How to Avoid 7 Hotel Headaches
Frequent travelers know better than anybody that hotel living is not all it’s cracked up to be. Between the hidden charges and less-than-ideal amenities, a night in a hotel can become more trouble than it is worth. However, with a little bit of time, research and preparation, the seven biggest hotel headaches can be easily avoided.
1. Wi-Fi Costs
Data cards use 3G or 4G technology to access the Internet the same way cell phones do, but allow the user to connect using a laptop or tablet computer. For frequent travelers, these devices pay for themselves, as the average monthly data rate is equal to the price of one Wi-Fi enabled weekend at a hotel.
Not interested in a long-term investment? Most hotels are within walking distance of restaurants and coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi to customers. Though you may have to buy a doughnut, you won’t have to share the connection with 500 hotel guests, making it a faster, more delicious alternative.
2. Room Service Costs
When you factor in delivery charge and tip, ordering food from an outside source is still cheaper than room service, and takes just as long. Many guests falsely believe that ordering outside food is faux pas, but in reality, guests do it all the time.
In fact, if asked, most concierges have local dining and delivery menus on hand for their guests, making the process of ordering outside food even easier. While it may require an extra 20 seconds of brain power, ordering from an outside source, or bringing snacks from home, is well worth the effort.
3. Parking Costs
The solution to this problem comes down to a simple math equation. Many people like to rent cars while staying at a hotel, or to drive their own car if staying locally. However, much to the surprise of travelers, the cost of parking at hotels, gas, and/or rental cars, is often MORE expensive than the cost of taking cabs.
While transportation should be decided on a case-by-case basis, the overwhelming majority of travelers will find that having an automobile on hand is not as cost effective as they may have assumed. And, cabbies are a great resource for entertainment options.
4. Theft & Disturbances
Using the deadbolt whenever in the room is a good idea to prevent unwanted disturbances, as the “do not disturb” sign seems to act as a mere suggestion. When outside of the room, take advantage of the in-room safe. Many of them are free, easy to use, and ensure valuables are safe.
For hotels without safes, luggage locks are a great idea. Be sure to keep the luggage locks IN your luggage while traveling, as TSA will cut them off in the name of national security. Once you have arrived at your destination, lock up and be safe.
5. Pay-per-View Costs
For tablet and laptop owners, DVDs and streaming movies are an excellent alternative to paying for rentals. Travelers with more than one set of eyes to provide for need a simple set of RCA cables to hook up a portable DVD player or computer to the room television.
Need another reason to avoid hotel TV? Try going to a local movie theatre. It’ll cost the same, but it offers newer releases. Are you afraid of looking like a weirdo, going to a movie alone? You’re out of town, nobody knows you, so get over it.
6. Mini-Fridge & Mini-Bar Costs
For $7, travelers can get a fold up insulated cooler that fits easily in their luggage. With complimentary ice machines in every hotel built after 1930, all it takes is a trip down the hall for that homemade refrigerator magic to begin working.
By bringing beverages from home or a nearby convenience store, travelers can have all of the perks of a mini-bar without the cost. BYOB savings could add an extra day to your vacation.
Hotel websites like Priceline ®, Orbitz ® and Travelocity ® offer discount rates, compared to booking the room directly through the hotel. While each website operates differently, there are perks to each one for specific types of travelers.
Those who know exactly what hotel they would like to stay in can save big money with Orbitz and Travelocity, while those with a more flexible trip can roll the dice with Priceline. Whichever website you use, there is never a reason to pay full price for a hotel room.
Hotel trips are expensive, but with just a little bit of ingenuity, research, and time, travelers can easily enjoy their time, without worrying about breaking the bank. Better yet, travelers can avoid hotel headaches completely by seeking out alternate types of accommodations (like vacation rentals!) instead of putting up with the hotel chain experience.