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In My Experience: 10 of the Most Misleading Travel Terms EVER


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If you spend enough time comparing hotels, flights, and tours, you’ll eventually realise that many words have very little meaning in the travel industry. You might think that there would be some sort of common agreement on travel terms across hotels that would define what makes a suite a suite or a deluxe room better than a standard room, but no such agreements exist. I’m often surprised to find that what I booked is not quite what I expected.

Here are some travel hype words you should take lightly, and that might even signal you should do a little more research.

1. ‘Deluxe Room’

Whether you travel once a year or year-round, you’ve probably run into this word over and over again comparing hotels. But do you know what it really means? Across hotel websites, “deluxe” is a travel term usually used to up-sell a room that is the same size as a standard room and looks like a standard room, but usually only has one feature that makes it any better.

According to Merriam-Webster, the official definition of “deluxe” is “notably luxurious, elegant, or expensive.” When it comes to travel, though, it could mean anything from bed sheets with a higher thread count to the addition of a coffeemaker. So when it comes to selecting a “deluxe” room, the only part of that definition you can really count on is that it’ll be slightly more expensive.

Before deciding to upgrade to anything deluxe, make sure you understand exactly how much more you’re paying for. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying a hefty margin for a fancy word.

2. ‘Suite’

While it’s not as vague and thrown-around as often as “deluxe” is, “suite” is another word that doesn’t seem to have a concrete meaning. For some, a suite might mean multiple bedrooms, or at least a separate living room and kitchen area. However, when you’re comparing different hotel suite options, they can range in size and layout dramatically.

Even hotels that market themselves with the word itself in their names, such as Candlewood Suites or Comfort Suites, often have vastly differing opinions on what the word means. At Candlewood Suites, accommodations can be a bit basic, but there are multiple rooms and a full kitchen. Suites at Comfort Suites don’t necessarily have multiple rooms and extra amenities, but may be a little bit bigger than your standard hotel room with a few “deluxe” touches thrown in.

3. ‘Boutique Hotel’

Let me start by saying that I adore boutique hotels. I love their small-scale attention to detail and that each one has a distinct look and design. That being said, “boutique” is a relatively new and trendy word that gets thrown around far too often, and few people know its true definition. Some people say that a boutique hotel can only be considered such if it has fewer than 100 rooms—but if that were the case every truck-stop motel across the country could slap the word “boutique” above the vacancy sign.

If you really want to experience a boutique hotel, look for something petite and artsy. A boutique hotel should feel like an independent hotel with its own distinct, locally focused style—even if it’s owned by a bigger hotel conglomerate. For example, MGallery is a boutique hotel brand owned by Accor Hotels. In Melbourne, Hotel Lindrum pays tribute to the building’s history as a pool hall. In Prague, the Century Old Town Hotel is an homage to Franz Kafka, the city’s most famous author. True boutique hotels use design to evoke a historical connection to their location.

4. ‘Stars’

What’s the difference between a five-star hotel and a four-star hotel? It depends who you ask. When you’re looking for hotels across booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity, it’s not uncommon to see different “star” ratings on the same hotel. Depending on the source, hotel star ratings are based different things: Expedia, for example, takes into account “hotel amenities, media reviews, customer experience, and professional benchmarks” to come up with a rating. Meanwhile TripAdvisor simply displays an average of customer reviews.

You could spend hours trying to compare all the different ratings of one hotel to decide how good it is, but should you? Probably not. Ratings are arbitrary and the rules are constantly changing, so it’s better to do your own assessment of what you need in a hotel, and how well it will suit your needs.

5. ‘High-Speed Internet’

Having typed in many hotel Wi-Fi passwords for access to lagging Internet, I feel comfortable saying that the phrase “high-speed internet” is one common travel term that doesn’t mean anything. With fluctuating numbers of guests, hotel internet is notoriously finicky and vastly unreliable—especially when travelling abroad or to rural areas.

If you need a fast connection on your trip, don’t ask the hotel about its Internet speed. Instead, check out Hotelwifitest.com  which collects Internet speeds of hotels across the globe. Do a quick search before you book if you’ll need fast Internet, and if you’re unfamiliar with internet speed measurements, run a quick test from your home connection for comparison. This will give you a good idea if the hotel’s Internet will be better or worse than what you’re used to.

6. ‘Hotel Fitness Centre’

Nobody really expects a whole lot from the hotel fitness centre, do they? Personally, if there’s a treadmill, some weights, and a yoga mat—I’m happy. While it’s not uncommon for fitness rooms to be on the small side, some are seriously claustrophobic excuses for a “fitness centre,” and the equipment can be pretty basic. Also, keep an eye out for fitness rooms that aren’t necessarily located in the hotel: Many hotels, especially in large cities, have a deal with nearby full-service gyms that allow hotel guests to use their facilities. While it’s nice to be able to use a real gym, you might not be as motivated to work out if it’s located a block or more away from where you’re staying.

7. ‘Walking Distance’

For those who hike the Appalachian Trail, “walking distance” means from Georgia to Maine. For those of us who are running late to dinner downtown, however, walking distance better mean under 15 minutes. Probably one of the most subjective travel terms in the industry, never take “walking distance” at face value, and always consult Google Maps.

8. ‘Access to Public Transportation’

Like walking distance, “access to public transportation” can mean just about anything. If you’re relying on public transportation to get around, it’s more helpful if your hotel is located on a major stop than if you have to walk 20 minutes to get there. Similarly, this phrase could mean the hotel is near a bus line that will take you to another bus line that will finally connect you to the main subway, when you really only want to buy a pass for the subway. If deciphering bus schedules and managing transfer tickets isn’t your idea of a good time, make sure to map out the routes you’ll take before you make the booking.

9. ‘Continental Breakfast’

I’ve spurned too many sad displays of near-stale white bread  to ever feel contented by the phrase “continental breakfast.” So what is a continental breakfast? The term has British origins, originally referring to the light breakfasts of mainland Europe, and Merriam-Webster officially defines continental breakfast as “a light breakfast (as of rolls or toast and coffee).” But when modern travellers, especially Americans, hungrily approach a hotel breakfast spread, we want options and, at the very least, a waffle maker. If access to a quick yet substantial breakfast is important to you, call ahead to see what the hotel really offers in their continental breakfast. If you don’t think that will be enough food for you, scout out some nearby cafes or brunch spots instead.

10. ‘Quaint’

While this may be a fine word for a historic bed and breakfast or inn, be wary of any hotel describing itself as “quaint.” It might just be old. If scratchy sheets, peeling paint, and musty smells aren’t your idea of “quaint,” you might want to shop around for a more modern hotel.

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Advice, Life Lessons, Tips

12 Damn Good Ways To Rediscover Your Motivation


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You’re dragging. Your life feels like an endless, meaningless repeat of the same old routine for the foreseeable future. It’s become difficult to get yourself out of bed in the morning because you simply don’t want to do what you need to do for the day. Don’t imagine you’re alone – everyone goes through this, and a lot of people get stuck in it. If you have no interest in becoming one of them, then read on.

1. Change your morning schedule.

It can be tough to do, especially if you feel no motivation to get up in the first place. Start small. If you’re a snooze button fiend, change up your alarm method – or placement. Switch to a different, delicious kind of breakfast if you can. Set ten minutes aside to meditate, stretch, or practice yoga. Choose anything that will help you personally succeed.

2. Find something that inspires you to kickstart your day.

What do you like to do to energise and push yourself forward? It matters, because if you’re consistently dragging in the morning, you need a special kind of nudge. Find what makes you want to jump out of bed and get into the thick of things. The list of possibilities is endless – it all comes down to finding the spark that works for you.

3. Meditate on a regular basis.

Whether you do so in the morning or not, it’s a good idea to engage in some sort of daily meditation practice. If that sounds daunting, approach it incrementally. You don’t have to set aside an hour or two – the regularity is what matters, not so much the length of the meditation. Once you make your ten or fifteen minutes into a daily habit, you’ll find it easier to expand your practice. It’ll feel so good that you will want to stay longer.

4. Dig deep.

You might be having a tough time finding motivation to try something new. Perhaps the problem is that you’ve lost your drive for what you’re already doing. Either way, you have to get down to the root of the issue. Is it fear? Is it a lack of inspiration? Does it relate to some other issue happening in your life? If you want to rediscover the drive that you need for a fulfilling journey, then you have to put in the internal work.

5. Reprioritize.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked in the day-to-day chaos of the hectic world that you live in. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens to everyone and most are completely unaware of the problem. They don’t understand why they feel overworked, stressed, and discontent. Sit down and make two lists – one with the activities you engage in that bring you joy, and one with those that cause you stress. Make the decision to incorporate more of those that are joyful and also to put them first as much as possible. Starting with the positive will make those tougher tasks easier to bear.

6. Get moving.

It may be well-worn advice, but it’s true – revving up your heart produces endorphins and motivates you to get the rest of your day in order. If you can stand it, try to start your morning off with some exercise, even if that just means getting outside and taking a walk in the fresh air. If you combine a workout with time in nature, you double the potential benefits. You’re almost guaranteed to be in a better mindset post-exercise.

7. Be brutally honest with yourself.

Is there an actual issue interfering with your motivation, or have you let yourself get lazy? Sometimes the truth is difficult to face. Everyone gets comfortable and complacent, but it’s your job to keep things fresh and rediscover your zest for life. If you don’t have that going for you, what’s even the point, right? Take a good hard look at the underlying problems.

8. Rest – but really, truly rest.

In today’s world most people don’t really take breaks. You may tell yourself something you’re doing counts as “rest”, but odds are you’re still letting the rest of your life interfere with your relaxation. You have to set aside time to honestly let go, and if you’re lucky, there are people around you who can assist you with that. They’ll probably be glad to lend a hand if you express the crucial necessity – and it won’t hurt if you offer to do likewise in the future. There is no shame in relying on those who care for you.

9. Try something wildly outside your comfort zone.

Part of your problem could be a lack of new elements in your life that pique your interest. When you fall into a rut, you must pull yourself out of it – and one way to do that quickly and effectively is to attempt something that scares you. It’ll keep your enthusiasm alive and inspire you to go above and beyond where you are now.

10. Dance!

Seriously. Dancing is incredibly freeing and it brings the best out in everyone. It awakens your inner child and puts a smile on your face – what can possibly be wrong with that? Let everything go and dance like nobody is watching you. Life is too short to care, and nothing feels better than giving your body license to move in the ways that feel primal and true. It’ll take you out of your head and into your heart.

11. If you don’t like your life, step back and try to pinpoint why.

There’s nothing worse than feeling dissatisfied with your existence, but a staggering number of people out there aren’t happy. Most likely you’ve been plodding along and haven’t taken stock of where you are and what’s keeping you from satisfaction. Has something changed, or is the issue that nothing’s changed at all? Figure it out.

12. Be as completely present in the moment as humanly possible.

Your unhappiness could stem from the simple fact that you are living in the past or the future instead of the here and now. If you’re dragging, take note of every moment as it happens, and you’ll forget to worry about anything else. Your inherent motivation lies in the fact that none of us are guaranteed the next month, day, hour, or even minute. Take charge of your life and enjoy it fully as long as you hold its preciousness in your grasp.