Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

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steadierfooting
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Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:00 pm

Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by steadierfooting » Wed May 20, 2015 10:32 am

My wife and I traveled extensively and frequently before kids, and we want to start doing some weekend getaways with them. Let's say, once a month for a Friday - Monday trip, with an additional 2 or 3 weeks extended vacation each year. Does anybody do this outside of business travel? As of now, we just look for cheapest and nice accomodations via hotels.com or hotwire.com. It's generally for different locations each time, although we do like to go to Boston and Washington DC often.


Does anybody handle this differently, like staying loyal to one brand of hotels, trying to get loyalty discounts, etc? 50 or so days in a hotel each year quickly adds up!

autonomy
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by autonomy » Wed May 20, 2015 10:54 am

We don't do it monthly, maybe once every 2-3 months. It depends on where you're going. Hotels.com is cool because they give you a free night for every 10 you stay, that helps. If we go to a resort town, sometimes we can rent a whole house or an apartment for less money than a hotel would cost through HomeAway (had OK experience with AirBnB, but heard too many horror stories).

mmmodem
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by mmmodem » Wed May 20, 2015 11:01 am

We don't travel enough to earn any appreciable loyalty discounts on airfare, car rentals, or hotels. We use Priceline.com Express Deals. You don't get to choose the exact hotel, only the general area. I have been very happy with the results so far when used in Los Angeles, Cape Cod, San Diego, DC, and NYC. I got the hotel for substantially less than going rate.

daggerboard
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by daggerboard » Wed May 20, 2015 11:05 am

We probably do 2-3 weekend trips a year plus a week or so of vacation.

Generally I think it is best to be loyal to a hotel chain or two and an airline or two.

Platinum status with Starwoods is nice - give you the best room available when you check in. I get 7 free economy plus seats on my airline etc.

That said I earn status with professional travel and then use the status when I do vacations.

Sometimes flights and hotels are a little cheaper when you go to different brands than your preferred ones, but unless the difference is vast its not worth it since you end up getting nickled and dimed (extra bag fees etc) or gett less than perfect service.

thewizzer
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by thewizzer » Wed May 20, 2015 11:05 am

I would think that based on what you describe, you would do well to join some hotel loyalty programs or get a co-branded hotel chain credit card.

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dbCooperAir
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by dbCooperAir » Wed May 20, 2015 11:06 am

As our kids got older most weekend trips were with whatever sport/activity they were involved with at the time, a 2-3 week vacation was out of the question during those years.

We were very lucky to have some really fun groups to travel with for out of town meets, etc.
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

niceguy7376
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed May 20, 2015 11:16 am

If you dont travel for business, then I dont see any need to have loyalty to any air or hotel chain. You can always register for their rewards for free but wouldnt be able to make any headway in earning or redeeming those rewards.

But if you stay in hotels for 50 nights a year, then my preference would be Marriott chain. They have tons of brand hotels and I always was able to get a room when I call in the middle of the night calling them when I am in outskirts of any city on highway. With kids, we prefer their hotels that have kitchen or kitchenette.

surfstar
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by surfstar » Wed May 20, 2015 11:29 am

Image

hicabob
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by hicabob » Wed May 20, 2015 11:55 am

I have found Priceline is much more cost effective than hotels.com or loyalty programs. It does require you to wait until the day or two before your stay which is unnerving at first.

texasdiver
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by texasdiver » Wed May 20, 2015 12:00 pm

Wife and 3 kids

We use AirBnB a lot when traveling. More comfortable than cramming a family of 5 into a hotel room and pretty much always much cheaper than getting 2 hotel rooms. Plus we like having a kitchen and not being dependent on restaurants for every meal.

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Flobes
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by Flobes » Wed May 20, 2015 12:34 pm

Bidding For Good is a website that hosts auctions for nonprofits, sometimes hundreds of auctions at a time. I've enjoyed wonderful getaways, from coast to coast. You can get lodging, dining, and activities at a value price, while supporting worthy organizations.
https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/ ... ent.action

Note: Many auctions benefit education institutions, and these fundraisers are "off" for the summer.

steadierfooting
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by steadierfooting » Wed May 20, 2015 7:32 pm

Thanks for all the advice, I'm glad I'm generally doing something right. So far the only hotel chain we've enjoyed staying at is embassy suites. Otherwise I think as we stay at other chains we'll have to pay better attention to if we want to be more loyal to some versus others.

I have never used priceline before, but will look into that, and I forgot to take those daily deal websites into account, we have occasionally came out well with those.

mlipps
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by mlipps » Wed May 20, 2015 8:04 pm

If you fly, you could get the Southwest credit cards and earn companion passes so half the family flies for free each time.

Otherwise, I would do some credit card churning to cover the hotels, or at the very least get a card for the hotel chain you like to most so far.

Also, try Kimpton! But because they're awesome, not for their loyalty program (which I know nothing about.)

jlawrence01
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Location: Southern AZ

Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu May 21, 2015 1:29 am

mmmodem wrote:We don't travel enough to earn any appreciable loyalty discounts on airfare, car rentals, or hotels. We use Priceline.com Express Deals. You don't get to choose the exact hotel, only the general area. I have been very happy with the results so far when used in Los Angeles, Cape Cod, San Diego, DC, and NYC. I got the hotel for substantially less than going rate.
Agreed. I get very good rates on hotels without the hassles of bidding. In addition, they have started to disclose resort fees in those locations that have them.

gouldnm
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Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

Post by gouldnm » Sat May 23, 2015 10:58 am

steadierfooting wrote:although we do like to go to Boston and Washington DC often.
D.C. frequently empties out on the weekends, and hotels drop their prices substantially. I would recommend staying in one of the areas that are non-touristy, but still nice neighborhoods and within walking distance to the metro.

My husband and I frequently stay at the Hilton in Crystal City. Arlington, Va. might also have good rates. There is also a nice Embassy Suites in Alexandria, Va., which is near the historic district and across the street from the Metro.

All the major hotel chains have places in this area. There is at least one Marriott in Crystal City that literally sits on top of the Metro.

These are areas that normally cater to DOD employees on travel, which means:
1. Nice (safe) neighborhoods
2. Tons of hotels that completely empty out on the weekends (and lower their rates accordingly)
3. Lots of excellent restaurants.
4. Near the metro

There are probably many other nice places to stay in D.C. but this works for us.

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