The following are some of my best tips and a few tricks for a better travel experience.
Cost Saving Ideas for Hotel Stays
- Check hotel websites like trivago.com for the best deals. During the off-season, I had booked a room at the Waldorf Astoria and used a site that compared hotel rates. We received a deep discount on a room that was two doors from The Elizabeth Taylor Suite. I checked my bill to ensure that my confirmed price was correct.
- After reviewing the online prices, call the hotel and ask for their best deal.
- If you are a repeat guest, tell the person making your reservation. They usually try to accommodate returning customers.
- American Express Fine Hotel and Resorts Program offers a daily $100 credit and breakfast for two; and when available: early check-in, late checkout, and free upgrades. Sometimes these benefits offset a higher room rate. Call in advance and check the upgrade possibilities, and book at the lower rate.
- Instead of eating breakfast in the hotel, ask the concierge for a reputable local diner. In addition to leaving your hotel room early, you will likely get a better value and a good meal.
- Take your drink of choice to your hotel room instead of using the bar or room service.
The Convenience of Renting Condominiums, Apartments, or Villas
- If traveling with more than three people, it is usually more economical to rent a condo or an apartment than book a hotel suite or two separate rooms. Also, the ability to refrigerate food is a plus.
- Ensure that your rental has a washer and dryer and pack light.
- Try to meet the owner. We had a situation where we had to leave a prepaid rental early. The owner worked with us so that we could use our missed days later. As a result, we are loyal customers.
Last Minute Travel Bargains
- Sometimes, we make last-minute travel decisions, and we have found great deals. For example, I had reserved a place two weeks before a trip during high season that would have been out of our price range. Though I was looking for a condo, the online agent found an available house and the owner reduced the price considerably to make sure that we took it.
- Two days before another trip, while I considered two apartments from different agencies, the condominium manager gave us a $1,000 discount to close the sale.
- I also had booked airline flights days before travel and received a better rate than my husband who booked the same trip a month in advance. However, there is no guarantee.
Dining/Theater Reservation Tricks
- If you are unable to reserve theater seats or another venue, ask American Express travel to check availability. We have made reservations that were presumably sold out.
Traveling and Flying With Children
- If you are flying with a toddler, buy a bag of Dollar Store items that he/she can open on the plane. This trick has helped avoid stress for us and anyone nearby.
- Travel with your kids, even if they are adults, because they urge you to try new activities, and family time is invaluable.