Then, maybe the next day, you decide to keep hotel shopping. Maybe find something a little cheaper, or better rated. After all, you can always cancel that first hotel room. Your search turns up another hotel with a better price and a better location and … you guessed it … “only one room left.” Book it. Get the cancelation rules. And the hunt may continue — for days, weeks, until you finally found the definitive best place for the best price. This place blew the others right out of the water. Except … those other rejected rooms may still have your name on them, if you forgot to cancel all of them.
Cancellation policies are getting as nutty as airfares, with variables galore about how far in advance you need to cancel to get a 100 percent refund. Or any refund, for that matter. Many hotels offer better rates, but you have signed your soul and your money away at the moment of your no-cancellation booking. Hoteliers aren’t as understanding as they once were when it comes to no-shows. Cancellation policies are enforced, you could say ruthlessly, a word not often applied to the hospitality industry.
You’ve been warned.
GET A BREAK: Ask for AAA, AARP, student (bring your ID), military, and family discounts. Most cities have a city-pass card that usually saves you money on attractions, public transportation, and shopping. Some passes — or museum/attraction passes — allow you to skip the lines and go right in.
The big discount? Free night at the museum. Most museums have one night a week that they don’t charge a thing. Yeah, it can be crowded. So go to a big museum.
Jill Schensul: firstname.lastname@example.org
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