Places to Stay
We all know that Photoshop makes pictures look better or enhanced from what the original photo looks like. We actually joke about getting the “garden view” because in our experience, it’s always the lower quality view but somehow saying “garden view” makes it more appealing. That holds true with pictures of hotels, rooms and other accommodations. Places pay big money to lure you in with photos that may or may not be what you will actually get. Always double check, research and even Google Map the location from the satellite view and the street view.
We always ask the front desk attendant where they, “would put their own family?” You would be surprised at the upgrades you can get by asking that question. They also love couples who are celebrating an anniversary or birthday. We received a bottle of champagne and chocolate strawberries from a resort by mentioning it was our anniversary.
We enjoy checking out apps like Instagram and Pinterest to see photos of other travelers experiences. When we were in Banff, Canada, we looked up travelers who had pictures in Banff and actually started chatting with a traveler who had just been there a few weeks before. She suggested a few hikes that were incredible.
Of course, we love TripAdvisor and we research all of our destinations before we go.
We had at late departure out of Maui, so we talked with the front desk attendant who had the bellman store our bags until we departed. We enjoyed the entire day at the beach and came back to the hotel salty and sandy. The front desk attendant set us up with Day Passes to the Hyatt Regency Kaanapali Spa, where we showered, refreshed ourselves and changed into clean clothes for our trip home. These services are available to everyone, however they were free to us, since I established a great rapport with the front desk attendant from the time we checked in.
Almost all hotels allow you to store your bags for early check in’s or late departures.
When staying at a hotel who caters to their guests, you can always ask for the following, which are usually free: plastic comb, toothpaste, toothbrush and mouthwash, sewing kit, bathroom tissue, stationary, pens, etc. Other things you may be able to borrow include: curling iron, phone charger, power adapter and converter, beach towels, snorkel gear, fans, bikes or anything else. You are paying for the services, so you may as well get all you can, especially if you don’t have to pack it.
Priceline and SkyAuction are our favorite websites to get lower priced and unbelievable rooms at the last minute. We stayed at a five star resort in Costa Rica by using SkyAuction. The rooms were about $600 a night and we paid about $100 per night! Always read the rules when using these services. Some have restrictions about using the service within a few days of your booking.
Hostels/ Couch Surfing
I used hostels all over Australia and in Europe. They are very economical and provide a great way to meet other travelers and learn in-depth knowledge of the location you are visiting. The only downside to hostels is the lack of privacy in some locations and theft may be a problem, since you are sharing common space with others. Don’t let these dissuade you though, I have some amazing memories and have met some of the most genuine people while staying at hostels.
Use these resources to get started:
Apartments, Homes and Condos
The world has changed and peer sharing is an important part of our culture. With the advent of Airbnb, there are a lot of options out there. Be sure to read reviews by the travelers who have stayed in the location you want to visit.
Go to the sites below to see amazing places that you can stay, for a fraction of the price of a hotel. Some sites below may look like hotel search sites, however some of them have up to 30% inventory as apartments or apartment hotels.
Airbnb Rent a Home/ Condo
You may even think about swapping your home for someone else’s home at your destination.
Bed and Breakfast or Private Houses
Although these are not typical money savers, they do add to your journey by connecting with the locals and living the way they do.
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