How Old To Get A Hotel Room In California – Booking a hotel sounds simple, right? And for the most part: choose your destination, choose your dates, enter your payment details and voila, happy traveling!
However, there are some big mistakes you can make when it comes to hotel bookings. From booking on the wrong websites to forgetting to check important details, these mistakes can easily make or break your trip. Read on to find out what to look out for when booking this hotel room.
How Old To Get A Hotel Room In California
I recently spoke with a front-line agent about how his hotel chain distributes check-in rooms. Curious, I asked what method his staff used to determine who got the best rooms. He discovered this surprising detail: Those who book through the hotel’s website or are hotel loyalists are usually assigned rooms with the best views and quieter spaces. Travelers who book through online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Priceline, are often given “homework rooms” (which they call “ice cream truck rooms” or something like that). The agent couldn’t tell me how many hotel chains he’s worked with, but he said it’s “common practice” and that it improves the deal for regular rate bookers.
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The fix: Hotel loyalty programs are often free to join, and membership can guarantee better room rates, free nights, or amenities like free breakfast or Wi-Fi.
If having the best room is the key to an enjoyable trip, book directly through the hotel’s website. But low, low OTA rates can’t be beat – we know the feeling – and you can always request a specific room or location.
King bed or two double beds? High or low? Don’t smoke? Water view? Three single red M&M’s? When making a hotel reservation, most booking engines will allow you to make requests or comment on your stay. However, in the fine print, most hotels also state that your requests are not guaranteed.
The Fix: The saying “expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed” rings true here, but it’s cold comfort when you want certain comfort. First, know that hotels will usually try to honor your requests. If you find at check-in that your double bed has been converted to a single bed or that you have been placed in a smoking room, please speak to the front desk agent and request a courtesy change. You should also call the hotel to confirm your requests, especially for medical reasons.
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I am guilty of this travel sin. On a trip abroad a few years ago, I was told my flight would leave on May 14th, so I booked a hotel for the night before May 14th. Rocky’s mistake. I completely forgot to check if my flight was a red eye landing on the morning of the 15th. So I paid for an expensive (and non-refundable) room I didn’t need.
The Fix: Unlike your hapless writer, check your flight schedule when you book and check your arrival and departure dates. See also time zone. If you’re crossing the international date line in transit, yes, your check-in time may be different than you expect. It’s not a bad idea to have someone review your booking before you click ‘confirm’ or ‘pay’ to make sure the dates you’ve chosen are correct.
When it comes to hotel bookings, credit cards are king. While credit cards don’t offer rewards like airline miles, free nights, or cash back, they also offer guarantees that debit cards and cashbacks don’t (such as fraud protection or instant refunds).
Another tip most travelers don’t know? Most hotels require a incidental deposit if you use a debit card if you don’t have enough money in your account. These extra deposits can add up: I once paid $100 in Las Vegas, which wasn’t credited to my account for two weeks.
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The fix: If you’re smart with your money and choose the right credit card, you can reap the benefits of booking accommodations. NerdWallet rounds up the best credit cards with travel benefits. Also check out Tim Winship’s Miles & Points column, which SmarterTravel runs weekly. There, Winship lists current credit card promotions.
Travelers beware: A misleading hotel name or location description may lead you to book an airport hotel instead of a centrally located one. You’d be surprised how often travelers see a hotel name and quickly book it without checking to see if it’s in the right place. Some hotels may claim to be “downtown” but a quick search may reveal that they are located at the airport…two hours away.
Fix: Check the mailing address and find the exact location of the hotel on Google Maps. Always enter a hotel’s address and see how far it is from popular attractions and restaurants by walking, driving or public transport. Try entering the addresses of some of the attractions you want to see in your destination. You may also want to explore the neighborhood with Google Maps street view. If there are multiple hotels in the same chain in the same city, make sure you’re booking in the right neighborhood – Hyatt Times Square and Hyatt Flushing are actually very different.
In March, editor Ed Perkins reported on one of the most outrageous resort fees we’ve ever seen. A decent $170 room rate at a Colorado hotel was artificially inflated by a $35 cleaning fee, a $40 resort fee, a $10 pool and spa fee, and a $5.10 administration fee. Adj.
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Correction: You can opt out of certain services, such as hosting or newsletter delivery, if you do not wish to use such services. Others, like resort fees, are mandatory, so you should keep the extra costs in mind when booking your hotel. Hotels are expected to clearly display resort fees, but OTAs can’t include vague language like “surcharges may apply.” So call the resort and feel free to ask about any additional charges before booking.
If you’ve ever scrolled through Ostr’s photo feature, you know that hotels go to great lengths to make their properties look perfect. But when you arrive, that infinity pool may actually be the size of a postage stamp, and that wonderful fabric may seem like a clam. Take the hotel itself with a grain of salt (or sand).
The fix: Do your research. Reading user reviews is a tricky balancing act. You want to read as many reviews as possible without suffering from information overload. You also want the reviews to be unique and definitive. The best way to get an accurate picture of a resort is to choose review sites wisely. TripAdvisor and Oyster (which, like us, is owned by TripAdvisor) provide detailed previews of what your hotel has to offer; Oyster room photos are a great resource if you’re wondering how your room fits into the hotel’s line, and maybe even photoshopped images. Be suspicious of overly effective free reviewers, and it’s true to say the least: If you see Bob Grump giving one star to every hotel he reviews, question Bob Grump’s judgment.
Most procrastinators are quick to realize that waiting until the last minute to make travel plans can have dire consequences for your credit card balance. Hotel rates may increase for a certain date and you may run out of rooms if they are all booked (or if there are none left). On the other hand, being a sophisticated planner can also have its drawbacks: Of course, you’ll want to get all your travelers lined up as soon as possible, but you may need money to book a hotel room.
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Edit: There are no simple answers to when is the best time to book a hotel room. Prices depend on many factors: location, seasonality, crowd and even weather. As a general rule, booking 21 days in advance is a no-no for the most popular destinations; you are putting yourself at risk for the price. Your best bet is to check prices at least 40 days in advance and monitor trends. If price goes up, order.
If you want to make sure you get the lowest price, hotel booking site Tingo (a sister company of SmarterTravel) will automatically track your hotel and, if the price drops, rebook you at the new lower price. Of course, if you’ve waited until 11pm and the hotel selection seems small, check out the Hotel Tonight app for real last-minute deals.
You have found your favorite hotel at a “great price”! and immediately took down the credit card number and
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