Part 3- Maximizing your time and making your stay enjoyable

spaceneedleI always try to make it a point to learn something unique about the area where I am going.  Whether I’m heading to Seattle, WA or Greenville, OH there is usually something interesting about the area that is worth checking out. 

Check with the locals and find out what they like to do or whwhere they like to eat.  Chain restaurants are ok, but I try to avoid them if possible.  You can get those anywhere. Also, to save money during the day, I scope out the local Whole Foods or a similar stores so I can grab breakfast and lunch items.  I find that I manage to stay well below my corporate maximum meal allowance, while also making healthier dining choices.

If you are traveling alone, I would also recommend asking the front desk agent about the safety of the area that you are visiting.  Staying in Charlotte?  Go right ahead-walk to dinner alone after dark.  You’ll be fine, there are many security guards in the area and it’s also well lit with a lot of pedestrian traffic.  Staying in Sacramento, CA?  You may not want to venture across the hotel parking lot alone at night-may as well order in. 

Having good knowledge of your surroundings will allow you to be a more alert, safer traveler.  Don’t think of it as being paranoid-think of it as watching your own back.  After all, when you’re far from home and all alone, who else is going to watch it for you?

Traders-Hotel-Singapore-LobbyAlso, regarding hotels, I also tend to hide any valuables or jewelry in my hotel room when I leave for the day.  While I like to believe in the goodness of others, we as travelers have to realize that a housekeeper will be entering into your unattended room and have the ability to go through your belongings unsupervised.  Remember, the hotel is not liable for any lost or stolen valuables.  I tend to wear all of my good jewelry on a regular basis so that’s usually not an issue but it’s important not to tempt fate.  Have valuables? Keep  them in your suitcase, zipped up in the corner of the room to discourage any snooping.

This brings me to another point.  The cleanliness of hotel rooms has been a hot button issue ever since the infamous videos of the hotel water glasses being ‘cleaned’ by a housekeeper.  If you haven’t seen these videos, you can see one here.  Do not drink out of the reusable glasses in hotel rooms unless they are invidually wrapped or sealed.  Also, while sheets are changed on a regular basis, the comforters are rarely (if ever) cleaned at hotels.  I will always remove the comforter immediately when I get into a room. 

Finally, this brings me to perhaps the DIRTIEST item in the whole hotel room-the TV remote!  You probably would never imagine this (I am a germaphobe, can you tell?) but this is an item that is handled by countless people and rarely if ever cleaned.  For this reason I will wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol prior to using it.  This will help keep you healthy while you’re on the road!

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