Sure, you know how to book a hotel on your own because you’ve got a credit card and the Internet. But chances are you’re not booking a hotel as well or as cheaply as you could. Don’t feel bad about your amateur mistakes. All you need is a little instruction, and, well, a credit card and the Internet. To turn you from hotel amateur to hotel pro, we’ve probed the minds of lodging experts to hear their tips on saving the most money and maximizing every hotel stay you book. These are their essential hotel hacks.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.
Among the best business travel tips around, there are those that suggest how to pack. Indeed, packing for a business trip is not the same thing as packing for a holiday. There is an unspoken rule that one should dress smartly on business meetings. I always make sure to carry a pair of smart pants and a skirt, a couple of dressy tops and nice shoes that I can wear at meetings, and a dress and heels to wear at events and parties. Packing cubes help keeping things in order inside the suitcase, and minimize the risk of creasing.
I make the most of my out-of-touch time on the plane, in transit, or in a hotel. Instead of being a slave to email, I prepare a list of phone calls I need to make and download PDFs of documents I need to read to my iPad, so that I can work easily in the airport and on the flight. I make sure to email myself source documents and open/save them before I get on the plane, so that I can edit or write in-flight.
Duct tape can fix just about anything—including baggage. That's why we picked duct tape as one of the Top 10 Travel Essentials that Cost Less Than $10. Pack duct tape in your bag to protect your bag. Broken zippers, rips, and torn handles can be fixed with a sliver of trusty silver tape. Don't worry. You don't need to pack the whole heavy roll. Pick up a package of travel duct tape before your next trip.
That said, remember that a work trip isn’t your own personal spring break. Even if you’re technically off the clock, after-hours events with your co-workers are not the time to ride the mechanical bull, challenge a local to a drinking contest, or re-enact your favorite scene from Coyote Ugly. What happens at the regional sales conference doesn't necessarily stay at the regional sales conference—and you don't want to run the risk of your bad behavior making it back to your boss. A good rule of thumb is not to drink more on a work trip than you would at any other business function.
When possible, even on business trips, I try to avoid hotels and stay with a member of one of my homestay networks. I find the genuine contact and family atmosphere a welcome change from conference hotels. Yes, there's some transportation logistics, but generally, I find it worth the schlep across town to make new friends and get my batteries recharged.
Seasoned business travelers will be less effected by jet lag. This is because we are simply used to being in multiple time zones and having to be “up” for customers or colleagues. It doesn’t always work (sometimes you are just dog tired), but with practice and training you can start to tune your body to be less dependent on the actual time zone it is in or coming from.
Trying to figure out what to wear on a business trip can be a real struggle. The modern, professional woman needs a wardrobe and a service to keep up with her busy lifestyle. Take the stress out of packing and consider a continuously changing wardrobe, without the guilt of buying new clothes, growing tired of them, or going through the hassle and cost of dry cleaning. Businesses like Armoire offers a data-driven and curated closet for women based on style and fit preferences. This includes unlimited exchanges so you always have something new to wear for every occasion. Forget about the days of “What should I wear?” and focus on what really matters.
Instead, an hour or two before leaving for the airport, I’ll take two pain relievers. I know from experience I’m almost certain to get a headache from dehydration, a neckache from carrying heavy bags or a stomachache from eating at strange hours. Of course, I try to avoid those possibilities, but an early dose of a pain reliever can help mitigate unnecessary suffering.
For international travelers, one of the most costly items when traveling is phone calls. One of the best ways to save money is to use a spare, unlocked GSM phone. When you arrive, simply purchase a local SIM card. You can now use the phone for local calls and you can receive calls and texts free (outside the US, incoming calls and texts are free). You can also forward your work phone to your SIM number and receive calls on the road. Tell folks to send texts. It will save you money.
Usually, just having a smile seems to get me what I want. I always ask when I check in however, if there is an upgrade available, if they give extra points for anything, and what specials might be available. Just last night (although at a stage theater) I asked if I could upgrade my row. Although they don't do exchanges, they made an exception and upgraded me 8 rows.
One of my top travel hacks is to create an Excel/spreadsheet that I share with my other travel companions to ensure that we thought about the major details of the trip. A lot of people get really overwhelmed when trip planning as there are so many details to think about. However, if you like to do independent travel, a spreadsheet can be really helpful for figuring out the logistics of your trip ahead. This way, you can just show up at your destination with no stress.
Before you go on a big trip, it is tempting to try and plan every aspect of it. As tempting as it might seem, make sure to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Try to just plan the skeleton of your trip and leave room in between for discovery and for things to come up which you didn't plan. Talk to other travelers that you meet on the ground and you'll have a much better idea of what you want to do once you land.
Now, remember, we skipped the cocktail in the airport. We’re going to skip it again now. Traveling, especially onboard airplanes, can be extremely dehydrating. So, to put it one way, it’s best to not “drink and fly,” unless what you’re drinking is water. The air itself on the plane is also quite dry, so beyond hydrating, many travelers opt to bring moisturizers, eye-drops, and lip balms as well.
Checking out is when you’re most likely to lose something. Whenever I check out of a place, I check the bathroom, I check under the beds, I check the desks, and then I make sure I have my passport, laptop, camera, money, phone, and external hard drive. I’ll be fine if I leave anything else behind. Having a routine that you go through every single time will help you keep track of everything. I learned my lesson with this one when I left my passport behind in a guesthouse in Bagan, then left it in an apartment in London two months later.
Many of our favorite places are best traversed on foot. Skip the expensive sightseeing trolley and instead sign up for a group walking tour in your destination. If you're wary of being led around a tourist trap by someone in cheesy colonial garb, don't worry: Many destinations offer innumerable walking tours for every type of traveler, from the art buff to the culinary enthusiast. (Plus, a brisk walk between neighborhood nibbles almost outweighs the calories—we hope.)
I love that you put try the local food at the top of the list. I have friends who love to travel but will never venture outside of restaurants like McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. These are also the friends who have gotten sick more times traveling then any person I know. Best advise is to look for the long lines of locals outside a restaurant or food stall and get in the line.
Use ExOfficio boxers. Seriously. Just do that now. On a 10 day trip to Asia, I will be completely comfortable only bringing 3 pairs of boxers (1 pair I’m wearing, 2 pairs in the bag). They pack down super small, they’re extremely lightweight, they can be washed easily and dry really fast (way faster than cotton). The other knock off brands don’t come close either. Lifetime warranty. Love mine.”
Laying by the beach and chilling with a trusty gather organiser! Only this one is special. It’s woven by our artisan communities! . . . . . #giftsandgraces #fairtrade #handmade #upcycle #socialgood #socialimpact #philippines #filipino #pinoy #pinoymade #proudlypinoy #madeinthephilippines #locallymade #proudlylocal #trylocalph #gadget #gadgetorganizer #organizer #flatlay
The Bundle Approach: This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of The Packing Book, has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lies flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.
I travel a lot for work, from Florida to Vegas to Ecuador, and I’m usually on a bus, train, boat or airplane! I visit trade shows, I speak at conferences, and I visit clients. The key to success when you are constantly traveling is organization. I have a written day planner where I can see my week at a glance, which helps me prepare my flights and schedule, as well as not overlap or miss any details.
Also, some airports have their terminals connected, other’s do not. Some have less obvious security checkpoints or “hidden ones” that are just around the corner. Figure those out if you can. I’ve went through a United Terminal checkpoint because it was less busy than the Southwest Terminal checkpoint before because I knew the Terminals were connected. Make sure they are though, or you will be making a trip out and then back through security! Ugh!
Anna Lynn Dizon specializes in writing tip lists and other content for Fit Small Business. She is a business and finance major who previously worked for a US risk mitigation company in its regional office in Singapore. Anna started her writing career as a research and writing assistant for eBooks on various niches. She spends her free time giving English tutorial lessons. She is also currently working on her Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy Education.
In general, good advice and info but I sure disagree with #7. Why you need a photo of yourself in all your pix, I don’t know, but I was tired of all your portraits of yourself rather than the places and the people in the places before I was 1/4 thru the list. Not to mention how annoying people who ask strangers to take their photo can be. Take photos of the people and places you see. That’s what I want after my trips and what I’d prefer to see on your blog posts.
If you arrive at your destination stress-free but some of your clothes aren't as lucky, try this trick: Hang the item in the bathroom while you take a shower and let the steam work out the wrinkles. If that doesn't work, try Brown's secret weapon—a spray-on de-wrinkler. Brown swears by Downy Wrinkle Release, which is often sold at newsstand stores inside the airport.
Thanks Matthew, I’m a 65 Year old new Zealander and been travelling south America last 6 months aiming for world! I got sick in hospital Bolivia and just had accident falling down steps in Quito Ecuador Hostel, but been enjoying myself nevertheless! Insurance far too expensive someone my age, so have to risk travelling without it. I’m traveling on my fortnightly pension! Thanks for tips.
No-where did we find this more frustrating than in Cambodia. Like a lot of countries, Cambodia is quite cheap to travel when compared to Western countries, but are they still largely dependent on using the US Dollar, with the Riel only used for very small transactions. However, all the ATMs seem to be loaded with $100 bills, and don’t charge a % fee, they charge by transaction! This means it makes sense to get larger sums out, to avoid being charged multiple transaction fees.
Any recommendations of fun things to see and do in Boston?? And yes, this is an excessive list, but I like to think of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I could possibly need when planning for a trip. I will be weeding out the unnecessary things as I fit it into my suitcase 😬 . . . . . #bujo #bujolove #showmeyourplanner #bulletjournal #bujojunkies #bujocommunity #journal #bulletjournaljunkies #journalersofinstagram #bujoweekly #bujoaddict #happyplanner #planneraddict #bulletjournalinspiration #bujoinspiration #bulletjournallove #bulletjournaladdict #bulletjournalcommunity #habittracker #bujomonthly #bujospread #plannergirl #lettering #handlettering #handlettered #travel #packing #vacation #boston #summer
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
Make your business travel more enjoyable by combining it with a tax deductible weekend getaway! End your business meeting at noon Friday and enjoy the weekend at your location. Have another business related meeting on Monday, such as with a business associate, a prospect or even a seminar that ties into your business. Bring a spouse with you and deduct 100% of the hotel costs and your meals. Keep records of the reason of your business both before and after the weekend, and keep all receipts.
Forgot the plug? No converter? Have a smartphone? Ahem, just plug it into the TV. Who knows how many times I’ve done a very thorough job of packing everything... except my phone charger. Thanks to this Lifehacker tip there is no longer any need to go buy a new charger when you’ve forgotten it on the road. Chances are most hotel TVs (mainly smart TV’s) have a USB port.
That’s right, I’m not a carry on bag kind of girl … in fact, I like to OVER pack for fear that I might not have everything with me. My favourite suitcase of all time is the Briggs & Riley suitcase because it’s so massive and they come with a lifetime warranty!! When it comes to packing for the kids, I like to use CINDA B bags! I was first introduced to Cinda B bags when I was on The Bachelor over 10 years ago and have been using them ever since!
Thanks for the welcome. Very happy to be here and glad our tips helped. Enjoying the Chase card and we just got the American Express Hilton Honors card that comes with 50K HH points upon sign up. Yes Hotels.com has a good rewards program, and nice to hear Raleigh has good fares to Europe as that’s a destination we are looking to explore over the coming years. Enjoy your travels.
The amount of time you should allow between connecting flights varies depending on the airport, the airline, and whether or not you'll have to clear customs or go through security to switch terminals. As a general rule of thumb, it's safe to assume that, on domestic connections, anything less than 45 minutes is a bad ideaâand you'll likely be better off doubling that amount of time and scheduling about 90 minutes between flights. For international flights connecting with domestic flights, add enough time to clear customs.
One of the best space-saving techniques is to roll your clothes and place everything into packing cubes. The packing cubes are a life-saver as they help organize, compress the rolled clothes, and save time with repacking. They come in different sizes, so you can’t overstuff them. Another way to save space is to layer your clothes so you don’t need to bring as many heavier items. Wearing moisture-wicking clothes and lightweight, warm jackets is practical for any location.
Yet, I still believe that the positives of travel outweigh the negatives. Travel provides an unparalleled educational experience and is hugely beneficial to promote cultural understanding and world peace. So today, my tip is to embrace your travel experience by staying in a locally owned guest house or B&B, eating in locally owned restaurants, and hiring local guides.
"Choosing thin clothing that packs flat over thicker, more bulky items makes a huge difference in how much you can fit in your suitcase," says Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today's Traveler. Instead of packing a heavy sweater and jeans, try more travel-friendly options like a micro-fleece pullover and pants in lightweight, weather-resistant fabric. Diana Lane, an associate with Geiger & Associates, a Florida-based destination marketing firm, loves the versatility of lightweight sarongs, which can be worn as skirts, various styles of dresses, shawls, swimsuit coverups, shoulder bags or even used as a blanket. "There aren't many items that give us quite this much bang for the buck," she says.