6 Great Tips For Finding Cheap Hotel Rates

During any tour to any destination, two things make up the bulk of your expenses: travel and accommodations. Therefore to eke out any savings from the trip you will have to invest a lot of time and effort on finding cheap hotel rates to keep your expenses low and your smiles up.

While looking for cheap hotel rates, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Location is everything – Hotel rates vary from place to place depending on its location. You will have to ask yourself if where your balance lies: convenience or price. Most convenient locations in any city will have hotels sporting rates in the upwards range in any market.

Some less accessible areas will offer lesser rates. However, you will have to decide for yourself whether the inconvenience is worth the price. If you are pretty familiar with the area you are traveling to, then locations with lesser rates in less accessible or attractive locations will be less of an issue for you.

However, if you are traveling to an area for the first time, you will have to think twice about staying at a location that is a little inconvenient.

2. Schedule is also everything – The basic law of supply and demands states that the more the demand, the more expensive the item will be. The same is true for hotel rates, if demand for a travel destination is high, then you are bound to spend more money.

So if you are planning to stay away from home, try to make your hotel reservations for off-peak seasons. Hotel rates during peak season can be as much as three times more than regular rates. This alone is reason enough to look to reserve during off-peak seasons.

3. Amenities – Some hotels are pricier because they offer amenities that, while great for those looking for extravagance, are useless to some travelers. If you can live without some of these amenities, then you could consider looking for hotels that are cheaper because they do not offer these amenities.

4. Negotiate – Most front desk personnel are personable and can give good advice on getting better rates at their hotels. Negotiate with them to get good discounts for your stay.

If you are staying for more than a week, then you might want to ask if they offer lower rates for longer stays. Also ask if they have special promos during the period of your stay that you can take advantage of.

5. Search online – Comparing rates, amenities, and location is easier nowadays because of the power of the internet. The internet makes searching for good rates on good hotels easy and painless.

The good thing about internet hotel hunting is that most hotel search websites show prices for rooms, amenities, location, and best of all, user reviews of the hotel itself. This will give you a better idea of what to expect when checking in with a hotel for the first time.

6. The power of a Travel Agent – Travel agents have good contacts among hotel chains and can get discounts on reservations thus made. If you choose to have a travel agent help you get a good hotel, then make sure that the service fee you pay them does not make going through an agent more expensive then making the reservation yourself.

Vegetarian Restaurants Can Be Enjoyable for Your Meat Eating Friends

If you’re like most vegetarians, you have at least one meat-eating friend. Quite possibly, you have all meat-eating friends who rib you about tofu at least once a week. So how can you get your carnivorous friend to join you in trying a new vegetarian restaurant? These simple tips will get you and your friend into vegetarian restaurant faster than you can say “soy sausage.”

First and foremost, be up front with your friend. Don’t wait until you’re on the way to the restaurant to tell her that it’s a vegetarian establishment. Even if you can still get her in the door, it will leave bad feelings that will ruin your visit and guarantee that she won’t take your future dining suggestions seriously.

If you’ve been friends more than a couple of weeks, you’ve more than likely dined together at some point. That said, you also probably have an inkling as to your meat-eating friend’s eating habits. Does he order the steak or the chicken? Cheese pizza or supreme? Salad before dinner or bacon cheese fries? Choose a vegetarian restaurant that offers vegetarian versions of his favorites and he’s more likely to agree to a sit down. Juicy veggie burgers, veggie pizza, and pasta marinara are often popular with meat-eating companions.

For a first foray into the world of meat-free dining, it’s also a good idea to look for a vegetarian restaurant that offers dairy products rather than a strict vegan restaurant. Your meat-eating friend may feel more confident ordering a veggie pizza with actual mozzarella than one with soy cheese. Being able to identify ingredients that he knows he likes will go a long way toward making your friend feel comfortable with his dining choices.

If you’re lucky, you can even find a vegetarian restaurant that offers an occasional meat special. A few vegetarian restaurants include a fish or egg entree once a week to appeal to the meat-eating companions of its vegetarian regulars. The rest of the menu is vegetarian, so you will enjoy your many options while your friend is savoring her grilled fish entree or omelette.

Also check out the beverage menu, and if you’re inclined, the wine and beer list. You and your friend can stop by for a drink together while you both sample a vegetarian appetizer or dessert. If she enjoys her first visit, you and she can plan a second visit for a full meal.

Most importantly, keep this fact in mind: You are vegetarian and you still manage find something to eat on traditional restaurant menus when you eat out with friends. You friend will have the same success when he visits your favorite restaurant.

By taking a few simple steps, you can help ensure that your friend enjoys a visit to your favorite vegetarian restaurant. Then you can take the focus off the food options and put it where it really belongs: a great night out with your friend.

What Are Five of The Best Hotels in Abu Dhabi?

A thriving metropolis located on a small island just off the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is one of the new centers of international business. One century ago, this great city was a mere fishing village whose residents relied upon the sea for their sustenance. Today, it relies upon its vast reserves of petroleum and the great riches that have come along with them.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is now one of the richest cities in the world, and its great wealth is reflected in its wide variety of comfortable and lush hotels. It may, in fact, be difficult for the traveler unfamiliar with this city to find affordable lodging because of the city’s emphasis on luxury. As Abu Dhabi has opened up to western tourism, however, relatively inexpensive hotels with excellent service have begun to appear around the city. Here are just a few of the best hotels Abu Dhabi has to offer.

1) Cristal Salam Hotel

Travelers who are on a budget might be nervous about booking a room in the famously expensive city. However, there are relatively cheap options, and the best of these is the Cristal Salam Hotel. Located in the bustling eastern neighborhood of Madinat Zayed, a mere ten-minute drive from the center of the city, the Cristal Salam offers travelers top-rated service, excellent rooms, and a central location.

Rates for a room at the Cristal Salam Hotel start at around $60 per night. Few other hotels in Abu Dhabi feature similarly low rates, and none of those hotels offer the same kind of service as does the Cristal Salam. For these reasons, the Cristal Salam Hotel is very popular with tourists, so be sure to book early to ensure inexpensive lodging in the city.

2) Beach Rotana

Another hotel on the eastern end of Abu Dhabi, the Beach Rotana is a great choice for travelers who want the convenience of easy access to the beach without having to leave their hotel. The Beach Rotana offers both great service and direct access to the beach, which also includes beachside bars and pools. Popular restaurants at the Rotana include Indigo, a “modern Indian” restaurant; Trader Vic’s, a French Polynesian restaurant; and the internationally known Japanese steakhouse chain Benihana.

Rooms at the Rotana let out for about $100 per night and up, but special deals are frequently available. Even at the regular rate, however, a room at the Rotana is more than worth it – visitors have easy access to both the beach and Abu Dhabi Mall, a massive retail center in the eastern Madinat Zayed district of the city. Lovers of suntanning, swimming, and shopping can’t ask for anything more out of a hotel.

3) Hilton Abu Dhabi

For those tourists who want to stick with the tried and true, the Hilton Abu Dhabi might be the best choice available. The Hilton features excellent service, well-maintained and luxurious rooms, a beautiful view of the wealthy west end of the city, and great restaurants and bars. Travelers staying at the Hilton shouldn’t miss out on Hemingway’s, a restaurant and bar featuring a Middle Eastern take on Tex-Mex cuisine and live music. Attached to Hemingway’s is the Jazz Bar & Club, a popular meeting place for tourists and resident expatriates alike.

The Hilton is located on the southwestern end of Abu Dhabi Island, about fifteen minutes away from the city center by car. Rates for a room at the Hilton are fairly reasonable, beginning at around $120 per night.

4) Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Etihad Towers is a massive office, residence, and hotel complex in the west of Abu Dhabi. Developed by royal family member Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammad Al-Nahyan and built by Australian architectural firm DBI Design, these five giant towers loom over Abu Dhabi, dwarfed only by the 74-story Sky Tower located on the other end of the city. Etihad Towers offers more than simple height, however – it also contains the Jumeirah, a top-rated five star hotel. The Jumeirah occupies one of the five towers and features luxurious rooms, excellent dining, and the best views to be had anywhere in Abu Dhabi. Visitors staying in Abu Dhabi for business purposes can take advantage of one of the thirteen meeting rooms available in the Jumeirah’s conference center. The hotel’s restaurant fare, which includes Lebanese, Japanese, and everything in between, stands up to the best food this city has to offer.

Naturally, the Jumeirah’s luxury comes at a price. Rooms at the Jumeirah start at $200 per night. However, if you can afford the stay, the cost is well worth it, if only for the amazing view.

5) Emirates Palace

The undisputed champion in the fields of luxury and pure, unabashed decadence – this title is won handily by Emirates Palace, a hotel in the western Al-Ras Al-Akhdar district of Abu Dhabi. To simply call Emirates Palace a “hotel” is not doing it justice, however. This 85-hectare complex features stunning gardens and plazas. The hotel building itself truly is a palace – the interiors of its vast lobby and halls are decorated in gold, and the exterior gives off a Middle Eastern fairy tale feel, as though the entire structure had been pulled right out of the One Thousand and One Nights.

Some of the Palace’s astounding features include a beautifully-maintained 1.3 kilometer stretch of private beach, forty conference rooms for visitors in Abu Dhabi on business, and a wide variety of international cuisine. Etoiles Bar and Havana Bar are popular get-together spots for expatriates who don’t mind dropping 30 dirhams ($8) on a beer, and the lobby itself features a cafe service for both guests and non-guest visitors. One of the cafe’s most popular items is the 24-karat gold-topped cappuccino, which is a normal cappuccino sprinkled with real gold dust.

Emirates Palace is, hands down, the most expensive hotel in Abu Dhabi, with rooms starting at $400 per night and quickly rising to $2,000 for the deluxe suites. Fortunately for those travelers who want a taste of extreme luxury at the Palace but can’t afford a room, the hotel’s lobby and restaurants are open to the public. Indeed, Emirates Palace is one of the top tourist destinations in the city, and for good reason. Nowhere is the sheer wealth of Abu Dhabi more overtly displayed than at this incredibly luxurious hotel.