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.
Important news before you travel:
If you are in the United States you should be aware of certain Travel Advisories which are given to citizens who choose to travel abroad. These advisories can affect you and may even change your travel plans. So before you go to the airport you should always check to see if your destination country is on the List of the United States Government Travel Advisories.
For more information: Check out the link below which will send you to the US Governments official website.
WHY A TIMESHARE PROPERTY MAY BE YOUR PERFECT VACATION ANSWER:
You may not know it but many people throughout the world have Timeshare properties which they use for vacations.
A timeshare is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property.
Units may be on a partial ownership, lease, or "right to use" basis, in which the sharer holds no claim to ownership of the property.
Two basic vacation ownership options are available: timeshares and vacation interval plans. The value of these options is in their use as vacation destinations, not as investments. Because so many timeshares and vacation interval plans are available, the resale value of yours is likely to be a good deal lower than what you paid.
Both a timeshare and a vacation interval plan require you to pay an initial purchase price and periodic maintenance fees. The initial purchase price may be paid all at once or over time; periodic maintenance fees are likely to increase every year.
Deeded Timeshare Ownership. In a timeshare, you either own your vacation unit for the rest of your life, for the number of years spelled out in your purchase contract, or until you sell it. Your interest is legally considered real property.
You buy the right to use a specific unit at a specific time every year, and you may rent, sell, exchange, or bequeath your specific timeshare unit. You and the other timeshare owners collectively own the resort property.
Unlike a vacation home which may be vacant part of the year, you only pay for what you use. Thus, the use of a very expensive property could be more affordable; for one thing you don’t need to worry about year-round maintenance.
TOP 5 REASONS TO REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE
There are so many reasons why most people refinance their loans. Here are the Top-5 reasons why they do and why you should too:
1. Lower the monthly payment. You can lower your monthly expense by stretching out your mortgage repayment over a longer term and / or by dropping your interest rate. If that’s your goal, investigate 40-year mortgages, interest-only payments and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Each of these mortgages comes with trade-offs, so get additional refinance information about their pros and cons before proceeding.
2. Lower the interest rate. Refinancing to a home loan with a lower mortgage rate can reduce your monthly payment and the amount of interest you pay. If you plan to keep your home for many years, consider 15- or 30-year fixed home loans; otherwise, you'll find that ARMs and hybrid ARMs, which are fixed for 3-10 years before they begin adjusting, carry the lowest mortgage rates.
3. Pay the mortgage off faster. Switching to a 15-year mortgage gets you a couple of advantages. Mortgage rates on 15-year loans are about half a percent lower than rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans. Your home equity goes up and your interest expense goes down. The trade-off is that your mortgage payment is higher; make sure you can afford it before committing to this loan.
4. Convert an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage. If you plan to keep your home for a long time, taking a fixed loan with a higher rate than your current ARM may make sense in the long run. It keeps you safe from inflation and makes budgeting easier. In this case, 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgages are the most appropriate.
5. Trade home equity for cash. If you want cash to renovate your home, pay college tuition, consolidate debt, or for any other reason, cash-out refinances and home equity loans were made for you. Use the home equity loan if you like the mortgage you have, and the cash-out refi if you don’t.
you might be able to improve the terms of your mortgage by refinancing, and it isn’t that hard to do. If you’re considering taking advantage of lower rates, swapping a fixed-rate mortgage for your adjustable loan (or vice versa) or cashing out some of your home equity, these five steps can help you navigate the refinance process.
Determine if you should refinance. Refinancing is one of those things that shouldn’t necessarily do just because you can. Your decision depends on your objective, your timeframe, and your profile. First, you need to know what you’re dealing with - your current rate, program and payoff. Then use a refinance calculator to see how your loan stacks up against refinance mortgages
Find a lender. There are several ways to find mortgage lenders. The old-school way is to get out the yellow pages and start dialing. A more efficient method is to get quotes from lenders online, then interview two or three of the most competitive. You’ll want to be comfortable with the person who helps you choose and apply for your mortgage refinance.
Choose a refinance program. Chances are good that more than one refinance program will work for you.a The 15-year fixed loans accelerate your payoff and come with lower rates but higher payments than 30-year loans. 30-year fixed rate mortgages are safe and make budgeting the easiest. And hybrid ARMs come with the lowest rates, which arae fixed for 3, 5, 7 or 10 years. In addition, homeowners with little equity may want to explore government refinance mortgages and streamline refinance programs.
Apply for your refinance. You’ll have to complete an application with a mortgage loan officer or broker and probably document your income and assets. Unless your refinance is a streamline program, your home will be appraised. This is where it pays to have an experienced professional working with you to get your refinance approved - good ones head off most of the eleventh-hour surprises and help you close your loan smoothly.
Lock in your refinance rate. Mortgage rates move with financial markets and can change several times a day. If you want to lock in a target rate, you may have to move quickly.