Boutique Hotels = Smaller Rooms @ Larger Prices

The trend in hotels these days in NYC, London, Paris, Venice and other large cities is to appeal to tourists with tiny and tinier rooms. They’re promoted as all comfy and cute, but could be viewed as reminders of cramped Army troop train compartments. Or the Three Stooges sharing a boutique room.

Regular-sized hotel rooms are redesigned by cutting them into two or three smaller sleeping areas, and calling them boutique rooms. Of course, that means the hotel earns two or three times what they had been charging for the single, traditionally-sized room. 

It’s similar to what airlines do now to make more money by jamming more passengers into their formerly-comfortable seating areas. So, when you’re making reservations for big-city hotels, be sure you’re aware that when the word boutique appears, you’ll have to pay a hell of a lot more for a hell of a lot less.

Prepare For Higher Prices At Disney Parks This Season PDF Print E-mail

If your springtime travels include Disneyland or Walt Disney World with a group of family members, be prepared to pay lots of dough. Your travel4seniors.com editor remembers first doing WDW with kids in the mid-70s, including one very rainy day. Adult tickets were $3.50 and $1 for kids. Rides all cost less than $1, and in-park lunches were not much more. Nearby and on-site hotel rooms then were $40.

Today the basic prices start from $109 for adults and $80 for kids. Lunch and rides are at least $10, and hotel rooms go for $300 and up.  Of course, with constantly updated info on the internet, you can plan your your Disney visit to take advantage of discounts, seasonal pricing, package deals and other ways to economize from the maximum listed prices.

When you begin your research or plan your trip with a trusted travel agent, do it as early as possible so that you can consider the most economical timing and other choices.

Invited To A Wedding In Downtown San Francisco PDF Print E-mail

Q: We’re retirees from a town with few crimes. We'll attend the marriage of a favorite niece, and hear all the stories about San Francisco street violence and homeless camps. Some happen near the hotel where we’ll stay for three nights. We want to sightsee the city, but at advanced age and physical limits, is it too dangerous for us? PLM, Ft. Collins CO

A: See the famous sights in San Francisco, but do it safely. Ask a younger adult wedding attendee or couple to join you in a tour. Or if that isn’t possible, ask the hotel desk staff to recommend booking a local company that conducts guided tours around the city.

Seniors: Make Your Next Journey A Volunteer Vacation PDF Print E-mail

Consider combining travel with positive action where you’ll make a community better for those who need help. It could be teaching basic computer skills in Africa, making house repairs in Mexico or planting trees in flood-damaged California. 

For example, a venture with International Volunteer HQ in Italy. Start in Naples on a program for from two to 12 weeks. Teach English at a public school or after-class program. Another involves preserving UNESCO World Heritage Sites in other historic Italian cities, including archaeological ruins, protecting marine life and more. For locations, schedules, costs and other info, go to www.volunteerforever.com

Dont Fall For Fake Online Customer Testimonials PDF Print E-mail

When you research online comments on hotels, restaurants and products, know that the positive reports are false. As with obnoxious TV ads (are there any other type?), they’re placed there by the businesses to lure new customers.

A recent example from your travel4seniors.com editor. The online customer described a Las Vegas hotel as elegant, well located and cheap. When we arrived, we saw that the building was old and dingy. Worse, when we awoke in the morning, we found bedbugs.

When we complained to the front desk, the clerk idiotically offered to move us to a room down the hall. We checked out in a hurry and went to another hotel. That recommended Las Vegas hotel has since changed its name, but probably not the sheets.

Want A Better Airline Seat? Ask And Ye Shall Receive PDF Print E-mail

When you buy the cheapest seat, it’ll be no surprise to find yourself in the middle of a three-across row. And seat mates could too often be a 300-pounder and/or ever-wailing baby. And, of course, the more popular the flight, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, the higher the ticket price.

So, when can you do the biblical plea and get a blessedly upgraded seat at no extra cost? First is scheduling your flight when there are more chances of unsold seats. They include non-holiday weekdays, early morning and late night (redeye). After you’re aboard, all passengers seated and doors shut, note all empty better-positioned, more comfy seats.

Then, politely ask a flight attendant to move you to a premium seat for free. It may not work every time, but it’s always worth the effort. And now that some airlines are encouraging tips to their employees, offer some dollars to improve your chances of flying in upgraded comfort.


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