been authorized for PreCheck, you’re not going to be able to avoid the TSA security lines. But there are things you can do when you’re getting ready to travel and things you can do once you get where you’re going that can help you avoid lines like a pro. Let us show you how.

TSA lines at LAX international terminal, Santa Monica, Los Angeles,If you’re going to spend the day at an amusement park, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in line. Disney and many other theme parks have systems in place that let you essentially reserve a place in line. One side note: some parks offer this as a free service, while others, like Six Flags, charge for it.

Take advantage of online booking. Museums and other attractions allow you to purchase your tickets before you arrive. You then print them or keep them in your smartphone, and bypass the line altogether. Some cities also offer an all-inclusive pass that includes admission to its major attractions, again saving you from doing nothing but waiting in line.

Use express checkout at your hotel. Because your credit card is on file as part of your check-in process, you’re good to go at all major hotels without stopping by the front desk, provided the bill you find inside your door is accurate. This may not always be the case at smaller boutique hotels.
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Avoid Paying Unnecessary Fees When You Travel

July 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling is expensive; there’s no way around it. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall prey to the hidden costs and extra surprise charges. There are ways to avoid unnecessary fees that can come along while you’re traveling, so here are a few ways you can avoid the problem.

house-money-capitalism-fortune-12619When you’re at the car rental agency desk and are asked if you want to buy their insurance, you can politely answer with a confident “no, thank you,” as long as you know that your standard car insurance policy covers rental cars (check with your agent to be sure). Also, some credit cards provide insurance for rental cars as well, like American Express.

Hunger strikes when you’re least prepared, and it seems like the only option available would be the overpriced airport and hotel food. Not true! Since you know you get hungry approximately three times a day, whether traveling or not, avoid that $3 bottle of water by packing your own empty one, and filling it at the water fountain. Better yet, fill it from the bottle-filling stations if available.
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How to Look Like a Local When Traveling Overseas

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Many travelers are surprised when they’re greeted in English while traveling abroad. One of our colleagues used to get frustrated whenever he would travel to Germany and the Netherlands, and then be greeted in English. His goal was to pass as a local, so it would bothered him that people could tell immediately.

Haarlem, Netherlands - Kleine Houtstraat

Kleine Houtstraat in Haarlem, Netherlands

If you’ve ever wondered, “How did they know?” and wanted to blend in a bit, here are a few tips from veteran travelers. Taking the time to educate yourself before leaving home will allow you to navigate your new city or country with the finesse of a local.

First, learn a few key phrases, such as “please” and “excuse me.” Even if you don’t manage the correct pronunciation, natives are impressed by the effort and courage. One of those small social exchanges may lead to a beautiful connection.
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