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!
WAYS YOU CAN LOWER YOUR CAR INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Many people buy the cheapest car insurance policy without taking into account the reality of what they need. Because of soaring car insurance prices some people just want to be able to drive and can afford only so much insurance, so they settle for the cheapest priced insurance. If you have a business or property or any other assets, they may be in jeopardy if your insurance does not cover the damages you are liable for. So choosing the right amount of auto insurance coverage is crucial to your financial well being.
The best car insurance for you isn't necessarily the cheapest but one that reaches a balance between your coverage needs and budget. But, if you have many assets you should get enough liability coverage to protect them. For example: you have $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage and $100,000 in personal assets. If you're at fault in an accident, attorneys for the other party can go after you for the $50,000 in medical bills that aren't covered by your policy.
General recommendations for liability limits are $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person injured in an accident, $100,000 for all people injured in an accident and $25,000 property damage liability. So If you have no assets that an attorney can seek, don't buy coverage unnecessarily.
Your driving habits can also be a consideration in determining the coverage you need. If your past is filled with crumpled fenders, or if you have had speeding tickets, or if you make a long commute on a hazardous road every day, then you need to get more complete coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage that your car experiences in an accident or damage from hitting an inanimate object (a tree, light post or fence, for example). Comprehensive coverage addresses damage that didn't occur in a collision - such as from fire, theft or flood. It also covers damaged windshields.
A comprehensive insurance policy is the most common type that covers your car and the damage caused to other property. Cheaper third-party property damage is suited for cars typically worth less than about $5000, which covers the damage you cause to others but not your own car.
Ways to reduce your Auto Insurance Premium
-Shop around for insurers and cars if you are undecided. Get quotes on different cars, as premiums differ.
-Buy an affordable, mainstream car. The dearer and faster the car, the more expensive it is to insure.
-Get quotes online and finalise over the phone, if necessary. Most insurers offer a discounted online price and an over-the-phone price.
-Opt to pay your premium in an annual lump sum rather than in instalments that may attract a higher rate.
-For couples, ask if you can base the policy on the female/wife with male/husband listed as a nominated driver. Male drivers statistically are a higher risk.
-Consider increasing the excess to an amount with which you are comfortable and check whether this significantly reduces your premium.
-Multi-policy discounts may be available when a car or house and contents insurance is bundled.
-Disclose where your car is kept overnight (such as a locked garage, carport, secure car park) as this is a large risk factor for theft, consequently affecting your premium.
-Avoid finance, if possible, or inquire which options can affect your premium.
-Combine policies with one carrier. You may save money if you insure all your vehicles, including trailers and recreational vehicles, on a single policy. Your car premium also may go down if you buy homeowners’ or life insurance from the same company.
-Avoid vehicle modifications. This affects the performance and handling characteristics of a car and may also increase its appeal to thieves.
-Request a discount at renewal time. It is a competitive market and insurers want to retain customers.
-List nominated drivers on your policy and/or exclude younger drivers. Statistically, young male drivers are the highest risk and the premium increases accordingly.
-Encourage young drivers to build their own insurance rating by taking out a policy in their own name instead of being a listed driver on their parents' policy. Most insurers don't recognise the latter as insurance history and assume you have never had insurance and charge accordingly. However, many will acknowledge a claim-free history of third-party property cover and honour a rating/no-claim bonus as though you've always had comprehensive cover.
-Request higher deductibles. The deductible is the amount of money you have to fork over before your insurance policy comes to the rescue. By bumping your deductible up from $200 to $500, you could lower the cost of your collision and comprehensive coverage by 15 percent to 30 percent. By increasing it to $1,000, you could decrease that cost by at least 40 percent.
-Forgo coverage you don’t need. Think about dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars with a low market value. Such coverage often is not worth it because any claim you make probably won’t exceed the cost of the insurance and the deductible amount.
-Avoid duplicating medical coverage. If you already have good health, life and disability insurance, buy only the minimum personal injury protection required by the state where you live.
-Opt for safety gear. You can qualify for a discount on many policies if you have air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. An approved alarm system or other anti-theft device can give you additional savings.
-Ask about other discounts. You also might be able to pay less if you’re older than 50 or 55 and/or retired; if you’ve had no accidents or moving violations in three years; or if you’re a longtime customer. more on premiums