How To Find A Cheap Hotel Room & Get It For Even Less

Nothing can be more aggravating that looking for travel deals. I’ve written about how to find a cheap car rental and how airfare pricing drives me crazy but putting together a post about how I search for hotels has been not as easy as I though it would be.

I think it comes down to numbers. To fly from point A to point B, there are only so many airlines you can fly on. When you get to your destination, there are only a limited number of rental car companies to choose from. When it comes to hotels, the options can seem endless.

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RANT: My New Pet Peeve With Hotels

It’s Friday. My “write whatever I want to” day. I’m well aware that just three weeks ago I wrote about how I didn’t want these posts to turn into me ranting about this or that. I’m giving myself a pass on that rule this week, as I now have a new thing that really annoys me. It’s a problem with hotels and I know I’ve given them a hard time in the past. First it was my list of five things I wish they did right and then my confusion about why they either give you too many or too few pillows. But it’s been several months and I’ve moved on to a new annoyance.

This one is more than just an issue about the room; it’s something that takes time and effort to discover and fix.

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What If Your Rental Car Company Overcharges You For Tolls?

Paying for toll roads and bridges/tunnels has become more complicated in recent years. More and more locations are depending on toll-by-plate systems to send you a bill or otherwise use a transponder in your car to keep track of how much you owe. If you go through a toll in a rental car, the bill for the toll goes to the rental car company and eventually gets charged to your credit card. Rental car companies have turned this into another way for them to rip you off augment their revenue stream and often add huge surcharges to rentals even if you only go through one toll during your rental. We’ve written about how you can try to avoid these charges by renting from a company who charges a fair rate for their toll payment services. But what if the car rental company sends you a bill after your rental for tolls you know you didn’t go through?

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Should You Get a U.S. Passport Card?

You know what documents you need to get on an airplane. For most people in the U.S., you show your driver’s license to the TSA agent at the checkpoint. If you’re taking an international flight, you’ll have your passport with you and might use that instead. The TSA currently allows many different forms of identification to get past the security checkpoint. Here’s the list from

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

I’ve seen U.S. passport cards before but never thought they were good for much. When my dad showed me he had gotten one, I thought it was a waste of money since he also got his passport at the same time.

What can you use a U.S. passport card for, anyway?

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How to Donate Your Miles and Points to Support Hurricane Harvey Victims

I know watching the news stories about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey can make you feel helpless. The scope of this event just causes you to feel numb and you want to do something but don’t know how you can help.

Luckily, most of the airline and hotel programs are making it easy to contribute in any way you can. Even if you don’t have cash to spare, you can donate those random points you have here and there to the recovery effort.  Face it, it’s better to donate them than redeem them for some magazines that you’ll never read. Personally, I have points with LaQuinta and Choice that I’m going to donate right now.

Here are the links to the program pages where you can make donations.

(Thanks to our reader John B. for the tip on this way that you can to contribute to the relief effort)

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What’s Your Favorite Breakfast/Brunch Spot in New York?

We’re looking for your suggestions. Unlike our usual trips to New York City, we’re going to have time on Saturday and Sunday morning to go out for breakfast or brunch. We have no idea where to start looking with so many choices in New York, so we’re asking our readers, “what’s your favorite place?” We’re not tied to our usual Manhattan/Times Square locale, so hit us with your favorites.

If you’re really looking to impress us with your suggestions, we prefer to order from a menu instead of a buffet and would like somewhere that wouldn’t require us to dress up too much.

Let it be known that breakfast one day might consist of a meal that looks like this (Edit from Sharon: Excuse me but, ummm, might? MIGHT?!?!?! What is this “might” you speak of? The correct word is “will.” As in, “We WILL have a NY bagel breakfast.” “Might,” he says. [snort] HA!).

New York Bagels Dr Brown Soda
Now that’s a breakfast @ Ess-a-bagel

Thanks for helping us plan our trips and for sharing your favorite places with us!!!!

How To Find Cheap Airfare

We’ve seen several people who have mentioned looking for advice to find cheap airfare, so we knew it was a topic we needed to address. Not knowing exactly how to start this post, I did what most people would do when asking the question, “How do I find cheap airfare?” I asked the interwebs.

The first few hits were from Online Travel Agencies like Expedia and Kayak. Not exactly what I was looking for. The next few hits were articles, so I checked out what they had to say and I found the same tips on several of these websites:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates
  • Be flexible about where you want to go
  • Fly budget airlines

Nope, nope and nope. So much for that approach.

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