While we are all anxiously awaiting for the weather to get nicer, if you are anything like me you have already begun to plan your first trips for 2014. Whether you are aiming for a short weekend trip a few hours away or a longer excursion, it’s important to travel in style. So opt out of the sweatpants and sneakers and follow these tips from Getaroom.com co-founder and travel expert Bob Diener to travel like a gent (and even save some money) this year.
1. Bring your best clothes. If you look good, you’ll feel good!
2. Dress up while traveling. You’re more likely to get upgraded at your hotel and when you check in for your car rental if you present yourself as a man with style. Pajamas are okay on the red eye flights, otherwise try to look your best with a smart suit and shined shoes. Men should wear their fanciest watch, which can really stand out in the age of smartphones. Part of looking good while traveling is also your state of mind. Conduct yourself with class and composure and you’ll look more like a gentleman and simply have a better time on vacation.
3. Think ahead. Plan your trip early to get the best rates on your flight and hotel. Booking early allows you to hide away some “fun money” each month, so you have the funds for a decadent night out. It also gives you more time to plan out your activities, and negotiate discounts.
4. It’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Treat flight attendants, passengers and hotel workers with kindness and respect. And feel free to strike up a conversation if you sit next to a stranger. But don’t start chatting away if they have ear buds in!
5. Look for tech support. Saving money on your travel plans is always a wise decision that allows you to spend more on a fancy meal or other amenities. Use technology tools to save such as Getaroom.com’s flash sales which offer discounts of up to 60% off regular rates during a certain time period – just book during the flash sales’ hours to lock in the deal. Every dollar saved on the front-end means you have more capital for really having fun.
6. Opt for weekday travel. A VIP experience can be had in Las Vegas if you travel during the week. Rates are much lower and in some cases you can find a suite for the price of a regular room on the weekend. The most popular restaurants are also much less crowded, as are the top VIP clubs. Use your upfront room savings to build a bankroll at the craps tables, and treat yourself to a watch or nice outfit.
7. Dig deep. Check airlines such as Spirit Air and Southwest which are not found on most travel sites. Southwest is especially attractive because it flies to many top destinations and does not charge baggage fees.
8. Become a repeat customer. Join a hotel’s frequent-stay program to earn upgrades and other amenities. These are always free to join, and can really pay off if you are often on the road. In Las Vegas, you can obtain free room offers and other discounts by signing up for player’s cards which track your gambling play. You don’t have to play much at all to get the most basic offers for mid-week hotel rooms.
9. Live like a local. Vacation rentals can be a great alternative to hotels. If you are visiting friends, then renting a home or large condo allows you to be the entertainer, with ample room for a luxurious party. Imagine renting a loft in the trendiest part of San Francisco or a house with a pool in La Jolla for less than the nightly cost of a hotel. By renting a vacation rental, you also don’t need to worry about your neighbors’ loud voices waking you up at two a.m.
10. Shop around. NYC can be a wallet-draining destination, so look to boutique hotels which can be found for less than $200 per night, instead of $600 for the biggest five-star names. Boutique hotels can provide a more intimate experience with personalized service and local recommendations for the best places to eat or go on a shopping splurge. Call the hotel in advance and ask them if they can throw in any extras in exchange for your business.
11. Think small. When booking a car, opt for the lowest rate sub-compact. Car rental companies are often out of these cars and will automatically upgrade you without charge. They will often try to sell you the upgrade, but just smile, say no thank you and you’ll often end up in that car they tried to charge you more for.
12. Show a little patriotism. Get into the airline lounge for free. The platinum American Express card gets you into to American Admirals Clubs for free. Other credit cards get you into other airline clubs for free. Always check your credit card amenities before you leave and take advantage of the freebies.
13. Tip appropriately. Many people work really hard and make little money to provide you with a great service and experience, don’t skimp out on rewarding them!
Contributing Editor, Jor-El Caraballo is the editor of ManeManblog.com, a New York City based lifestyle blog that aims to help men embrace their own personal sense of style and confidence. Started out of his own personal journey to find information and support for his hair, Jor-El created MANE MAN to help guys learn from his personal challenges and trials with grooming products. Affectionately known to his readers as “MANE MAN”, Jor-El covers everything from the best in grooming and shaving to culture, lifestyle, fashion and health.