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Travel Tips

iQuest Travel Tips

iQuest Travel Tips

1. Plan Your Trip
Familiarize yourself with your destination before your arrival and plan your trip around the city sights and attractions you most want to see. Pick up a city guide book or visit travel websites and read actual traveler comments. You can also contact the visitor's bureau and request travel brochures.

And remember, once you have arrived and settled into your hotel, don't hesitate to ask questions. The front desk and concierge at most hotels are excellent resources for information like local restaurants, nightlife and great insider tips.

2. Get a Free Room Upgrade at Hotels
Once you've booked your room and arrived at your hotel, it's sometimes worth asking at check-in to upgrade to a better hotel room at no extra charge. Most hotels want to encourage you to come back and may be accommodating if rooms are available. However, if the hotel is heavily booked, you probably won't have a chance. Just remember, ask nicely, this is done solely at the discretion of the hotel's staff.

3. Don't Over Pack
It's always a good idea when traveling to pack lightly. Take only the essentials and if you find you've left anything behind you can always pick it up there. With airline costs for baggage on the rise, you'll be glad you did. Plus, if you're going to spend the money, better to go shopping while you're on vacation!

4. Make an Emergency List
Before you leave for your trip, create an emergency list. Take a copy with you and keep a copy at home. Include phone numbers and account info for your bank and credit cards (be sure to memorize any pin numbers), doctor's contact info, health insurance info and have copies of your airline reservation and your hotel reservations. It's also a good idea to leave a trip itinerary behind with someone you trust, which includes your flight information and phone number and address of your hotel, so you can be reached in case of an emergency.

5. Save money on meals
A great way to enjoy the best things a city has to offer is to indulge in its finer restaurants. A smart way to have a fine dining experience without paying top dollar is to go to a top restaurant for lunch. You can have a price fixed, 3-course meal and enjoy the same service, view and quality for a fraction of the cost. You also bypass the need for making a dinner reservation, which can be impossible on short notice at more upscale establishments. And by making lunch the main meal of your day, you can grab something light for dinner or have a snack back at your hotel room and cut costs even more! Remember to ask the concierge at your hotel for restaurant recommendations.

6. Travel during the off-peak season
If you have the flexibility, plan your trip during the off-season. Most travel costs are lower - from flights, to hotels, to restaurants and popular sights and attractions - the potential savings can be significant. Also, you'll find less tourists, shorter lines and smaller crowds will give you a better feel for the city and all-around more authentic experience.

7. Mail Your Luggage Ahead of Time
You may want to consider shipping your luggage directly to your hotel ahead of your flight. It will save you the time and effort of lugging you baggage to the airport, checking it in, waiting at baggage claim and transporting it to your hotel. And no lost luggage along the way.

Plus, with the airlines charging additional fees for baggage, between time and money, the cost benefit is definitely worth checking in to (no pun intended!). Be sure to notify your hotel to expect your luggage in advance and deliver it directly to your hotel room.

8. Make Sure your Luggage is Labeled
Be sure that you have a secure label affixed to your luggage with your name and phone number (don't include your address) clearly displayed. It's a good idea to have a label both on the exterior and interior of the bag. In the unfortunate event your baggage is lost in transit, this will make contacting you and identifying your luggage much easier.

9. Get the Best Seat on the Flight
Getting the seat you want starts with booking your flight as early as you can and getting a seat assignment. Closer to your trip, you can go online or call the airline to request a better seat. If by then you haven't secured the seat you want, there's still time - ask airline personnel at check-in and at the gate. Since prime seats are set aside for premier customers, these seats often become available at the last minute.

10. Sanitize your Hotel Room
Ok, so when you go on a trip you shouldn't have to clean house, right? Well, we say whether budget hotels or luxury hotels, it's a good idea to take a few moments when you arrive to make your hotel room a little more 'comfortable.'

First up, remove the bedspread. These don't get washed very often, if at all, and are best left in the closet. Second, wipe down surfaces with handi-wipes. Last but not least, wipe down any small objects you'll be handling with handi-wipes, such as the phone, TV remote, doorknobs, etc. Just these few basic steps will make you feel much more at home at hotels.

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