European hotels are sometimes required to hold your passport overnight to comply with local regulations. You should keep a copy for yourself for those times when a hotel is retaining your original. You should contact the hotels you will be staying at to check their policy and local regulation. Refusal to hand over a passport if required can lead to them refusing to register you for a room. You need to contact the appropriate hotels directly since requirements vary greatly.
Special discount programs might lower the cost of a hotel reservation:
Be sure to check for special hotel deals with your memberships, associations or clubs such as AAA or COSTCO.
Join appropriate premium clubs, loyalty or frequent flyer programs which can offer hotel discounts.
Check credit cards you have for special agreements with certain discount hotels.
Often special package discounts can be found when booking your room with a certain airline, rental car or attraction ticket package.
Check to if hotel discounts are available for age groups, young and old, as well as, for students if appropriate.
Check for group discounts are available if you are bringing your friends.
Check for discounts are often for government, military or corporate employees if appropriate. Some hotels will even extend these discounts during leisure travel.
To help save money on your hotel room rates:
Make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. Usually only a limited amount of the cheapest rates are available to the first few that reserve on a particular date and they go quickly.
Being flexible about when you travel can often save you money.
The best rates are usually found during the off-season and at other times when hotels tends to have empty rooms. Business hotels in the downtown area will often have specials on the weekends.
Be sure to ask about weekly rates or weekend specials.
Be sure to ask about suites. A hotel might have a suite available that would be less expensive than two separate rooms. Remember to check on the bathroom arrangement.
Shopping on the internet is usually the quickest and easiest way to compare many hotels' rates and to find the best deals.
Booking a room through a consolidator can often save a lot of money. They buy large blocks of rooms and often will pass their large discounts on to individual consumers.
Also check the national chain's 800 number and with the hotel directly, since one operator may be offering a special of which the other is unaware. Ask for the best rate available.
Try booking your vacation as a package. By booking your room along with a certain airline, rental car or attraction ticket package, you should be able to save money.
Be sure to ask apply any special discount programs for which you are eligible.
Look at the whole package when comparing rates. A more expensive hotel that includes many services in their rate can reduce your vacation budget in other areas. Depending on your plans, a more expensive hotel might actually provide a less expensive vacation.
Find out if any meals included with your stay?
Find out if there are any special deals for children?
Find out if there are any special deals for seniors?
Find out if the hotel provide free in room coffee, morning newspapers or complimentary evening cocktails?
Find out if the hotel have excellent pool, fitness or tennis facilities that could provide a cheap day of entertainment by just hanging around the Hotel?
Find out if the hotel have a golf, tennis or spa package that will save you over booking these items separately?
Is the location of the hotel particularly good or does the hotel have a shuttle service that could save you lots of cab fare or even eliminate the need for a rental car and possibly save you parking fees and gas?
Find out if the hotel has laundry services or the ability to loan out irons, ironing boards, hair dryers or voltage converters if needed to help lessen your luggage needs?
Find out if the hotel has other amenities available such as in room coffee makers, refrigerators or even kitchenettes that could save you money in your food budget?
You will need the following information to make a hotel reservation:
The name of the person or persons who will be staying at the hotel.
The number of guests staying in the room.
The credit card type, number and expiration date.
The name and location of the hotel that you want to reserve a room at.
The date and time you'll be checking in and checking out.
The type of room and number and size of beds you want to reserve, such as standard, business, suite, etc.
Any special requests, such as smoking/nonsmoking, spa appointments, childproofing or room location.
The name of any discounts or coupons that you are planning to apply to the stay.
Some hotels like to have your flight information in case they keep track of delayed flights.
If reserving more than one room, make sure they give you a confirmation number for each room you reserve. If you will have separate confirmation numbers for each room, it will be clear that you will need more than one room.
You should verify the following before making a hotel reservation:
Be sure to ask about any other groups or conventions that have booked the hotel at the same time since any large group could adversely effect your stay.
Ask about a hotel's services such as shuttles, babysitting, free meals or recreational facilities, if you plan on taking advantage of them and make sure those services will be available when you will need them.
Make sure you know just what special really means, if you are reserving a special room. Is your "ocean view" room right on the beach or can you just barely see the ocean if you look closely.
Be sure to check the hotel's check-in and checkout time.
Make sure you get complete address of the hotel and ask for directions if you need them.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|