The bedbugs are extra
Tip No. 3
– and no
Gene Marks, CPA, is the owner of the Marks
Group, which sells customer relationship,
service, and financial management tools to
small and midsized businesses.
No. 1 for avoiding get ripped off by hotels:
Avoid the city center. Most major cities have
subways and bus systems. Some of them are
even safe to use.
I’ve been to New York countless times and
I still can’t figure out how to use the subways.
(Do I take the express or local?) But that’s OK.
I always plan out my adventure using Hop-
stop.com first. This site is the MapQuest of
public transportation, giving step-by-step
directions for using public transport in just
about every major city in the country. Even
a taxi ride from a suburban hotel is probably
less than the extra dollars you’re paying for
staying downtown. Smart penny-pinchers I
know look for hotels on the outskirts of the
city and save big bucks by staying there. By
the way, if you’re looking to stay in NYC, also
consider Jersey City. The hotels there are
much less than Manhattan and only a short
subway ride into town. Yes, I know it’s in New
Jersey. But it’s even farther from where the
Mets play, so that’s a plus.
There are more ways to avoid getting
ripped off by hotels too.
So here’s Penny-Pinching Tip No. 2 for not
getting ripped off by hotels: Always make your
reservation by calling the hotel directly. Of
course, check the pricing online beforehand
so you know where to start. But that’s just to
start. Always ask for a discount. And always
be nice. The girl answering the phone isn’t
the one ripping you off. Considering what
she’s paid, she’s probably being ripped off
too. Acting like a jerk with the hotel clerk is
a guaranteed way to get the highest rate in
Try to avoid the hotel’s toll-free line, where
reservation clerks are like robots. If you’ve
stayed in the hotel before, go ahead and
mention it and lie about how much you loved
the place. Oh, just say you did anyway and
see what it gets you. The biggest advantage
you’ll get by dealing directly with the hotel is
that it’s easy to change the reservation. Some
hotels pay up to a 30 percent commission to
sites like Expedia, so they’re more accom-
modating to customers who reserve directly
with them. By the way, belonging to the ho-
tel’s traveler program doesn’t hurt either. It’s
almost always free to sign up.