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5 Secrets Hotels Don't Want You to Know

Ideally, you want a hotel to be your home away from home when you travel, but you also want to get the best deal. 

Here's what you need to know:

First - You get the best rate by calling the hotel's local number, not the 800 number, which usually links callers to an off-site centralized call-center.  Instead of asking for the reservations desk, ask to speak with the manager on duty the general manager, or the director of sales.  They have the authority to negotiate room rates.

Second - Room rates are more expensive in the morning.  The best time of day to make a reservation by phone is right after 6:00pm.  This is when hotels wipe out the no-show reservations that were unsecured by credit card.   They then offer these rooms at bargain rates. In cities like NY or SF, this deadline it 4:00pm.

Third - Hotel rooms are infested with germs.  Certain items in hotel rooms never get cleaned. Trouble spots include th TV remote control, telephone, and clock radio.  Travel with a package of antibacterial wipes and clean these items when you arrive.

Fourth - The lost and found is a great resource for cell phone users.  If you use a cell phone, odds are that someday you'll forget to pack your recharging cord or lose it in transit.  If you are staying at a hotel, ask if they have any compatible chargers in their lost and found.  Recharging cords are the no. 1 item left behind in hotel rooms.  Most hotels are willing to lend chargers from their lost and found.

Fifth - Rooms are available even when a hotel has no vacancies.  In any large hotel, a few rooms usually are listed as "out of order" at any given time.  The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that has been sent out for repairs.  If you are desparate for a last minute room in a hotel that claims to have none available, tell the manager that you are willing to take an out of order room with a minor problem.  (check to see how "minor" the problem is first).  :)

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Managing Director of BostonCentral, mom of two kids and one tiny parrot.
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Comments
Jeanette E. Mar 31, 2014
Years ago, I used to work as a maid in California and here in Arkansas. It is true that the spreads aren't cleaned often, most of the time, unless there was an obvious stain of some sort, I never changed the spreads because that was not required. I also agree that one should wear something on his or her feet, because, even your own home sweeper can and does miss things. Sanitizing the toilet is usually routine, but so should the phones, remote controls, switches, and other areas where hands are placed be. I never would have thought of those things, nor did any of the managers I worked under suggest it. This was well over 45 years ago, I don't know what the maids are told to do these days, but all of the suggestions given are good ones, and I wouldn't take any room for granted, when it comes to "squeaky clean". I don't travel much anymore because of mobility issues, but there might come a few occasions when visiting relatives during holidays or reunions and , if and when those occasions present themselves, I will definitely use these suggestions....all of which are VERY GOOD ONES!!!
Mary K. May 6, 2013
Extra small plastic zip bags for potential spill containers, etc, can also be used to put remote in while using it. i keep colored plastic bags from stores to be used on trips, along with masking tape on a string & magic marker, for reminder notes, labeling. Helps individual track their own color. Cheap nylon convertible tote sack - backpack cord great carrier for guys, kids, anyone; maps, paper towels, tickets. sun glasses, camera.
Delbra H. Feb 25, 2013
Thanks for all the tips! My family and I are traveling to Phoenix, AZ in June and need those discounts. This will be an expensive trip for us, so please keep the tips coming! Delbra in Florida
Valerie D. Mar 9, 2012
And don't forget to wipe the door handles. I bring my own sheets, pillow cases blankets and pillows. My mother complains loudly and my daughter thinks I'm a germ weirdo . But I don't care. If I'm going far away I atleast bring sheets and pillow cases
Barbara J. Jun 19, 2011
I do not walk on the carpet in these rooms bare feet. I have never seen any hotel steam clean their carpets and if you wear white socks and walk in them you can soon tell how dirty their carpet really is. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS TRACKED IN ON THESE CARPETS???? NASTY!!! From who knows where and what state, city etc... Always wear socks, shower shoes, flip flops or something on your feet. Who knows there might be a straight pin from new clothes, or even a dirty drug needle in the carpet. You can't be too safe anywhere anymore. Safety First!!
Jeanette E. Jun 17, 2011
My daughter just e-mailed me about a planned Independance Day weekend trip she and her family will be taking and will be staying at a motel. I don't know if they have reserved one yet, but I am definitely going to send her a message about these very good ideas. Thanks, bunches!
Jose A. Jun 16, 2011
Great job!!
Linda B. Jun 20, 2010
We have found many hotels who will match your best online price offer themselves & will allow you to check out a day early and other options without added cost when sometimes necessary.
Carla G. Mar 24, 2010
If I am driving to a hotel, I always take disinfectant spray and wipes! I always spray the bed clothes, and floor with something like Lysol. I wipe down the sink and always use shower shoes! If flying, I pack travel sized products! Thanks for the other tips!
Christina L. Mar 17, 2010
I agree with all of these tips, I have used a lot of them. I did not know about the part of asking after 6 pm I deff will start doing that. Thank you so much for the tips. You all r very kind.
Odile M. Mar 15, 2010
Also, BED BUGS are becoming an epidemic in this country. Two casino's in AC, NJ just had major problems and my 92 yr old father-in-law brought them home w/him because he visits often w/their free room offers. We had to throw out his bed, couch, and recliner to get rid of them. Go to http://www.darkbanquet.com/news_item.php?item=578 to learn more about the bed bug issue and how to check a hotel/motel mattress.
Janice G. Dec 30, 2009
These are terrific tips. Thank you very much! ;-}
Susana H. Nov 27, 2009
Another thing that never get cleaned or replaced a hotel room are the comfoters. I always removed them.
Shev C. Nov 21, 2009
We usually stay in hotels with kitchenettes so I just bring my antibacterial spray cleaner that I use at home and bring a roll of paper towels. I also bring my antibacterial spray (lysol-type) and I use these things to spray the sinks, toilets, the tubs. I'll have to remember to clean the phone receiver, buttons and remotes. I will definitely remember to call after 6pm and use the direct line to the hotel.
Cindy C. Oct 19, 2009
Another thing to remember is if you have any problems with your room, let the manager know--you might get a discount. We stayed in an expensive suite (we had stayed in the same suite, in the same motel before, so we knew to expect an extravagant, clean suite). I asked when I called for reservations if they could give me a better deal, and I got one. When we checked in, the kitchen had not been cleaned properly and there was an unidentifiable something on one of the bedroom floors. When I reported it, I got another discount and an apology. The manager told me (and I knew this to be true) that uncleanliness was NOT the norm. Anyway, it never hurts to ask! Definitely let the manager know if something is not right with the room.
Mae B. Oct 11, 2009
Great tips. The towel used to wipe and clean the glasses is an eye opener for me. We'll pack bacterial wipes for our trip next week.
Linda H. Oct 10, 2009
Don't lay on the bedspread they do not wash them very ofton and the some time lazy maids use the same towel they wipe down with to clean the glasses.. and always check the bed before you get in to see if there clean. there are good places but the bad ones are out there to.
Debbie D. Apr 2, 2008
Great info!! Thanks
Vicki J. Feb 7, 2008
GREAT TIPS! Thanks
Kelly M. Jan 28, 2008
On our way back to Ohio from vacationing in Florida we ran into Kentucky Derby traffic and could not find a room. We finally made it into Cincinnati around 11:00 pm but still had several hours to go to Oberlin. Our kids were tired and so were we. At our last try near the interstate the economy place we stopped at was booked. I asked if they had any other hotels in their chain near by with a vacancy. We spent the night in an upscale hotel for the same price we would have paid along the interstate!
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