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Travel Tips on Accommodations



Hotel rooms are notoriously dry. Increase the moisture in the room by placing wet towels near the bed while you sleep, or lightly sprinkle the carpet with water.

Look for hotels and B&Bs that include breakfast in the cost of the room. Not only will this speed your morning along, you can save your money for a more tasty meal later in the day.

For practical information on remaining safe while staying in a hotel, including what to do in case of fire, read the pamphlet Hotel Security by International Security Consultant Peter Savage, compiled expressly for WTA members.

Great rates (up to 60% off) can be found at hotels through the WTA Lodging Discount Program. Click here to find a hotel thatís right for your destination and budget.

As children become teenagers, travel accommodations may need to change as well. To aid privacy, consider reserving a multi-room suite rather than a standard hotel room.

Hotel outlets arenít always placed in the most convenient spots. Pack an extension cord so you can use your laptop computer or the ironing board from your preferred spot.

On your next trip, compare the cost of a condo or hotel suite with kitchen facilities to a regular room. If you are willing to commit to eating in rather than at restaurants, the savings on meals may more than offset the additional cost for lodging.

Ever wondered how much to tip a hotel employee? If service is good, here are the standard guidelines for the U.S.: $1 per bag for a bellman who carries your luggage; $1-$2 for a doorman to hail a taxi; $1-$2/day left on your dresser for the housekeeper; $5 and up for a concierge who makes reservations or performs some service for you. As with all tipping, pay more for exceptional service/attitude, and less for sub-standard service.

If you are traveling to a high-crime area, be sure to book a room at a vertical, business-oriented hotel rather than one that has several buildings spread out over the property.

Items stolen from a hotel room (whether out in the room or in the safe) are rarely covered by hotel insurance. If you must bring valuables along, ask the front desk staff to put them in the hotel safe. Check to see what the hotelís liability limit is to make sure there is sufficient coverage if they are stolen.

If a hotelís nationwide toll-free operator tells you the hotel is booked up for the nights youíre interested in, call the hotel directly; thereís a chance the nationwide operator has outdated information.

If your favorite hotel is booked solid, donít give up yet. Be strategic and call back when cancellations are likely to occur. Find out the date and time that cancellation penalties kick in for the date youíre interested in. Then call the hotel that day, right up until penalty time. Hopefully others will call to cancel and you can get their room.

Hotel parking lots can have dark areas surrounded by trees, dumpsters, etc. Park in a spot that is well lit, close to the main entrance, and away from an attackerís potential hiding place. If in doubt, park at the check-in spot and ask someone from the hotel to accompany you while you park your car.

When selecting a hotel room, ask for one between the second and seventh floors. According to safety experts, this is high enough to deter thieves, yet low enough for fire equipment to reach.

Most hotels charge a fee to use their phone for outside calls whether local or long distance. These fees typically are $.50 to $1.00 or more just to use the line. Long distance rates through the hotel are usually very high, much higher than regular rates you get for home service. There are alternatives. Before traveling, get a calling card whose service you can access with a toll-free number. Then you can use that card from the hotel room and pay those low rates and avoid being hit with unexpected phone call charges on your hotel bill when you check out. Alternatively, increase the service area on your cell phone so that it covers the area to which you are traveling.

It sounds obvious for seasoned travelers, but itís worth repeating: ALWAYS remember to check under the bed before checking out of a hotel to make sure you leave nothing behind.

For added security while youíre in your hotel room, take along a rubber doorstopper. Place this under the door from the inside and make sure itís lodged securely to supplement the existing door lock(s).

Travelers on a budget will find 3-star hotels perfectly acceptable in most cases. Go for a 5-star hotel for those extra-special occasions.

Pack a little sewing kit for emergencies. You can use safety pins to keep those hotel curtains closed!

If youíre traveling with children, call the hotel ahead of time and see if they can childproof the room for you. Donít forget to ask them to block adult movie channels and to remove any magazines with suggestive advertising.

Save precious luggage space by checking what amenities the hotel provides. If they provide hair dryer, robe, and basic toiletries, leave yours at home.

Your hotel may offer business services (faxing, etc.) and Internet access. If not (or if their cost is too high), get a list of local Kinkos or Cyber Cafes before leaving home by checking this website: