Saturday, April 18, 2009

Think you got a good travel deal? Check your math.

Everyone is offering specials and deals to entice the traveler to their locations this summer. But before you fall for the headlines, recheck the math. For example, a hotel offering a special that includes "the fourth night free" equates to a 25% savings on the rate. This sounds like a great deal and many fall for the "FREE" offer, but an overall 30% off the entire stay will result in a greater savings. Another gimick is 50% off of one night. However, if you are staying for five nights in the hotel, this equates to only 11% savings overall based on the price, or 14% off when comparing the fourth night free deal.

If you have your heart on a particular hotel, ask for a discount, and don't be afraid to haggle. Many hotels are not filling up and will offer discounts to get your business. Keep in mind that even if they won't lower the room rate, they might be able to throw in extra amenities such as free breakfast, or discount tickets to a nearby attraction.

Other cost saving measure is to consider paying the extra money for a suite with a kitchen and preparing your own meals. With the cost of eating out rising, this could save you a lot of money on your trip. But again, do the math and make sure you will use the in-room kitchen often enough to save the money on eating out. Personally, eating out is part of the vacation experience and something we seldom do when at home, so I don't mind paying the extra money for restaraunt food. Don't forget to look for the "kids eat free" deals at many hotels. This is a great way to help you save money.


Green Hotels

Hotels are finally getting on board and doing more to help the planet than limiting their washing. Wyndham Hotels won an award in March for implementing uniforms made from recycled plastics.

My favorite green story is one that appeared recently in our local paper. It reported that the Sheraton housekeeping staff in Santa Monico has ditched their skin-chapping bleach and pungent ammonia for spray bottles filled with electrolyzed water to clean toilets and sinks. Electrolyzed water is also being used to disinfecting produce making the lettuce last longer. This whole process saves money and is safer for the guests and the environment. I personally hope more hotels go in this direction.

Looking for other green hotels? Check out the list on the "Green" Hotel Association website.