Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel rant

Trying to get back into this.  I swear!  So sorry.  :(  Well I always have a rant brewing in my head, so I'll just put them here.

We're traveling to Florida in just under a month for the wedding reception of my dear Twitter friend Becca and to hit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter while we're in the state.  I'm a pretty fair hand at travel planning, as I had to deal with a lot of it at my old job.  I look at hotel reviews and compare prices like a pro.  But here's the thing: no matter what I do, most of the time the hotel ends up sucking.  We can't afford 5 stars, so we're always taking a chance, but really, why does it have to be this way?

Because booking a hotel is pretty much blind.  You read reviews from people who didn't even seem to stay in the same hotel.  This person says it's spotless, this person found a roach.  You try to go for one with a high average, but your personal experience could be very different.  It could be crowded with teenage girls on a soccer trip.  Your room could be next to the elevator.  Something is broken or someone is grumpy and something is messy.  You NEVER know.

The other thing you try to do is look at pictures.  Yeah, THAT helps.  Because every hotel takes the best possible, and most likely Photoshopped, pics of the property.  It's NEVER accurate.  Our worst experience was last year when I tried to book us a hotel for one night in Maine for the Christmas Prelude.  It was some motel, but with good reviews, and $100 for the night was cheap for the area.  Well, we get there to check in, and it's a total motor lodge.  I wait forever to check in, grab the key and head to the room.  I open the door (marked "nonsmoking") to find two double beds when even my CONFIRMATION stated the king I had chosen, and a room that reeked of smoke.  Back to the desk to ask for a king, oh there's none left, so sorry, so I told her we weren't staying there and I would NOT be charged.  Luckily they were honest and didn't, but jeez!

How do you mark a room as "nonsmoking" when it's clearly been smoked in?  You can't just say it is, you need to rip that room apart down to the studs and re-finish it before you can change a room from smoking to non.  Plus, I always pick a king bed on vacations because we have one at home, so if I'm paying for a bed I want it to be at least as big as ours.  We're not squeezing into a full.  We are not thin people.  I ask for it, it's confirmed, I EXPECT it.  Sigh.

So here we go, off to Florida soon, staying in TWO different hotels for 2 nights each (Miami and Orlando).  To say I'm nervous is an understatement.  I've been burned too many times.  I also worry because I tell Simon to trust me, I'll book it, and if it sucks I always feel responsible.  This is the worst part of travel.  Gah.  Wish us luck.

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