While the cheap hotel deals here at Sunshine can offer you great rates, that’s just the room rate + tax – the first battle. Once you get in your hotel, there a number of obstacles that can trip up your travel budget. Often the mistakes are obvious, but people seem to keep making them, so let’s point out your options and some alternatives.
Hands off that minibar – prices are inflated to an astronomic level, didn’t you know. And you might get charged just for taking a bottle out to look at it, with today’s fancy automaton mini-fridge. Some folks declare this their one personal vice on holiday, but I call it madness. Keep it locked up and go stock up on supplies at the nearest supermarket. Maybe I’m showing my cultural geek factor here, but I do love checking out grocery stores abroad, because they can be such a fascinating experience. What’s popular? What is the same as what you have at home? What’s downright weird/disgusting/unusual?
I admit, room service too is a nice vice to indulge in. But it is terribly expensive too, with lots of charges left and right just to have someone bring you a plate of lukewarm chips. Skip it and grab an indian curry takeout or something else nice to bring up to your room. Don’t forget drinks too – the minibar is off limits, remember?
A lot of hotels will give you coupons for their in-house restaurant or bar. Usually these restaurants are overpriced anyway, though in some cities – like New York or Hong Kong, where every building seems to double as a hotel part-time – the hotel restaurant is relatively competitive. I never thought this trick would work, but then I tried it a couple of times, and was surprised at the results. Worst case scenario is a no!
Bottled water is a tough one because 1) going through all the plastic bottles is a huge waste of materials, and 2) bottled water is often pretty expensive, especially in the hotel. I try always to carry a bottle of some sort – making sure it is empty before going through airport security!
If I don’t like the water from the tap in the room, I try to see if there’s a fitness room or gym area. Often these rooms have watercoolers or even sometimes flavored water which can be a nice treat to carry around.
What’s your tip to save room while at your hotel?
Photo by schuey
Posted : Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.