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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Corner Office 12.28.11

The corner office has long been the dream of executives everywhere. Why? Because it is bigger and has twice as much "view". What does this have to do with travel? Well, if you book in advance to stay in a hotel, you too could live the corner "office" fantasy.

Replace the word 'office' with the word 'room' and you have the holy grail of hotel rooms. The corner room offers a better value for your money, because you pay the same price as the other similar rooms in the building, but you get more square footage and your room is brighter, because it features windows on two walls instead of just one. If you face the ocean, this room is coveted by all. Sometimes, if you're lucky, there is an extra wide balcony or possibly TWO. When you book early, you can put in a request for this sought after room. The further in advance you book, the more likely you are to claim it. You can up your chances by checking in mid-week or staying in the off- or shoulder-season. Remember that you can usually save money by traveling during these times, too, because hotels have empty rooms they are trying to fill, so they drop their rates to make it more enticing to book.

Want to save more and get more for your money? Here are a few tricks:

Stay where they offer free breakfast. This is obvious how it helps you save. Breakfast is one of the least expensive meals to make, yet they charge as much as they do for lunch at a majority of restaurants. $8-12 for two eggs and toast? Why not save that money to have a delicious lunch or cut down on your budget? The more people in your travel party, the more you save!

Take those lobby freebies. You know when you walk through the lobby a billion times during your trip and see that basket of fruit next the coffee pot? Those are free snacks! Grab an apple, orange or banana on your way out and when you find yourself hungry in between meals, pull it out of your bag instead if stopping to get a candy bar or bag of chips somewhere it's "convenient". You'll feel more healthy and get in a nutritious snack...unless the freebies are cookies, which isn't bad either, especially when you didn't quite have enough room for dessert after dinner. 

Find lobby coupons. Almost all hotels have a stand with brochures for activities and city attractions magazines. You can find a whole mess of discounts in them for dining, shopping, activities and more. From free dessert to BOGO theme park tickets, you can  save a bundle. Woohoo!

Go out to eat instead of calling room service. When you order from the room service menu, you end up spending almost twice as much as you would if you went out to a normal sit-down restaurant. Between the hopped up price they charge for each a la cart item, the tip they include for someone to walk it to the elevator and to your room and then the extra tip they trick people into leaving  when they ask them to sign for it and they see that tip line there. If you REALLY don't want to go out, call for a pizza.

Stock up on snacks. This is my specialty. I love shopping for snacks and having a variety of things to nosh on. they save you from buying a bunch of crap when you are hungry for something in between meals and you also have something on hand once you've retired to your hotel room for the evening. 

Do you specifically ask for a corner room or save on your room and/or dining in other ways?

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So, Christmas and Hanukkah have come and gone and you didn't get a copy of Shereen Travels Cheap in your stocking or under the tree? Bummed out? Well, don't be. You can buy one yourself, and at a discount, too! Sign up for my newsletter and instantly get 20% off codes for the book at my online store and the digital version through Smashwords. (If you already subscribe, email me and I'll send you those codes.)

What's in it and why is it so cool? Well, for starters, you are getting over 200 pages of money saving travel tips, packing tricks, websites that will make your travel planning easier and cheaper, awesome gadgets and items that will get you excited to go on vacation, just so you can use them, plus personal anecdotes and travel stories. Find all the useful stuff that you've read in the blog, and a lot more than you won't ever find here, and have it all in one place in a handy-dandy reference book. 

Heck, don't take my word for it. Here's what other lovely people have to say:

"The book is organized so that you can check the table of contents and flip right to what you need, but it's also interesting enough to be read straight through. It's a travel tip book that reads like a novel!" – Allison Renner, Travel & Book Blogger

"A Goldmine of Information!" – Java Davis, Book Blogger

"Dense with information and completely thorough, Shereen Travels Cheap compiles a huge range of useful budgeting travel tips. Even though I have traveled extensively, many of the tips and recommended sites were new to me! Her guide covers the insider tips I never knew I needed and is the first place to start when planning a budget vacation where you hope to get a lot of bang for your buck." – Shannon O'Donnell, Travel Blogger

"I'm fairly obsessive about getting good travel deals, but I still hadn't heard of all these sites. Shereen is good at focusing on 'value' and not just headline costs." – Rachel Cotterill, Travel & Book Blogger

"I'm already a pretty cheap traveler (so many sofas! so many dicey hostels!) and even I learned a thing or two from this book! Shereen makes travel cheap without making it uncomfortable or intimidating." – Sarah of Yesandyes.org, Lifestyle & Travel Blogger

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