Avoid International Roaming Fees

Will you need to check your e-mail, surf the Web, or share pictures or videos while you’re traveling abroad? If the answer is yes to any of those activities, then you’ll need to add an international data package to your plan, or you could end up with a massive wireless bill. These can be had for as little as $25 per month from all the major carriers and can be canceled as soon as you return home. (Just be sure to buy enough data access so you’re not charged extra; the cheapest options are often rather skimpy.) Another option: if you can wait until you’re back at a hotel Wi-Fi hot spot to check your mail or use your apps, then just turn off your phone’s roaming capabilities (usually found in the Settings area).

Lowest Price Refund Guarantee – New from HostelTraveler

HostelTraveler (Instant World Booking) is your cheapest option for hostels around the world. 

Our new Lowest Price Refund Guarantee is a promise that you won’t find cheaper hostel prices elsewhere.  We’re cheaper than Hostelworld, Hostelbookers, Hostelsclub, and the rest.

While our friends at other booking services are comparing and trying to out price each other with advertising campaigns, you can book with confidence at HostelTraveler.  That’s because we’re offering a guarantee that you’ll receive the lowest available price.  So, don’t bother looking any further.  Reserve with confidence knowing that, if you find a lower price, we’ll refund you double the difference.  It’s that simple.

How can we offer this incredible guarantee?  Because, HostelTraveler is one of the most economical online reservation providers, serving over 10,000 unique hostels and specialty budget properties worldwide.   And, because we provide superior service and technology, we don’t gouge our accommodation partners with exorbitant commissions.  So, we can pass on the savings to our travelers.

About our Lowest Price Refund Guarantee

We are absolutely committed to offering the lowest prices for hostels.  You can now book with confidence, because you won’t find any of our hostels cheaper elsewhere on the internet.   If you are able to find a better deal for the same travel dates and with the same booking conditions, we’ll refund double the difference.  See more about the terms of our Lowest Price Refund Guarantee below.  We think you’ll agree that no better guarantee is offered anywhere.

Lowest Price Refund Guarantee – Terms

(1)  Contact us within 7 days of booking your accommodation through HostelTraveler (Instant World Booking), or one of our 100+ travel websites.  Your booking must be completed on one of Instant World Booking’s websites, not a lodging’s website or other affiliate site.

(2)  Tell us the details of the lower rate you were offered.  The lower price must be available to book during the 7 day period following your reservation, and we need to be able to verify the offer.

(3)  The guarantee will not apply to lower prices advertised within 7 days of arrival date.

(4)  The lower price must be available on a website other than hosteltraveler.com.

(5)  The “lower price” consists of the total cost of the reservation, including the daily rate, any included meals and extras, and all booking fees and taxes.  The “lower price” must be found on a website for an equivalent room at the same lodging accommodation for the same period as your reservation, and with the same conditions.

(6)  Instant World Booking will make refunds only if your reservation through Instant World Booking completed and not cancelled or the subject of a no-show.   Refunds will only be given after the departure date, once the terms of your reservation have been fully completed.

(7)  If a refund is given, you are still bound by the terms and conditions of your existing reservation confirmed through Instant World Booking.

(8)  The lowest price guarantee does not apply to accommodation reserved in combination with a membership rate, frequent stay, reward type program, or special promotion offered by the accommodation provider.

(9)  The lower price must be a regularly advertised price for your reserved hotel, not a price received from an ‘opaque’ site or auction site, where the exact location or price is not known until after booking.

(10)  The maximum refund that will be provided by Instant World Booking is limited to the total confirmation payment made at the time of your reservation.

(11)  Instant World Booking reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time without prior warning or notification.

What’s the Best Way to Make a Phonecall when Traveling?

What’s the best way to make phonecalls when traveling outside your home country?  Here are several strategies.

  1. Change SIM cards.  Avoid roaming charges by using an international SIM card in your unlocked GSM tri- or quad-band phone.  By cards from several sources, including cellularabroad.com.  Check that your phone has the correct GSM frequency for your location.  You’ll most likely get a temporary international number with this approach.
  2. Sign up for an International Roaming Plan.  Your carrier may have international roaming plans that can carry you temporarily through your travels.  This is a very convenient way of keeping your current phone and SIM card while traveling, but even with the special plans, rates can be high.
  3. Use your Laptop to make calls.  Using a service like Skype or other VOIP phone services may be a very cheap way to make phonecalls while traveling abroad.  All you need is a broadband wireless internet connection.  But, you must have your laptop with you.
  4. WiFi online calls with an iPhone or other smart phone.  If you have a smart phone, you can download WiFi software for making almost free calls over the internet from truphone.com.  You may also try purchasing a dedicated WiFi phone

Travel Tricks that Save You Money and Time

1)  Be flexible when planning your destinations.  Search for airfares from your home city.  Look for deals and discounts.  Searching in reverse can lead to great savings.

2)  Automatically upgrade to first class on flights with a Y-Up fare.  There are restrictions, and Y-Up fares are not available on international flights, but you can book them through a travel agent.

3)  Travel on Tuesdays Wednesdays, or Saturdays for less congestion at airports.  On other days, try early mornings.

4)  To avoid long lines at coach check-ins, try the business class check-in.  You can ask if an upgrade had been applied.  Even if it didn’t you’ll be ahead of the game at the business class check-in counter.

5)  When calling hotels for rates and reservations always wait to see what the best rate the hotel representative will offer.  Once you’ve received the best rate, ask if that is the absolutely lowest rate available.  Also ask if there are any special discounts that are available.  You’ll usually come up with an even lower rate than was originally offered.

6)  Check if your hotel offers free WIFI.  Don’t pay $10 – $30 extra per night just for internet.

7)  Avoid overseas ATM fees.  Check with your bank in advance to see if there are no-fee ATMs available.

8)  Check for taxi rates at your destination in advance.  Call the hotel to ask for advice on taxi fares.  Don’t get ripped off once your sitting in a taxi.

9)  Save money on overnight hotel stays by travelling between cities at night, and sleeping on the train.

Is Hostel Traveler the Cheapest?

We’ve recently seen posts on various blogs and sites comparing the cost to travelers of booking their hostel accommodation on some of the leading websites, including Hostelling Interntional, Hostelworld, Hostels.com, and Hostelbookers.  We’re happy to note that HostelTraveler.com remains the cheapest and the best bargain for the budget traveler.

One post objectively states that HI charged 5% deposit plus 1.92 euro booking fee, claiming that this was the cheapest of a comparison made.  Nevertheless, while HostelTraveler.com was not included in this particular comparison, HostelTraveler.com was even cheaper than the winner.  Here’s why:

HostelTraveler.com’s typical pricing is 8% deposit plus $0.75 per bed. In Euro terms this equates to 8% deposit plus 0.52 Euros. This means that for a 1-2night stay and a hostel bed at 20-25 Euros, HostelTraveler.com is cheaper for the traveler than the HI example above.  Check it out for yourself.

Affordable Weekend Getaways in the South, USA

The economy is leading travelers in the USA to take shorter, yet more frequent vacations. There are many places to plan a cheap weekend getaway in the South region of the United Stated. Here are our top ten recommended spots for fun and affordable short vacations in the South.

1) Dallas, Texas

2) Atlanta, Georgia

3) Captiva/Sanibel Island, Florida

4) Louisville, Kentucky

5) Delaware’s Brandywine Valley

6) Charlotte, North Carolina

7) Little Rock, Arkansas

8) Memphis, Tennessee

9) Washington, D.C.

10) Charleston, South Carolina

How to Save Money with Hotel and Hostel Surcharge Fees

Surcharges are those hidden costs that a youth hostel or hotel can charge you for seemingly simple services, like making phone calls or accessing the internet. In the hostelling and hotel industry, surcharges are a huge moneymaker. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. hotels earned $1.6 billion from miscellaneous surcharges and fees last year, up from $550 million in 2003. This year that

number is likely to be more than $1.75 billion.

As hotels and hostels creatively find more ways to make you pay more, it’s important to be informed before planning your travel.

Here’s how to save on extra surcharges and fees at your hotel or hostel:

Lodging taxes can add a lot to your bill, depending on what region you’re staying in. In New York, for example, you can end up paying 8.75% on top of the nightly rate, plus a 5% hotel tax. This can add $10, $20, $30 to the cost of your stay.

So-called “resort” or “hotel” fees may cover use of facilities like a pool or fitness equipment. However, itemized charges can be tacked on for extras like landscaping and housekeeping, holding your luggage, tipping, or mini-bar restocking. The Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association now encourages its members to impose an energy surcharge. If you stay at a hotel in Canada, you may pay a 3% “destination marketing fee” to promote its tourism industry.

Before you travel, call and ask questions. When booking on the telephone or online, make sure you understand the total cost, including “total fees and taxes” Tell the hotel or hostel representative you want to know the absolute total you will be paying. HostelTraveler.com rates typically include all fees and surcharges, but sometimes taxes will be added on during your stay. Make sure you read the full listing information in advance to know how much your total cost will be.

After your stay, hotel and hostel staff are frequently reluctant to remove charges from your bill. If you’re not planning on using the specific services or facilities, request that they eliminate those expenses before you check in. Check out early, settle your bill in advance, so that you have ample time to review your bill thoroughly. Once you move on to the next city, the chances of obtaining a correction are much lower. And remember, if the hotel representative can’t tell you exactly what costs are included in your bill, make sure you obtain clarification from a manager before you pay. This will avoid disputes later.