Been caught in a storm this Winter? Unable to catch your flight? Not sure if your airline will waive your cancellation/change fees? Well if you’re flying United you can check up on their website. Just got to ual.com/travelwaiver to find out if you qualify for a fee-free trip.
Peak fares rear their ugly heads this weekend. You read about them here last year, well the airlines are at it again. Assessing additional fees on airline tickets purchased around the Super Bowl this weekend. If you’re flying next week, just keep in mind that you be paying a premium. Are your dates flexible? Try moving out a week further and you may save some money.
Hotel photos are a guilty pleasure. You can use them to escape your work-a-day life. Just looking at pictures of a beautiful beach relaxes me more than a 1 hour massage. But when you’re booking your hotel how much of the hype should you believe? I mean haven’t we all had the experience of pulling up to a hotel that looks nothing like the one on the website or in the ads? I know I certainly have. Hotels have mastered the art of the beautiful photo because they know that’s what sells travelers. This week I stumbled upon a great article about fantasy vs. reality. It’s the perfect primer for separating fact from fiction. Interested? You can read it here.
Staying at a hotel without a concierge? If you need a recommendation for dinner, dancing or local color try your hotel bartender. You’d be surprised how connected they are. Besides bartenders are perceptive. They do more than just mix your drinks, they’ll chat you up, and pick up on your preferences. Trust them to guide you to bars, clubs and events that suit your taste.
It’s time to redeem those hotel points for free nights. In 2010 the return of the business traveler presaged a rise in hotel room rates. At the end of last year, rates were up 4% per night. That’s a significant jump. Add to that the dizzying fees that are sneaking back on to your hotel bill, and you have a quandry. How can you afford this vacation? Well if you’ve been a member of a hotel loyalty program, like I have, it’s time to look at your account and see if you can redeem your points for 1 or 2 free nights. Add on 3 paid nights, hopefully with a pay for 2 get 1 free deal, and you’ve got a 5 night, 6 day vacation in the bag.
Your seat back, a black hole? If your flying on United and leave something behind it might be. Turns out airlines just aren’t that interested in reuniting you with your lost personal items. I read this article a while ago on Consumerist.com and thought it couldn’t hurt to remind everyone that you should always check your seat back before the plane begins to land. Especially since you’ll be flying home after Christmas and may have one or two zippy new tech toys with you.
Hotels are feeling good this holiday season. Travel is up this year. People are returning to their old habits, and visiting friends and families. And they’re not always opting to stay with them. So it only makes sense that hotels would also be inching up their rates. It’s true. They are doing it ever so slowly, but rates are up this year by 4% in North America. Want to be sure you got the best deal on your weekend stay? Follow your hotel on Yapta.com. They will track hotel rates and tell when is the best time to book.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I’m all about safety. Especially when you’re traveling. However, I don’t think you should miss out on a good time simply because you’re being hyper-vigilant. It’s hard to find pragmatic tips about travel safety out there on the web. So when I read Grantourismo’s 20 Tips for Staying Safe I had to link it here. I hope it helps you stay safe, and still enjoy your travels anywhere in the world.
Black Friday – now offering travel deals. Yup, travel is up this year, but the week’s before and after the Christmas holidays are historically slow and tend to generate deals. I checked out the offerings on CNN.com’s travel site and found the following:
~ Sonesta Collection hotels at 50% off
~ Travel sale at Travelocity today and Monday including city and beach packages in Florida, San Francisco, and the Caribbean
~ Starwood Hotels Cyber Monday “resort sale” starts Nov. 29th
And don’t forget to check Twitter for more Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel deals. The best part? You can take advantage of all of these deals without ever having to leave your house. Happy travels!
Need something to be thankful for next week? How about free wi-fi. Both Delta and Virgin America have announced free wi-fi on flights this holiday season. They’ve partnered with Google Chrome and wi-fi will be gratis from November 20, 2010 through Jan 2, 2011. I’m hoping that their competitors will quickly follow suit. Nothing distracts at 30,000 feet like internet access.