Archive for April, 2010

How To Get a Little Luxury for Less

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

My mom always told me that I had “champagne taste on a beer budget.” Nice! But there is some truth to that. And when it comes to travel, we should all be looking for the best bang for our buck. So how can you stay in great hotels and resorts and still have some $$ for eating and sightseeing? Checkout some of these tips:

Book early for best availability, rooms and rates.  Last year, you could get a good last minute deal but people are traveling again, the economy is slowly recovering, and to get the great deals you need to plan and book ahead.

  • Reward yourself. Sign up for the WelcomeRewards program. It’s simple and easy, and FREE to join. When you book any 10 nights, you earn a free night stay at more than 64,000 hotels worldwide. I’ve already earned and used free nights and have another WelcomeReward night reservation in Italy in the Fall. It’s a great way to experience a variety of hotels with the benefits of a true loyalty program.

Ask For What You Want! Don’t hesitate to ask the front desk personnel upon check-in if there’s an upgrade available. Many hotels are glad to move guests into a “better” room. It builds customer loyalty and it helps them to sell that more affordable standard room to someone else.

Be Flexible. Hotels in resort areas popular to leisure travelers are often cheapest during the week.  So travel Sunday-Thursday for lower prices.

Frequent Flyer Miles. Use the frequent flyer miles you have been stockpiling for an upgrade! You can farewatch for the ticket prices and still ride in style.

Make friends with the Concierge. The hotel Concierge is literally your ticket to what’s hot in a given town.  The concierge often has discounts to local restaurants, shows, clubs and events. They can get restaurant reservations when no one else can.  And they want to help you, so let them!

Ready to plan that getaway? Travelers, like me, who like to stay in style at four and five star hotels can find deals starting at $96 a night with’s Luxury for Less sale.  Find deals such as the five-star Ritz-Carlton Chicago from $250 per night for a three night stay with the third night free, while The Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston, a four star hotel, starts at $135 a night. Luxury deals of 40% off can be found at Rooney’s Boutique Hotel in Buenos Aires with rooms from $116 per night while the five star Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is offering $150 in resort credits. 

See for restrictions.



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Cinco de Mayo Savings!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010


To celebrate Cinco de Mayo (click link), for this week only is offering great deals at up to 50 percent off, plus an exclusive $50 bounce back coupon, at a number of fabulous hotels, including:



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The Most Eco-Friendly U.S. Hotels

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

To honor Earth Day, today’s post is merely about saying “Well done and reach farther” to a few U.S. hotels that are making their lightest environmental footprint one critical step at a time.

From offsetting power consumption to using nontoxic cleaning supplies and organic, locally grown produce, it’s not hard (any more) to find a hotel that truly is aware and somewhat responsible for its environmental impact. Being green is a trend that is here to stay in hospitality, and as you travel the globe, enjoy finding these gems (and there are more every day) that make being good to the environment so amazingly cool. For example, The Standard Hotel, both the West Hollywood (Ca.) as well as the Downtown Los Angeles location, just made Boxed Water, because it really is better, available in every hotel room.

Here are a few more hotels that I found (I checked the Green Hotels Association, Green Seal,, etc.) that are truly committed to being green, while delivering a great customer hotel experience:

  • The Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco. This LEED-certified (U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program) hotel embodies the green concept in its construction and operations.
  • Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa, American Canyon, CA. Nearly three years old, this hotel was created with as many recycled materials and as little energy that could be used.
  • Hilton Vancouver (Wa.). This LEED-certified hotel offers a refueling station for electric cars, a heat-reflecting roof and uses local organic growers to supply its restaurant.
  • Hotel Monaco, Chicago.  Soy ink, recycling bins in the rooms, donation programs and non-toxic cleaning supplies are just a few of the eco-finds in a Kimpton Hotel. Many of Chicago’s hotels are also making green waves. And all of Kimpton’s 42 hotels are not only chic and customer-centric but they even have Kimpton’s EarthCare standards of environmentally friendly products and practices.
  • Habitat Suites, Austin, TX. This hotel’s efficiency programs conserve big: nearly 2.4 million gallons of water and 38,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
  • The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. This resort uses biodegradable cleaning products, pesticide-free landscaping practices and supports a local university program that monitors the nearby coral reefs. Fairmont Hotels are hospitality eco-pioneers.  All hotels offer sustainable, locally sourced and organic products, wherever possible.

So remember when you travel, it’s not just about traveling light, it’s about having the lightest travel footprint, too!



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Frugal Travel Tips

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I was thrilled to contribute to the Fabulously Frugal blog last week with some of my best frugal travel tips. Please visit here or type in the following URL to check them out!



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How to Hit a Home Run When Planning Your Next Trip

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I have to admit, sitting in a baseball stadium on a perfect Spring or Summer day is pretty fantastic.  In fact, I’ve met some amazing baseball fans that travel every year to visit different ballparks, or follow their team and explore new cities along the way.  So if you’ve been looking for an excuse to get away, why not try this one? And here’s a quick take on how to do it.

You can begin one of two ways: Either choose the city you want to visit, or choose the team you want to see play. Once you’ve determined that, you need to check the team or ballpark schedule to find a game at the right time and place.  It’s also important to keep in mind that some cities have two teams (New York, Chicago, San Francisco/Oakland, Los Angeles). Often, when one team is at home, the other is on the road.

Tickets, Hotels, and Food, Oh My!

Buy the game tickets as far in advance as you can. Now that the season is underway some tickets will be harder to come by depending on seating capacity, team performance and the quality of the opponent. According to Team Marketing Report’s 2010 Fan Cost Index, the average ticket for a Major League Baseball game costs around $26.79 — up nearly 2 percent from a year ago. But not all games are priced the same. You can get cheaper tix if you go to a game early to mid-week, or choose a game against a less-competitive team, etc.  Also, many teams have programs for savings. You can sign up for email alerts through team Web sites. For example, the Houston Astros offer Double Play Tuesdays, which gets you a $2 outfield seat at Minute Maid Park if you show two Powerade labels at the gate.

Now where do you stay? You may need to weigh the hotel cost versus stadium proximity. There are likely less expensive hotels outside the main city and/or further from the ballparks. Start with a Web site that has one of the largest selections of available hotels, like,  where you can search by address – simply enter the ballpark address and then you can see what is available in relationship to its location. I also recommend choosing a hotel that may have complimentary breakfast to cut down on your dining expenses. And speaking of food, some ballparks have food-friendly policies that allow you to bring food or snacks into the stadium. Many ballparks also have kid meals/deals available at certain concession stands. Seek them out because the savings are significant. Personally, I can’t help but love a good Hebrew National hot dog during the game!

Below are some of my favorite cities and stadiums to visit, but would love to know what yours are, too!

  1. Wrigley Field, Chicago – Nicknamed the Friendly Confines.
  2. Coors Field, Denver – This mile-high stadium increases runs and homeruns by 50%.
  3. AT&T Park, San Francisco – Offers the best ballpark design and breathtaking views.
  4. Fenway Park, Boston – The oldest and most beloved Major League ballpark in use today.


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It’s Time to Travel Smart

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Hockin Family in Aspen, CO

After spending years answering thousands of hotel and travel questions, sharing deals, and providing information on the radio, in print, and on TV, it’s great to have this forum to share my insights and personal experiences with all of you. With each entry, I’m going to try and provide helpful information as you plan your next trip. Whether it’s a romantic getaway, family vacation, or just a one-night business trip, I hope that you gain helpful knowledge here, but also use this blog to share your questions and experiences with me!

As a working woman, friend, mother, daughter and wife, how I approach each role is different. Just like I don’t think there’s a one-size fits all answer to travel and especially to choosing a hotel, where I stay, what I do and when, all depend on who am I with; the purpose of the trip; and how long I’ll be traveling. So let’s make that my first bit of advice.


Before you book, consider these three questions:

  1. With whom are you traveling? (Alone, friends, children, love interest?)
  2. What is the purpose of your trip? (work, pleasure?)
  3. How long will you be traveling?

Seems simple enough, right? But do you really think these questions through when you book? Knowing these answers will impact the type of experience you have during your travels. Because let’s face it, you can get past being delayed at an airport or even having an unpleasant flight, but it’s much  harder to get over five days in a hotel geared toward families when you are looking for a romantic oasis.

Hotels and resorts have so much to offer from their mere location to their features and amentities that make each one suit a set of travelers better than others. The Internet allows you to take virtual tours, read reviews, and even check maps and locations. Use these online resources and you’ll become as hooked as I am on finding the right hotel for each of your trips, regardless of where it’s for work or pleasure.

So when you travel, travel smart.



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