Top 4 Hotel Secrets for Travelers

An average cost to flip a hotel room costs $30-40 per day. This includes the cleaning supplies, electricity, mini-bar attendants, hourly wages of maids, the cost of washing of the sheets and all other costs associated with the hotel employees and their services. By comparing the hotel room’s operational cost to the average hotel room rent rates, travelers can see why the hotel business is so profitable.

Below are top 4 secrets that travelers should be privy to if they want to book a hotel room.

1) The Possibility of Getting Walked: An average hotel will book its rooms 10% over capacity. That is because the average no-show rate of customers is 10 percent. Sometimes all the guests show up and that someone has to get walked by the hotel. This means that the hotel will now pay their entire night’s room including tax plus add in one telephone call for the inconvenience and get them a room at a comparable or slightly lower grade hotel. This usually happens to guests who are not regulars at a particular hotel, or have only booked the hotel room for one night. One of the biggest reasons for guests to get walked is when they act like jerks to the hotel staff.

2) Complain Smartly: Complains are directly referred to the front desks, however most issues are not caused by the front desk at all. You can be a smart complainer by going to the front desk, telling them about your issue and asking questions on whom you should speak about the complaint to. Also be polite about it. Many problems can be solved by the front desk attendant but you have to make sure that he does it. Make sure that the front desk listens to your complain and then go do something about it. Ask his name so that he knows that you now have leverage over him and can complain to the management if he doesn’t resolve your issue.

3) Get an Upgrade: Travelers hear a lot of front desk agents say that all rooms are the same. However there are always a few rooms in the hotel which have a bigger bed, bigger flat screen, better bathroom or just a better view. By providing the front desk agent with a good tip, you can ensure that the upgraded room is yours for the night. Even if the hotel does not have a better room, you can get many value-adding amenities like late check outs, free movie, free mini-bar or other discounted hotel deals that are not advertised about. This is not a bribe; hotel desk agents are authorized to provide upgrades for special occasions so don’t hesitate to ask for one when you get to a hotel.

4) Let the Bellboy Carry Your Suitcase: The wheeled suitcase came out in 1970 and ever since have been the bane of bellboys’ existence. Because of the wheeled suitcases, guests no longer have need of bellboys to carry their hefty luggage; they can wheel it in themselves. Because of this, bellboys get fewer tips which leave their household bills unpaid. So next time to book a room at a hotel, give some consideration to the bellboy too.

Nutrition, for the Rest of Us! Ten Ways to Make and Maintain Better Food Choices

The country faces a growing medical and economic problem, obesity. As the number of overweight and obese people rises, so does the healthcare cost to care for weight related problems. While a lack of active movement is half of the equation, the other half involves food.

Some of the principle reasons for the escalation of this problem are:

1. Portion distortion, expecting and accepting large portion sizes.

2. Mental conditioning regarding what a desirable meal looks, smells, and tastes like.

3. Non-nutritive, high caloric foods becoming the bulk of many diets.

4. A progressive change of the national palate, favoring rich and fattening foods.

5. Highly processed foods altering the body’s response to hunger and fullness.

6. Easy access to low-cost convenience or junk food.

7. Poor meal planning, leading to unhealthy convenience eating.

8. Higher costs associated with fresh nutritious foods.

9. Eating, not due to hunger, but because of poor stress management, or other types of mental/emotional disturbances.

10. Sedentary lifestyles combined with any of the above.

Today there is greater access to food than ever; however, much of it is non-nutritious. Filling the body with excess non-nutritive calories, leaves less room for nutritious offerings. Especially problematic, is the effect of highly processed foods. They cause blood sugar to rise, thus creating an insulin response.

After the release of insulin, blood sugar can crash, if not followed with a protein or fat to sustain it. Low blood sugar causes feelings of extreme hunger as a reaction to the insulin response. It is the body’s way of promoting consumption, to raise blood sugar back to an acceptable level.

Over time, repeating this pattern in dramatic up and down swings, can lead to insulin resistance and an alteration in the way your body processes food. This can cause unnatural cravings for quick sugar. Things like highly processed carbohydrates, sugary snacks, and calorie dense rich foods. They are consumed to satisfy the very real, chemically driven, craving designed to restore blood sugar levels quickly.

Eating patterns are derived from habit, from what you have become accustomed to eating. This accounts for regional favorites that are not enjoyed elsewhere in the world. When you grow up enjoying a certain style of eating, it leaves not only a physical longing for those foods, but a mental and chemical one as well.

Long-established eating patterns are difficult to break, but not impossible. Food creates mental associations. Think of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or Christmas cookies. We associate the event with the foods. Breaking or modifying long-held associations becomes the challenge.

Memories are stored in the basil ganglia of the brain, like a mental fingerprint in the mind. Events will trigger the thoughts of the associated food. Because of neuroplacitity, the mind can be rewired intentionally through purposeful repetition. To break an association, you must establish a new one, on purpose.

To alter long-established patterns you must intentionally feed new ones, while at the same time not indulging old ones. To do this, you must first Identify what behaviors you want to extinguish, i.e., eating too much, eating the wrong kinds of foods, eating when not hungry or past full etc. Then create a plan to Extinguish and Replace them with behaviors that are more desirable. By regularly following your new pattern of eating and denying old ones, you will gradually establish a new association and create a new “normal” reaction.

To recreate your mental and physical reaction to foods.

1. Become familiar with portion sizes, their calorie count, and what is a desirable amount.

2. Drink water before and after each meal to cleanse your palate. Eat only until you feel ¾ full.

3. Know your trigger foods and cues. Have a plan to offset them.

4. Know how specific foods, such as carbs, will affect your hunger and how they are processed by your body.

5. Strive to eat “clean”: Eating foods as close to their natural form as possible. Stick to non-processed or minimally processed foods. (Check the first 5 ingredient for words that are healthy, natural and that you can pronounce.)

6. Purposefully establish positive mental associations to healthy foods and recipes.

7. Buy fresh foods in season. Have healthy foods on hand at home and keep them in pre-sized portions, freezing the rest.

8. Pre-package healthy snacks at home and make them convenient to grab.

9. Reduce the number of times you eat out and the non-nutritive foods you bring into the house.

10. Focus on adding more and larger portions of fruits and vegetables to each eating episode, versus, all the things that you are trying to reduce.

How to Pack When You’re Traveling For Your Destination Wedding

Destination weddings are one of the most romantic and exciting trips to plan and prepare for. Planning a wedding in a remote location offers many benefits, but also demands a little more vigilance from you. Since a destination wedding involves shuffling, transitioning and moving while traveling, packing becomes one of the most important jobs. It’s easy to miss out important things at home because of the excitement. Because your mind is swept up in the excitement when you’re packing, you may forget little but crucial details. Such mistakes can prove to be very costly. With planning and allowing yourself time, plus a checklist and suggestions from others who have experience with destination weddings, you’ll be good to go. As destination wedding planners, we have worked with brides for years. Here we’ll share with you suggestions for packing your bags while you travel for your wedding.

It is recommended that you start creating a check list of items to be packed, months in advance from the wedding day. Keep jotting items as you remember them, and while packing, check them against your list. This way your packing will be more organized and fruitful.

One of the first things to keep in mind, and perhaps the most difficult, is weight. With extra charges on luggage and weight limits, be sure to check with your airline in advance so that you don’t have costly surprises at the gate if budgeting is a concern. Use bags and suitcases that are lightweight. Bags with wheels on them are quite handy, that allow the bag to be easily pushed, thus saving you a lot of effort. Check out the vacuum-sealed bags from stores like Target and Wal-Mart to pack your clothes tightly and efficiently. You may also want to FedEx or mail a box of clothing or items in advance to your location.

This is quite obvious, but needs to be said anyways; do not forget to bring your wedding dress. We have known women to pack their bags–and then turn around to realize they still need to figure out how to fit in their dress. It is important to keep your dress wrinkle free throughout the duration of your journey. Use the coat closets available in aircraft to hang your dress. Grooms are advised to rent and bring a tuxedo from their hometown, and not risk searching for one at the destination. You may want to ask your wedding planner or local hotel what services or facilities may be located near your destination in case you need care at the last minute. Also, do not forget to pack shoes that go with the tuxedo.

For brides, pack your make up box, and other related appliances if you prefer to do everything yourself. Go with travel-size everything as much as possible. Remember if something is liquid to check your airline’s regulations. Most liquid items need to be checked in your luggage, not taken on your carry-on. Ziploc bags are key for keeping cosmetics, lotions, perfumes and other products organized and sealed from spilling into the rest of your things. Also, you can always choose to visit a salon to have your makeup and hair done before your ceremony. This depends a lot on the location of your wedding…but private stylists or salons are often available if you ask your planner or hotel. Toiletry items might be provided by your hotel, so it is better to check with them on phone in advance. Pack your jewelry and wedding rings safely. Pack a sufficient change of clothes for before and after the wedding, including swimsuits if you opted for a beach wedding. Also, for the beach, you should definitely pack sunscreen lotion for protection against sunburns.

Forgetting to bring some important paperwork can be extremely excruciating, therefore pay special attention while packing these. You will need to check with your wedding planner about what the legal requirements of your wedding location are, and bring the appropriate papers with you. Some documents you should definitely bring with you are your birth certificate, your passport, and if applicable, your divorce papers. Put all your papers where they are easily accessible, for example your hand bag. Do not place them in your main luggage.

Apart from these things, you should have the contact numbers of your doctor, pet- sitter and your bank. Do not forget your hotel reservation slips, and your ATM cards. Take digital photos or scans of your ID, passport and credit cards on both sides; store these images in a safe place and/or on your computer in case of loss or theft. Make sure you take down the number of your credit card company into your address book contacts as well.

We hope everything we mentioned here is helpful to you. Packing may feel overwhelming, but with some suggestions and then organization, you’ll dissolve that stress quickly. If you have questions, contact other past brides who have experienced a destination wedding and/or your destination wedding planner. As the common saying goes, “prepare for the worst, expect the best.”

India – The Cultural Hub

Embarking on a cultural tour of India is a rejuvenating and life changing experience. From the striking colour of the handicrafts to a plethora of dance forms, the enchanting land has an array of exciting cultural extravaganzas in the offering for all visiting tourists. Indian tour operator helps you customize the tour to your liking so you can witness the commemorative Indian culture first hand at many locations stretching across the country.

Here are a few of our picks

1) The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle comprises of the cities Jaipur in Rajastrhan, Agra in Uttar Pradesh and the national capital Delhi. Marked by terrific connectivity and a breathtaking aura of culture imbibed from various factors, this is one of the top destinations for a cultural tour of Northern India.

The amazing Rajasthani royal delicacies that Jaipur has to offer is perhaps only overcome by the fact that Delhi has its own array of street eateries, and Agra has its mouthwatering Halwas (A famous Indian sweet dish). From the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra, the legendary Golden Temple in Amritsar and the series of monuments in Delhi (such as the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Jama Masjid etc.) this tour certainly helps tourist gain great cultural insights about India. This trip is tailor-made for those interested in coming down to India to visit the Golden Triangle as its packages are ergonomic and a bundle of fun.

2) Rajasthan

Rajasthan is marked by its forts, amazing art forms and culture. The culture greatly draws inspiration from the Royal dynasties that have flourished here over time. Major places to visit with cultural uniqueness include Udaipur, also known as the Venice of India, Jaipur, the Pink City and capital of the state, Jaisalmer with its forts and havelis, Jodhpur a city with a great fortress hinging on the edge of the Thar Desert etc. With its unique culture and subtle variation from rest of India, all in all Rajasthan is a must visit place.

3) Kerala

Kerala is primarily known for its backwaters, ecotourism and the tropical Malabar Coast. Packages here make sure you make the most of Kerala’s culture. Characterized by beautiful wilderness, a set of coconut delicacies and exposure to the ancient Indian medicine of Ayurveda, Kerala within itself has multiple wonders. It helps the thronging tourist experience a relaxing trip complete with healing, fresh aura and adventurous surroundings.

4) Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has ancient history inculcated into its cultural roots across the state. The temples dating back to as early the 12th centuries, the inscriptions and amazing poetry are all a part of the Tamil Culture. The city of Tanjavur is known for its Chola Temples, paintings and amazing music festivals happening throughout the year. Pondicherry offers amazing beaches and a perfect example of a place mirroring the effects of the colonial era in the modern one complete with architecturally sound churches and buildings.

Thus, whatever might be your cultural calling, India has it all. Make sure you customize your trip well in order to thoroughly enjoy your journey here.