Tuesday 17 July 2012

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How to Not Look Stupid While Hotel Hopping

I did it to my kids again. On our just completed Florida visit, I made them change hotels...a lot. Over the course of our eight night stay, we stayed at five different hotels and checked in and out seven times. It wasn't as bad as the last mattress run of 21 hotels in 22 days, but it was still an awful lot of shuffling around. Fortunately my kids now understand that chasing promotions is part of how we afford to travel, so they've come to grips with having to pack up and make their way down to the lobby every morning.

It's not that easy though. Constantly changing hotels can really put a drag on your holiday if you don't think through what you're doing. If you get confused, you can really come off looking like a complete fool. Trust me, I know. So if you're considering hitting the hotels and chasing down some of their better promotions, here is some advice to help you not look like....well.....me.

#1 - Take a picture of your room number

I know what you're thinking. "Steve, I'm a grown adult. I can remember a room number." Yeah, that's what I used to think too. After a few nights though, those numbers start to blur together. Eventually you'll find yourself stepping on to a crowded elevator and asking somebody to "press 23 please", only to be met with blank stares because you're in a four story hotel. Trust me, just take the picture.

#2 - Remove your room key as soon as you check out

This is assuming you're like me and want to keep your room keys. If not, give them back when you check out, but whatever you do, don't leave them in your wallet. Hilton keys do NOT open doors at the Hyatt, and complaining to the Hyatt front desk that your key isn't working, then slamming a Hilton key on the counter, doesn't win you a lot of style points.

#3 - Use a separate credit card for room deposits

Hotels like to block out a lot of space on your credit cards when you check in, and just because of the way the banking system works, that space can take a little while to get released after you check out. This can fill your card up fast, and believe me there's nothing classier than having your credit card rejected at check in. Also, if you're traveling out of the country, you probably should let your credit card company know what you're doing. They're going to call and ask what the heck you're doing anyways, so you might as well have that conversation first.

#4 - Check the TV channel lineup

Even just moving across the street can have a drastic effect on your TV listings. Hotels use different cable providers, and that means that the lineup can be completely different. Channel 22 could have switched from the Disney Channel to HBO and a 24 hour Game of Thrones marathon. If you send your kids into the other room to watch TV while you unpack and you hear "Dad, why are people naked on Disney channel?" then you know you've messed up.

#5 - Know the breakfast situation

Most of the hotels I stay at have some form of free breakfast, but when you're switching a lot, sometimes you lose track of things. Don't be like me and assume that just because there's food in the hotel foyer that it's your free breakfast. Despite their name, the Hospitality convention isn't really all that hospitable when they find you helping yourself to their food. It should really be called the Yell at People convention.

This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walkingon Travels. If you didn't get here from there, you should go check it out. There's people there whose tips won't get you yelled at. Obviously they've never been to a hospitality convention.

Written by Steve Pratt