Travel

8 Hotel Alternatives for Travels

If you love to travel, then you know just how much a place to stay can take a chunk out of your travel budget. The good news is that other less expensive accommodations (compared to hotels that is) are available for you to choose from.

Short Term Rooms

One of the most popular trends among travelers are short term rooms rental that are featured in websites like Airbnb. Travelers can rent a room inside someone else’s house, cottage, or apartment for very low nightly rates giving the host an opportunity to earn some additional income.

Hostels

Adventurous and young travelers often find this option a good alternative to staying in a hotel. The rates are very low since you are basically sharing a room with two or more people who you may or may not know. Websites like HostelWorld can provide you with the available listings.

Homestays or Couchsurfing

Sleeping in the living room couch or in the spare bedroom is the idea behind homestays or couchsurfing, which is probably why it is one of the least expensive (sometimes free!) travel accommodation. Websites like CouchSurfing and Servas International can help you get organized if you choose this option.

Vacation Rentals

I basically consider this a diamond in the rough among the alternative options for travel accommodations. Imagine yourself (and your travel companions) staying in a villa in France or a log cabin in the Rockies!

This option is simply perfect in that you have access to kitchen and laundry facilities while staying at a great location. An ideal travel accommodation if you are traveling in groups or with the entire family.

Dormitories

A number of universities and colleges open up their dormitories for rent to non-school guests during long school vacations such as summer. The other upside to this arrangement? All the venues surrounding the campus will surely offer their services at student rates.

Stay with A Family or Friend

This one’s a no-brainer. You can’t imagine the huge amount of money you get to save by planning your vacation at or around the location where a family or friend is residing. You enter a win-win situation where you can spend some quality time with them while enjoying your vacation.

House Sitting

Did you know that house sitting is a great opportunity to not only travel but also get paid for doing so? Websites like House Carers or TrustedHousesitters provides you with a listing of available homeowners looking for a house sitter. Check it out.

Camp Out

If you love to go camping and there are campgrounds or public parks where camping is allowed in the area where you want to travel, then this is the option for you.

Camping fees are very affordable even for the traveler on the tightest budget. Modern campgrounds are also equipped with bathroom facilities to provide guests with some sort of modern comfort.

Are there any other hotel alternatives that we haven’t included in the list? Let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

5 Tips & Tricks for Better Hotel Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest while staying at a hotel (or any other accommodation outside your home) can be quite frustrating particularly if the conditions are not conducive to sleeping.

Here are some tips & tricks that you can try to get that much needed shut-eye.

Room Reservation Requests

When booking your room reservation, inform the hotel staff that you want the room farthest from the elevators and that is should be booked at the upper level.

If possible, the room should be located midway down the hall to avoid unwanted noise from the elevators, exits, and even closets use by housekeeping staff.

Don’t hesitate to request for a change in rooms if the one you are currently occupying is near a noisy area.

Create an Illusion of Home

Some people have a hard time getting to sleep without the familiarity of their own bedroom. You can create an illusion of home right in your very own hotel room by bringing your own set of pillow covers, your special pillow, or even a fabric or room spray that you use in your bedroom.

Keep to Your Nightly Routine Preparations

Just because you are staying at a hotel means that you should forego your nightly sleep preparations ritual. Do you drink relaxing herbal teas or are used to taking hot showers before going to bed?

If you are used to falling asleep while listening to soft piped in music, you might want to download the music selection on your phone to help re-create this nightly ritual.

Provide your family and friends with the hotel’s contact number and your room number. Let them know that they should only contact you during emergencies. This is very important if you are staying in a different time zone.

Regardless of the type of nightly ritual you are used to, sticking to these can help you achieve a good night’s rest.

Cooler is Better

Studies have shown that a cooler room temperature can help achieve a good night’s sleep.

Check the room’s air condition system to make sure that it is functioning properly. Some hotels have window-type air condition systems that tend to stir up noise the longer they are in use. If this happens, let the front desk know so they can have you transferred to a room with a quieter air condition machine.

If you are privileged to stay in an upscale room with centralized air conditioning systems, check the room for the thermostat switch and adjust it to your liking.

Keep Yourself in The Dark

Check if you can draw the curtains to block out any direct light from outside sources. Some people tend to experience difficulty sleeping even when there is just a slither of light peeking into the room.

Include a few pieces of clothespins in your traveling bag to pin down curtains that don’t want to keep closed.

If you are used to having a night light on at home, keep the bathroom light open and leave the bathroom door slightly ajar.

If you still find yourself wide awake despite doing any or all of the above steps, your best option would be to turn on a low light and read a book or magazine until you feel sleepy enough to simply close your eyes and drift off to dreamland.

Car Rentals – 8 Ways to Save Money

Are you planning on renting a car once you get to your travel destination? Here are some ways on how to save money.

Early Booking

Once you have confirmed your travel plans for your luxury car rental from Leeds to London, book ahead of time for a rental car to get a chance to book the lowest priced car. Keep in mind that the lowest priced cars are the most popular for booking.

Customers who prefer last-minute bookings almost always find themselves being forced to rent a higher priced car since that is the only one available.

Shop Around

The price for car rentals is quite volatile and can fluctuate depending on the demand. Take the time to compare prices either via independent travel sites or online car rental agencies. Directly contacting the car rental company for their prices can also provide you with a much lower price.

Go Small

Smaller sized cars are usually the first to get booked but don’t let this hold you back. Since car rental agencies tend to overbook their smaller sized cars, there is a high chance that you would get a free upgrade.

Exclusive Discount Offers

Banks and credit card companies often partner with other companies such as car rental agencies to provide members with exclusive discount offers. You can get as much as up to 20% off the listed rental price with such discount offers.

Another source of exclusive discount offers would be the hotel or flight carrier that you have booked a reservation with. Check your email for possible after booking offers.

Daily and Weekly Rate Comparison

If you are staying for a long period of time and travel Miami with a Bugatti, check if the car rental agency offers a lower rate for longer rental time. Weekly rates are oftentimes lower than daily rates. Check if you can save on rental fees if you pick-up and drop-off the car around the same time.

Don’t Use an Airport Car Rental

Airport fees are exorbitant, and this can also apply to cars rented using an airport car rental facility. If the car rental agency is just a few miles from the airport, consider taking a taxi to the non-airport car rental agency. It might be a bit inconvenient, but it does help you save more.

Check ahead of time to compare the rates among non-airport car rental agencies and book in advance once you find one that suits your needs and budget.

Say No to Car Rental Insurance

Before contacting a car rental agency, check with your car insurance provider if your insurance coverage includes the use of rented cars. Oftentimes, car insurance policies do include this small detail that you overlooked.

In case your car insurance coverage doesn’t include rented cars, be sure that you are directly buying the insurance from the car rental agency. Avoid the pitfall of buying insurance from travel sites that may not provide enough coverage.

GPS Free

One add-on that car rental companies offer their customers would be the use of a GPS for an additional fee. Since there is a high chance that you already own a smartphone that comes equipped with a map function or you can download a GPS app, you easily can forego using the car rental agency’s GPS.

Do you have a tip for saving money on car rentals? I’d love to hear from you!

6 Clever Money Saving Tips for Dining Out

Do you feel like dining out tonight or for an upcoming special occasion? You don’t have to dole out a huge amount that would leave a dent in your budget. Here are some clever tips that can help you out.

Facebook

Nowadays, social media is the key to a good advertisement. Restaurants have begun to create their own Facebook pages where customers can leave a review for other potential customers to read.

If your favorite restaurant has a Facebook page, you can “Like” and even follow to get notified of any Facebook-only promotional deals, discounts, and freebies.

I can’t tell you the number of times I got notified of an upcoming promotion that was never advertised elsewhere.

Free Food

Hands-down, this would probably be my most favorite money saving tip. Many restaurants offer free lunch or dinner for guests who are celebrating their birthday either on the birthdate itself or during the birth month.

The terms and conditions would definitely vary depending on the restaurant. Check out the fine print details before booking a reservation. Be ready to provide identification for the restaurant’s reference purposes as well.

Don’t hesitate to inform your waiter or waitress that you are celebrating a special occasion if they don’t offer free lunch or dinner. You just might get a piece of cake or a glass of champagne on the house.

Skip the Holiday Crowd

A dinner date on Valentine’s Day might sound romantic but it isn’t romantic if you find yourself waiting for more than an hour just to get a table only to be assisted by a frazzled-out restaurant staff.

Special occasions such as this are usually what makes restaurants hike up their prices due to the high consumer demand.

Save yourself the stress and hassle by planning a date before or after the holidays. Not only will you be more relaxed and have fun on your lunch or dinner date…you will also have a more affordable dining experience.

Weekday Specials

Check your favorite restaurants for weekday-only promotions and discount offers. These could be anything from a buy-one-take-one or 50% off deal to a freebie with every order of one particular item on their menu.

Some coffee shops even offer huge discounts for certain hours of the day, which generally would be a lull period for the business.

Service Water or Tea

Restaurants offer their guests the choice of ordering bottled water or being served with service water. Unless you have a very sensitive stomach, I would recommend skipping the bottled water and have some service water instead. Bottled water has a price while service water is free.

If you are dining in an Asian restaurant, they usually serve hot tea at no cost. Aside from being friendly to your digestive system after eating a rich and fulfilling meal, the service tea is also budget friendly.

Check Your Portions

Do you have a light appetite that makes finishing a regular meal a problem for you? Why not check out the items on the menu that are available in smaller portions? If you have a dining companion, don’t hesitate to ask him or her if they would be willing to split the main meal with you.

The takeaway here is that dining out should be an experience to be enjoyed and not something that should add more to your pile of worries.

8 Tips on How to Save on Hotel Bookings

There are more than a handful of websites that offer the best deal on hotel bookings, but did you know that there are other ways to save on hotel bookings? Read on to find out how.

Price Range Check

After going through the different websites like Travelocity and choosing a hotel that you think you would be happy with, don’t book just yet! Give the hotel a call to compare their actual offers and deals if you chose to directly book with them instead of via a hotel booking site.

Use Someone Else’s Booking Reservation

You are simply taking over a booked reservation from someone who had to cancel their trip but couldn’t get out for their booked reservation. This allows you to get a good deal on the same hotel room at almost (or even lower) the same original discounted rate when the booking was made.

The best source for this type of booking would be Roomer, which is a travel marketplace where people with non-refundable hotel reservations can list it up for sale.

Rebook for Price Matching

There is a high chance that your room rate would be offered at a lower price even after you have finalized your booking details. Don’t hesitate to contact the hotel for a possible price match and rebooking the room for a lower rate.

Remember that booked guests are always given the privilege of a 48-hour cancellation window without any penalties being charged.

Take Advantage of Online Coupon Codes

Take the time to search online for hotels that offer promotional discounts in addition to using online discount codes under applicable terms and conditions. The additional discount codes can generally range from 5% up to 20%, which means more savings for you.

Room Type Check

Hotels offer different types of rooms for a reason. Don’t hesitate to ask for a room type that would have a lower cost than the quote you are given when inquiring over the phone or via email. Most often than not, you could probably do away with the extra amenities that are offered for the higher priced rooms.

Fees and Taxes

Don’t be too eager to book a room yet. It pays to be aware that there might be additional fees and taxes that have not been clearly identified in the deal. Check with a hotel representative for these additional fees and taxes that normally doesn’t get included in the advertised room rate.

Extending a Weekend Trip

Studies have shown that booking a hotel room during long weekends to begin with a Friday night stay can be more expensive compared to beginning with a Saturday night stay. Experts have agreed that the lowest priced stay at a hotel would be for Sunday night.

Reviews Matter More Than Stars

The best source of reliable information on hotels would be customer reviews. Take the time to check out sites that offer both customer reviews and comparative hotel prices to help guide you in making the final decision.

Overall, taking the time to do your due diligence before finalizing a hotel booking is definitely worth it in the end if it means that you can save money, so you can spend it on other good stuff. Don’t you think so?

 

The Top 2 Best Online Sites to Visit for Hotel Bookings 2018

Booking a hotel reservation can be quite a task in itself particularly if you are looking to find the best deals available.

Nowadays, there are a number of online booking sites for hotels available that you can easily access to check out the available rates and deals on offer at your most convenient time.

The bad news is that since there is more than a handful, comparing the best site to book from based on price watch, price matching, and possible rewards plans can be a task in itself.

The good news is that this post aims to simplify the task for you by providing you with our top 2 choices based on ease of use, available listings, price matching, price watch, and rewards plans.

Hotels.com

Our top choice for the best online hotel booking service due to the ease of finding search results and booking a hotel would be Hotels.com.

Pros

Easy and simple search process. Visitors are only required to enter the destination city, travel dates, number of rooms needed, and the number of adults and/or children staying.

The sort and filter options allow you to sort the search by Hotel.com favorites, star rating, guest rating (in collaboration with TripAdvisor), price, and/or distance from more than one landmark.

The deal of the day is highlighted to catch your attention, so you won’t miss the booking opportunity. It is the perfect place to start looking for the best deals that can provide you with more than the average discounted rates.

Other accommodations such as hostels are also available for booking.

You can set up an alert to be notified if the price goes down.

Membership is not required but you might want to reconsider since members get special pricing offers that are not available to non-members.

Easy and straightforward rewards program with free sign up. Book and stay for 10 nights and you get 1 night free at a participating hotel. Frequent travelers can be bumped up to Silver or Gold rewards program levels based on the applicable rewards program rules.

You can also book a package with Hotel.com such as booking a hotel and a flight altogether.

Cons

Hotel.com does not allow you to book rental cars.

Orbitz.com

Second from the top of the list is Orbitz.com since it provides visitors with the chance to book hotels, flights, and rental cars altogether.

Pros

Visitors can search, sort, and filter by location, price, amenities offered, and even package discount rates.

Other accommodations such as hostels or apartments are available for booking.

Easily book a hotel, flight, and rental car at the same time for great savings.

Tickets to local attractions and even cruises are available.

The rewards program is offered in 3 tiers where you get to earn a percentage back from each purchase you made. The earned amount or “Orbucks” can be used for future Orbitz.com bookings. Depending on the promotion, Orbitz.com allows you to double or even triple the amount you earn for the purchase.

Cons

No price watch feature.

Shows listings that are already fully booked.

There is a restriction to the amount of Orbucks earned at each reward program tier.

How about you? What is your preferred online booking site?