TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:
When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:
Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. A credit cards offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.
Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.
When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.
When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.
Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.
DID YOU KNOW:
FINDING THE BEST HOTEL RATES:
Due to the internet, the manners in which hotel rooms are procured have drastically changed over the last couple of decades. Prior to internet access, guests called hotels directly to book rooms. While some guests continue to book rooms this way, many have learned that calling a hotel directly may not be the most economical choice. However, it is also been found that hotel rates also vary a great deal from website to website, especially discount travel sites.
Hotels are in constant competition with each other for your business. The goal of every hotel is to achieve 100% occupancy. Not only are they competing with each other, they are often competing with themselves. Look at how many hotels have various hotel chain subsidiaries beneath them. They must stay competitive, but still continue to make a profit while keeping their rooms occupied. This said, many hotels offer blocks of rooms to a variety of other entities to sell. Travel agents and online brokers typically compete to sell rooms for hotels, and they receive a percentage of the purchase price. The rate disparity comes into play two ways. First, the hotel is offering rooms at their standard rates or discount club rates. Second, because hotels offer these agents and booking websites various rates, someone who is getting a larger percentage of the sale price, can afford to offer the room at a lower rate than someone who is getting a small percentage from the sale.
Finding the best room rate:
If contacting the hotel directly, ask if they have any current specials. If your travel plans are flexible, inquire about any future specials, and the specific parameters of those specials.
If you’re a ‘select’, ‘rewards’ or hotel ‘member’, mention this, and ask if they have any special discounts available for members of their programs. Additionally, if you are affiliated with a corporate account, or a roadside assistance plan which offers travel benefits, mention that too. Sometimes guests are eligible for more than one discount and can pick and choose the one that provides the greatest savings.
When placing reservations online through a hotel booking service, first find the service that offers the best deal. The best deal may not be the one which provides the lowest price, but the service with the best room guarantee, who is willing to price match. If you’ve found the room for a lower rate elsewhere, tell your preferred vendor and ask them to match the price. Several websites will even provide a 30-day guarantee against lower prices - so even after booking your reservation, stay vigilant.
Hotel rates vary so much because there are numerous entities vying to secure your business by competing with each other. With a little investigative prowess, you can secure the best rates possible for your hotel stay, despite the varying rates.
DID YOU KNOW ARIZONA IS A VERY POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION?
Arizona-the Grand Canyon State-is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Beyond the iconic Grand Canyon, experiences await you in every direction and in every corner of the state. Arizona is home to 47 national parks, monuments and refuges as well as 29 state parks that showcase mountains, buttes, deserts and hidden lakes. Visitors often start exploring Arizona from Phoenix, the state capital and the fifth largest city in the United States.
Phoenix and Outskirts
Today, Phoenix is a destination as well as a gateway to further adventure in the rugged deserts, lakes and canyons around its edges. Here are some sites to visit around the city:
Phoenix was not the first town to arise along the banks of the Salt River. Explore Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park to see where the ancient Sonoran Desert people once lived and farmed.
The145-acre Desert Botanical Garden strives to be the premier center in the world for the display, study and understanding of desert plants and their environments. Visitors from around the world come here to appreciate the beauty of the garden and to enjoy its outdoor trails, special events and education programs.
The Heard Museum is one of the world’s finest destinations for learning about American Indian arts and cultures with its 11 exhibition galleries, free guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, renowned café, art gallery, trading-post style shopping and more. Be sure and watch the Heard’s Native People of the Southwest video series.
There is a reason National Geographic named Phoenix one of "America’s Best Hiking Cities." Phoenix’s South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the United States with 16,000 acres and 51 miles of trails for hiking, wildlife viewing or horseback riding. Other Phoenix area trails and desert preserves include Camelback Mountain, Shaw Butte and Piestewa Peak. The Tonto National Forest is another “backyard” desert playground for urban dwellers-tubing on the Salt River is an Arizona summer tradition!
TRAVEL TO THE TOP BEACHES OF BERMUDA
Bermuda offers an array of exquisite beaches of pink sand and turquoise water. The sand contains pink flecks that are the remains of a tiny organism known as red foam. This combined with tiny particles of broken shells and bits of coral create the pink hue of Bermuda's beautiful beaches.
Bermuda's pink sand beaches and clear, cerulean blue ocean waters are very popular with tourists. Lifeguards are stationed on some of the beaches during the summer; however, many are not and being aware of the undercurrents and never swimming alone are two good tips. There are some water activities with fabulous snorkeling and diving offered on the reefs off South Shore at the larger beaches.
A private picnic lunch or dinner at the beach is a popular option. The less private beaches often offer food and alcohol concessions.
John Smith's Bay: Off the beaten track in Smith's parish, this popular locals' beach is a little less crowded than the South Shore destinations but still boasts soft sand and great swimming and snorkelling. The Harrington Hundreds grocery store is just a few minutes away by moped if you want to make your own picnic.
Cooper's Island Nature Reserve: A tiny peninsula on the eastern edge of the island, only recently opened to the public, Cooper's Island is actually a series of small coves connected by almost a mile of walking trails. The larger, but less picturesque (it's all relative) Clearwater Beach is right next door.
West Whale Bay: Named for the humpback whales that migrate past Bermuda in April and May each year, this is as good a place for whale watching as anywhere on the island. The grassy cliff-top that borders this Southampton beach is a great spot for a picnic.
Snorkel Park: A great beach for families, out west in vibrant Dockyard. There are inflatables for the kids to rent, great snorkelling for dad and beach loungers for mum.
Warwick Long Bay: To truly grasp the beauty of Bermuda's South Shore, walk the length of Warwick Long Bay and clamber across the rocks, or take a detour over the sand dunes to Jobson Cove and Chaplin Bay. On a quiet day you will see more Longtails than fellow tourists. B, R (seasonal)
Shelly Bay: A parents' dream beach, Shelly Bay boasts warm, shallow water, a soft sandy bottom and backs on to a playground and sports field. A favourite for kids and novice swimmers - and close to the bus stop.
Church Bay: Swim with shoals of brightly coloured parrot fish among the pristine coral reef that pierces the water just yards from shore at this small South Shore bay, widely revered as Bermuda's best beach for snorkellers.
Elbow Beach: A half-mile of white sand boasting stunning views of the Atlantic, Elbow Beach, in Warwick, is a playground for joggers, kiteboarders, beach volleyball players and SCUBA divers. There's even a shipwreck within swimming distance of shore. You can join in the fun or just hire a deckchair and sit back and watch.
Tobacco Bay: Famous for its stunning volcanic rock formations - natural sculptures that emerge from the glassy water, this picturesque, sheltered cove is also a snorkellers' dream. The short walk from the old town of St. George is well worth it.
Horseshoe Bay: A crescent of soft, pink sand, lapped by clear blue water, fringed by sand dunes and bordered with sandstone cliffs, garnished with swaying palms - Horseshoe, in Southampton Parish, is the Mecca of the island's beaches and a must for every Bermuda visitor.
Many of Bermuda's hotels are located along the south shore of the island. In addition to its beaches, there are a number of sightseeing attractions. Historic St George's is a designated World Heritage Site. Scuba divers can explore numerous wrecks and coral reefs in relatively shallow water (typically 30-40 ft or 9-12 m in depth), with virtually unlimited visibility. Many nearby reefs are readily accessible from shore by snorkellers, especially at Church Bay.
Bermuda's most popular visitor attraction is the Royal Naval Dockyard, which includes the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Other attractions include the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, the Botanical Gardens and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, lighthouses, and the Crystal Caves with stalactites and underground saltwater pools.
History of Bermuda:
The first European to discover Bermuda was Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermúdez in 1503, after whom the islands are named. He claimed the apparently uninhabited islands for the Spanish Empire. Although he paid two visits to the archipelago, Bermúdez never landed on the islands, because he did not want to risk crossing over the dangerous reef surrounding them. Subsequent Spanish or other European parties are believed to have released pigs there, which had become feral and abundant on the island by the time European settlement began. In 1609, the English Virginia Company, which had established Virginia and Jamestown on the North American continent two years earlier, established a settlement. It was founded in the aftermath of a hurricane, when the crew of the sinking Sea Venture steered the ship onto the reef so they could get ashore.
The island was administered as an extension of Virginia by the Company until 1614, when its successor, the Somers Isles Company, took over and managed it until 1684. At that time, the company's charter was revoked, and the English Crown took over administration. The islands became a British colony following the 1707 unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. After 1949, when Newfoundland became part of Canada, Bermuda automatically was ranked as the oldest remaining British Overseas Territory. Since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, it is the most populous Territory. Its first capital, St. George's, was established in 1612 and is the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the New World.
Today the United States is critical to Bermuda's economy. As the island’s closest geographical neighbor, the U.S. is also its principal trading partner and the source of more than 80% of its visitors. With the decline of tourism in recent years, the economy is based primarily on international business, and the island is an important regional and global offshore financial center. Insurance and reinsurance firms based in Bermuda write significant volumes of business in the United States, and a large number of American-owned businesses are incorporated in Bermuda. An estimated 8,000 U.S. citizens live in Bermuda, many of them employed in the international business community.
Bermuda’s currency, the Bermuda dollar, is pegged one-to-one to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recognizes the Bermuda Stock Exchange as a “Designated Offshore Securities Market.” Areas of opportunity for U.S. investment, in addition to the insurance, reinsurance, and financial services industries, include the government sector.
At 21 square miles, the entire UK overseas territory of Bermuda is smaller than some of the world’s larger airports. Located 560 miles east of Cape Hattaras, Bermuda depends on its airport (BDA/TXKF) for much of its contact with the outside world.
The airport can support aircraft of all sizes up to and including the A380. It is a NASA Space Shuttle launch-abort site that could be used during low- and mid-inclination launches. Facilities include both a passenger and a cargo terminal as well as an airport hangar constructed in 1995.
The first facility on the site now occupied by L.F. Wade International Airport was built between 1941 and 1943 as a joint US Army Air Forces (USAAF)/Royal Air Force (RAF) base named Kindley Field. At the end of World War II, the RAF left Bermuda. The field, by then hosting civil as well as military aircraft, was operated by the United States Air Force as Kindley Air Force Base until 1970, when it was transferred to the United States Navy. The Navy operated it as US Naval Air Station, Bermuda until 1995, when it was transferred to the Bermuda Government’s Ministry of Tourism and Transport.
Today, L.F. Wade International Airport offers service to fourteen destinations in Europe, Canada and the U.S., including travel hubs such as London, New York, Miami and Toronto. The airport is served by Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, United, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, AirTran, Westjet and US Airways.
go to: Bermuda