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Finding the best hotel price is on so many travelers’ minds these days.
According to the Tourico Holidays and Last Minute Travel Club Global Travel Trends Report, price (39%) is the most important decision factor when booking a hotel, followed by promotions (18%) and location (18%).
The report also found that 57% of people book their hotels based on a price-related factor, and 75% have a hotel budget of $150 or less per night.
Are you one of these budget-conscious travelers? Knowing where and how to look online can greatly improve the odds of finding the best hotel rates available. Follow the below tips to find the best hotel bargains:
1. Be Flexible with Travel Dates
Hotel rates can vary based on time of year, day of the week and vacancy. If your calendar permits a bit of flexibility, try looking for hotels during slower, less popular seasons. Keep in mind that weekdays like Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be available more often at cheaper rates than Fridays or Saturdays. Note: This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it seems to be the trend with most hotels.
2. Book by Price, Not Brand
The hotel brand no longer seems to matter to travelers. Only 4% cited it as the most important decision factor when booking a hotel.
If you are like the 75% of respondents who said price, promotions and location are the three most important deciding factors to booking, then you may want to consider shopping for an opaque hotel deal. While you won’t know what specific hotel you are staying in until it’s booked and paid for, you will get a lower price, and can compare locations and star-ratings.
3. Sign Up for Club Memberships
Travel club memberships, such as Last Minute Travel’s LMT Club, can save you a considerable amount of money. Most club memberships offer exclusive hotel rates and a discounted percentage off the original cost.
Just be cautious of travel clubs that are not attached to a reputable travel company. Do your homework, and research all club membership offers before signing up.
(Want to give it a try? Use the promo code TRAVELTRENDS for a free year’s membership to LMT Club (a $49 value), and start saving! Register here.)
4. Consider Package Deals
Even if you originally did not consider pairing a hotel with a flight or a rental car, some package deals offer better discounts than what you would get by booking them separately. Shop around and keep a calculated tab of what each option would cost.
Once you’ve compiled information from a few different package deals, compare and contrast. You may just find that you can save some money and not compromise quality.
To read the full Global Travel Trends Report that provides insights from more than 2,600 survey respondents on preferred vacation types, booking preferences, hotel selection criteria and more, click here.
Parents need to prepare their children well before returning back to school after a long holiday break. With some proper planning, your kids would be able to transition well both socially and mentally. Moreover, studies show that those who assist their young ones get back to school often get better results come end-semester. Discussed below are some ways this can be done:
- Help the student develop a study timetable 2 weeks prior to opening day. This would help him get prepared mentally for the hard work ahead. Furthermore, most schools tend to give assessment tests a few days after the students come back from holiday. Those who read before sitting for these exams stand a better chance of passing.
- Buy all supplies that would be needed in school. It’s appropriate to get them early enough to avoid the typical last minute rush. Also, make a list of all the things you require so as to avoid overspending. In most cases, students who are in boarding school would need more supplies than the day scholars. Apart from common study materials such as books, these students would also require living materials like foodstuff, new uniforms and personal hygiene products.
- Give your kids some time to socialize with friends and say a few last-minute wishes. Returning back to school may cut your kids off from seeing close buddies for a while. Therefore, allow them some time to mingle appropriately so that they can have some psychological peace once they go back to school.
Moving on, there are some college students who pursue their education in foreign countries. Such learners need a special plan on how they would start the semester. Below are some tips to consider when preparing for a new scholarly term.
- Check that your visa and passport documents have been renewed. This is very important since the host country cannot allow anyone into their territory unless these two items are provided. Students can get their documents by visiting the foreign country’s official embassy.
- Go for a professional health check-up. This would help you identify any minor illnesses that need to be treated before leaving the country. Remember that some nations actually require visitors to present a clean medical record before stepping into their land.
- Ensure your credit card is functional. You need enough money to survive as a student in any foreign country. Nevertheless, most people prefer using international cards for their transactions rather than carrying paper money. It’s also much safer to use them especially when handling big cash sums. Most Visa and MasterCard’s can be used to make transactions from international ATMs, so long as the teller machine is approved by either of these brands. The best thing about plastic money is that it can be used to make transactions in local currency, therefore saving the student time that could have otherwise been wasted visiting an exchange bureau.
- Book a cheap hostel before leaving the country. Nowadays this is possible with the help of internet connectivity, just compare the prices of different accommodations and choose one that best suits your needs. Moreover, ensure that there’s enough security where you would be staying. American students can also register for ESTA. This is a special visa waiver program that assesses the suitability of foreigners to visit US.
The vacation rental trend is soaring in popularity in North America and beyond. The benefits are obvious as to why seasoned travelers are trying out this spacious, private, money saving option. Consider it nice change of pace for the typical road-weary, hotel veteran looking for a cost-effective accommodation alternative or a family looking to break free from the hotel room norm.
Setting aside the automatic status upgrade you receive from merely mentioning that you’re staying in a villa, condo, townhome or cabin for a week, vacation homes give you the freedom to make a more memorable and cozy experience for family and friends traveling with you (and making those jealous who aren’t with you). These rentals are not only designated by the multiple rooms they have, but the cost per person is comparable to that of a typical hotel stay. More rooms means more space and thus one comfortable, complaint-free family. Imagine staying in a place with the comforts of home, without doing the cleaning of home – now that’s vacation paradise! More than that, these rentals are ideal for group vacations and just as simple to book.
What seals the deal for most travelers is the worry free online booking, the instant confirmation and the fact that all the properties we offer are professionally managed by the top property management companies in the market. This means that you get the same sense of security when you book your vacation as you do when booking a hotel and you know that there is someone always ready to assist, from check-in to departure to handle any special needs you may have.
With the greater privacy that staying in a single property brings, you can feel right at home with amenities such as private pools, full kitchens and entertainment centers to use as you please. You also have more control over the dining options for your group. Rather than being confined to room service choices or having to spend a fortune at a nearby touristy restaurant, you can opt to utilize the kitchen for snack storage and cooking or you can order in to save a trip. Of course, the option to go out for dinner is always there!
For a hassle-free, relaxing vacation you won’t soon forget, give our vacation homes a try. Because no two rentals are exactly the same, staying in a vacation home is always a completely unique experience!
Found a vacation home deal you fancy? Use coupon code ‘VH25′ and get $25 discount!*
*With purchases of $500 or more.
Looking for a new way to explore one of Europe’s most beloved cities? Why not discover the City of Lights by retracing the steps of literary greats who called Paris home? Paris’s literary history is so rich it rivals the city’s creamiest brie. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice that, either. Here’s a list of must-see sights in this glorious city, as well as some options for literary exploration.
If you have an in-flight movie option on your way across the pond, you might consider watching Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. Loaded with references to America’s “Lost Generation” of expatriate writers and artists of the 1920s, it will whet your palate for the sights to come. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and his most admired friend, Ernest Hemingway, are all alluded to in the film, along with Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and more. Of course, you can also dive deeper into French culture by exploring some of France’s own literary greats, such as HonorE de Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.
Literary Homes, Haunts, and Resting Spots
If you are interested in making the pilgrimage to some of these Paris homes, try a walking tour, or stop in for a visit at one of these museums.
Authors’ Former Homes
- F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:
· 14 rue de Tilsitt, 8th arrondisement, right bank, near the Arc de Triomphe
· 58 rue Vaurigard, 6th arrondisement, on the corner of the Luxembourg gardens
- Edith Wharton:
· 58 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondisement, across the street from Hotel Matignon
(Prime Minister’s residence)
- Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus:
· near Luxembourg Gardens’ western side
· Gertrude Stein and life partner Alice B. Toklas’s salon, frequented by artists and writers alike
- Pere Lachaise Cemetary:
· take an atmospheric walk and pay homage to Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Apollinaire, Moliere, and more
· location: 16 rue du Repos, 75020 Paris
· hours: 8:30am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 5pm daily
- Montparnasse Cemetary:
· pay tribute to Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant, and more in one of Paris’s favorite literary neighborhoods
· location: 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris
· worth a visit for the architecture alone, you can also stop by the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and more
· location: Place du PanthEon, 75005 Paris
· website: http://www.pantheonParis.com/
- Maison de Victor Hugo
· address: 6, place des Vosges Hôtel de Rohan-GuEmEnEe, 75004 Paris
· website: www.musee-hugo.Paris.fr
· tel: 01 42 72 10 16
· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- Maison de Balzac: the home of HonorE de Balzac
· address: 47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris
· website: http://www.Paris.fr/pratique/musees-expos/maison-de-balzac/p6837 (in French)
· tel: +33 1 55 74 41 80
· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- Chateau de Monte Cristo: writer Alexandre Dumas’ country home outside the city
· address: Château de Monte-Cristo, 78560 le Port-Marly
· website: http://www.chateau-monte-cristo.com/en/index.html
· tel: +33 1 39 16 49 49
· hours: April 1st – November 1st: Tues – Fri 10am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 6pm; Sat/public holidays: 10am – 6pm; November 2nd – March 31st: Sundays only, 2pm – 5pm
- MusEe Carnavalet: covers the history of Paris, with great exhibits on Voltaire and Rousseau
· address: 23, rue de SEvingE, 75003 Paris
· website: http://www.carnavalet.Paris.fr/en/homepage
· tel: +33 01 44 59 58 58
· hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday
The Quintessential “Writer in Paris” Experience: CafE Life
If you are interested in viewing the world through these writers’ eyes, debating grand ideas with your own companions, or just nibbling on a croissant and sipping a cafE au lait, you might try one of the following places:
- The Polidor (Cremerie-Restaurant Polidor)
· go for: the history, tried and true Parisian food
· location: 41 rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris, open 12 – 2:30pm, 7pm – 12:30am daily except Sundays
· famous guests: Paul Valery, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo
· website: http://www.polidor.com/index.html
· go for: an expensive meal and Art Deco furnishings
· location: 3, rue Royale, 75008 Paris
· famous guests: Marcel Proust, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau
· website: http://www.maxims-de-Paris.com/p2us.htm
· tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 27 94
- CafE Les Deux Magots
· go for: the literary history and a cafE au lait
· location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des PrEs, 75006 Paris
· famous guests: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Albert Camus, StEphane MallarmE, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud
· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 25
· website: http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php
- CafE de Flore
· go for: Art Deco interior, the history, and some delicious hot chocolate
· location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
· famous guests: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and many more
· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 26
· website: http://www.cafedeflore.fr/accueil/
With so much vibrant history in this city, one great way to explore is to take a tour led by an experienced guide who can weave the threads of history together. Try Paris Walks’ Hemingway’s Paris tour (12 Euro/person) or for a slightly broader sweep, Localer’s Paris Literature tour (39 Euro/person), which includes a visit to Sylvia Beach’s famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.
And Don’t Miss….
While you visit the City of Lights, take advantage of these great deals and must-sees.
We would like to recommend a couple of nice and affordable hotels to stay in while you’re visiting Paris:
Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site where you can find advice on marriage finances.
Around this time of year my sister, niece, nephew and I bake an impressive medley of cookies to give as gifts. We drive to all our holiday parties so sharing treats is easy. But if you’re one of the many travelers flying during the holidays, packing home-baked/homemade gifts to loved ones is a bit more challenging. Here’s the short and sweet list for traveling to the airport with food and gifts.
Make life easy for you and everyone in line behind you: place any baked goods in your checked bags. Or better yet, ship them ahead.
You’re allowed to pack a variety of edibles including jam, cheese and wine, in your checked bags. Obviously, pack them well with lots of cushion. When I travel with anything liquid I like to wrap them in their own Ziploc bag, then around really bulky sweaters or tucked into shoes for extra protection.
You can, according to the TSA web site, bring wrapped pies and cakes through the security checkpoint. I’m a bit skeptical of this and think maybe that page just hasn’t been updated in awhile? The article does point out that these “carry-ons” are subject to additional screening. To be on the safe side I’d wait until reaching my destination….then whip up that famous pie or fruit cake.
Do not wrap any gifts. Security officers may have to unwrap for security purposes. Again, the mantra here is a simple “ship ahead”. Or just wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap your gifts.
Read the full TSA article. Happy (and tasty) travels!
Quick and easy hints for healthy air travel: Take note and maybe next time you won’t have to take the tissue.
We all know washing hands for germ prevention is an important factor in avoiding any bug. But when you’re at 30,000-feet there are a few other contributing factors, including low cabin humidity. One way to combat this is by sipping plenty of H20. And how about a little germ-killing mouthwash? That too can help prevent the spread of germs.
A few minutes of reading now can make all the difference later. Read the complete article with explanations and tips by the Independent Traveler.
Before you change that flight, pack an extra bag, tote along Fido or ask for headphones, take a peek at the current costs for flying. Here’s a handy list of airline fees, compiled by USA Today. And with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s a great time to square away your budget.
Check out this updated, comprehensive list of airline fees.
Kids and holiday travel are a fact of life. Sure it can be one of the less pleasant aspects of a vacation, but with a little planning and some useful tips, it can help you make family memories that will last a life time. I found this great list of tips on the Delicious Baby blog for making Thanksgiving Travel hassle-free (or as hassle-free as possible):
- Find a Pit Stop Playgrounds and public libraries (assuming you’re not driving on Thursday) always make great places to stop with kids. On Thanksgiving day, Barnes and Noble, many Starbucks locations, most zoos and many aquariums are open, and they also make great destinations for you and the kids to stretch your legs.
- Pack the Pillows Having familiar sleeptime items from home will help your kids settle down to sleep both in the car and at your destination.
Find more of these excellent tips back at Delicious Baby.
If you like to be able to walk out the door in five minutes and be on vacation or minimalism is your style here are four quick tips for vacationing with the absolute minimum of stuff.
1. Leave the toiletries at home. Stay at a nicer hotel and then rely on the hotel’s comfort pack and amenities to fill the gap. Only care items you specifically need.
2. Limit yourself to two changes of clothes. Wear one set of clothes on the plane and pack the other. Make sure you can mix and match, so something that is casual can be dressed up with a jacket or accessories. A nice wrap or sarong works wonders for women and men can now purchase slacks that discreetly transform into shorts.
3. Buy what you need when you get there. If the bag is full ask yourself, do you really need to travel with this item or can you purchase it when you get there. This saves on weight too. All those gels and liquids carry a lot of water weight.
4. Plan ahead. Luggage tends to inflate with extras when you don’t know what to expect. So plan ahead, do some research on your destination, and eliminate the clothes and accessories you won’t need when you get there.
Now, all you really need is a shopping bag or briefcase and you’re ready to go.