Nothing compares to the feeling of a worry-free vacation . . . that is, until you bump up against a situation (or mess) you weren't prepared for. Check your travel concerns at the door by following these tips from the hotel professionals at Embassy Suites. Besides, who knows more about travel (and the pro tips you need to make your trip easier) than those on the front lines of the front desk?
- Grab an early breakfast. Setting your alarm while on vacation may not seem like the most relaxing of moves, but getting down to your free continental breakfast on the early side has its rewards. Not only are there better breakfast options (and more of them!), but it's likely to be less crowded due to, you know, everyone being on vacation and wanting to sleep in. Naturally.
- Book your hotel directly. There's a preconceived notion that booking rooms through third-party platforms gets you a cheaper rate, but — surprise! — there are serious benefits to booking direct. Not only do most hotels guarantee the best rate, but you can cancel (with advance notice) for no fee, and you may earn bonus hotel points. Hilton, for example, offers HHonors Points if you register before you check in.
- Pack extra plastic baggies. You're familiar with using baggies to store your toiletries when flying, but these babies boast multiple uses. They can be used to store dirty laundry, for example, and make excellent garbage bags in transit.
- Pack the popcorn. Not every vacation comes complete with perfect weather. Pack some microwavable popcorn for a rainy movie night in with the kids. Even if your suite doesn't come with a microwave, the front desk or concierge staff may be kind enough to pop it for you.
- Stay dry. Speaking of rain, most hotels have umbrellas for your use, so leave your personal parasol at home.
- Stay entertained. Even if a movie night isn't in the cards, some hotels have books, board games, and other entertainment for the little ones. They're a lifesaver when the power runs out on your gadgets or when you just need a tech detox.
- Stash your shower cap. Even if you have never used your hotel shower cap for its intended purpose, it serves another brilliant use for your trip home: covering your shoes in your luggage and keeping your clothes clean.
- Stay charged. Between your smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, and music players, outlets become prime in-room real estate. Hack your electrical situation to your benefit (and seem like a total MacGyver in the process) by using the USB input on the back of your room's TV to charge your phone in a pinch.