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Letters of the Week

We don't know about you, but travel always makes us want to write long juicy letters to everyone we know. Maybe it's bragging rights, maybe it's a burst of poetic inspiration from seeing the Taj Mahal, but one way or another, suitcases and sunsets in strange places turn us into letter-writing fools. So, if it turns out you're the same way....be sure to include us in your list of people you just have to drop a line to. Don't worry, you will make us jealous...but hopefully we'll also be inspired by your adventures.

Want to see what other Savvy visitors have to say? Read our letters of the week, and be sure to tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you!

July 20, 2001

STOP! Before You Book a Hotel Room, READ THIS!

Dear Savvy Traveler:

As a hotel employee, I want to give your listeners a helpful hint about hotel bookings.

When making a hotel reservation, remember that you're dealing with the sales department. They just want to make a buck. They probably don't care that you're taking your wife on a second honeymoon after 75 years of marriage. They just want to move on to the next sale -- oops, I mean, "valued guest." The reservation agent might say something like, "Thank you, Miss Doe. You have a reservation at the Miami Luxury Hotel, with a request for a non-smoking, double-bed room and a bay view. You're all set!"

Note that nasty little word "request." I wish I could I tell you the number of times I've checked in irate guests who didn't get the kind of room they requested. The desk clerk is put in the awkward position of having to tell the guest, "Your reservation indicates that you requested two beds, but were not GUARANTEED two beds." So, the guest ends up paying $237 a night to have his kids sleep on the floor.

The moral of the story? Make sure the reservation agent (or your travel agent) GUARANTEES your preferences. Then call back a few days later to confirm that the reservation is correct. Verify your reservation number, and the name and spelling your reservation was made under. Sometimes a lazy reservation agent might book your first name as your last, or your travel agency's name instead of yours. Also, find out if parking is included and whether there's an early check-out fee.

Sleep well, and keep telling those really cool travel stories.

Miami, FL


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