We thought we would let you in on a few of our VIP travel secrets…
Ask for the Moon
Have you ever asked for the Honeymoon Suite? It never hurts to ask. Most hotel managers will tell you the premium suites are vacant most of the time. During shoulder seasons especially– just asking often opens the door to some really nice rooms. High inventory cities are also prone to willingness to upgrade you if it is an “off” weekend, or better yet a weekday. “Large inventory” areas like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, Paris, ect are an easy target.
Getting an upgrade at a discounted rate can be cheaper than a standard room due to the amenities that come with. Upgraded rooms often have access to free: wifi, bottled water, hospitality rooms, ect. Don’t ever expect to get upgraded…Grandma’s rules apply: a little bit a honey goes a long way.
Another place to ask for the upgrade is at the rental car desk. We have friends that always book economy and play the upgrade game at the desk. This approach can be risky if the desk is swamped, they are out of cars, or if you find “Mr. NO!” behind the counter. Always ask about your options. Negotiate a price. Most rental car companies put a ton of miles on the economy and mid-size cars. They need to put some miles on those Cadillacs and Audis. For those that are a little fearful to ask: just say…”what else do you have?”
Trust me, those counter agents get asked all the time.
Book Early or Late
If you are catching the train to the airport then you might be able to afford to go first class if you book yourself a ticket early enough. Train and air lines often have early bird deals on their website, it might take a little bit more planning as they often require you to book your ticket some time in advance but it can be worth it if you get a first class ticket for negligible extra cost.
An old Chinese Proverb goes: Empty seats make no money. Again, during certain times of the year the best seats on trains and planes go empty. There is a load of websites out there that offer great bargains on last minute travel. This is certainly not for the faint at heart. For crazy planners like Luci and I, this option would never work. The fact remains there are deals to be had on last minute travel. Give it a try.
The three words that strike fear and loathing to avid travelers: LONG LAY OVER. They are the bane of our exsisitence. How can you travel VIP if you have to sit in an airport lounge for hours on end? Enter the airline club rooms. Worth every penny for long layovers. Food? Yep. Newspaper and popular mags? Yep. Comfy chairs? Yep. A little privacy? Yep.
Back to rule one, why not just ask the desk, tell them that you have a long layover and do they ever offer discounted entry? If you happen to be female, entry barriers seem to be lessened if you find a bored gate attendant. They are often eager to help (wink).
We have found the way you start and end your trip make all the difference. If you are driving to the airport then you have a think about Airport Parking the options that are open to you. If you don’t want the bog standard park and ride service then you might be able to find a good deal on valet parking or even treat yourself to the most VIP option which is a chauffeur service. Valet parking can really add a touch of class to your journey as your own driver will meet you at the airport when you arrive, all you need to do is hand over your vehicle and your keys and they will take your car to a secure place for the duration of your stay.
On your return they will meet you when your flight arrives and have your car waiting for you right outside departures. It truly is how the other half travels. Prices are surprisingly affordable.