Don’t Want to Use Hotel Housekeeping? Here’s What to Do

The world of travel has changed significantly over the past few years, largely due to the pandemic.

In the realm of hospitality, the landscape of housekeeping has undergone a transformative shift, bringing with it a mix of blessings and curses for discerning guests like yourself.

If you’re a hotel guest who prefers not to utilize hotel housekeeping services, I will provide you with some guidance on how to approach this to ensure a seamless hotel experience.

Can you decline hotel housekeeping service for your entire stay?

The first question you might want to know is whether or not you are allowed to completely decline hotel housekeeping.

Every hotel is going to have its own housekeeping policy, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific hotel you’re staying at.

But the general trend that you’ll find at properties here in the US is that you can turn down daily housekeeping without an issue.

You can do this by simply placing a “do not disturb” sign on your door or just by talking with the housekeeping staff and letting them know you would like to decline housekeeping services.

You can also arrange this at the front desk although there are often miscommunications that arise when not dealing directly with housekeeping. Using the do not disturb placard is usually your best bet.

Housekeeping workers

Tips for going without housekeeping

If you choose to go without housekeeping, below are some helpful tips you might want to consider.

The maximum amount of time you can go without housekeeping

At many hotels, it should not be a problem to turn down housekeeping for a few days. What I mean by that is that you will not face any kind of resistance if you have a three-day stay and you do not allow housekeeping into your room during that period.

However, some properties may have a maximum amount of time that you can decline housekeeping. For example, they may specify that housekeeping “must enter your room after every seven days.” It’s worth noting that based on my personal experience, these maximum time frames may or may not be enforced.

If no personnel from the hotel is following up on this and it is up to you to schedule the housekeeping, then chances are the property will let it slide for quite a while. This can make life a lot easier for those on extended stays.

Receiving a benefit for turning down housekeeping?

If you decline housekeeping at some hotels, it’s possible that they may offer you some kind of benefit, such as a free drink at the bar, a dining credit, award points, discounted room rate, gift shop discount, or even an upgrade.

Usually, if this is offered it will be mentioned at check-in but on occasion you could bring it up to see if there is any perk that was not brought to your attention.

How to handle your trash and dirty towels

Even if you are a well-organized hotel guest, if housekeeping doesn’t come to your room to take out the trash or replace your dirty towels, things can get messy quickly, especially when dealing with the minuscule dimensions of those Lilliputian trash cans.

So, what can you do?

The best approach is to talk to the front desk and ensure that your plan is acceptable. In my experience, most front desks are okay with the steps I’ll outline below, but it’s always good to check with them as some hotels may have different policies.

For dirty towels, you can simply ball them up and place them outside your door, signaling to housekeeping that they are dirty and need to be taken. However, they may not automatically replace them, so you might need to call the front desk and make a request.

If you happen to catch housekeeping on your floor, you can also just approach them and ask or signal to them about taking your towels.

To manage towels more efficiently, you can do two things.

First, reuse your towels multiple times, as it’s more energy-conscious, and if you hang them up on the back of the door or somewhere else, they will usually dry quickly. If you’re worried about sanitation, HealthLine states that “[i]t’s sanitary to reuse a bath towel two or three times between washes.”

Second, you can request your towels in bulk. We usually ask for four towels at once, although I think we’ve requested even more than that on occasion.

Sometimes, you may receive peculiar looks when making a request that appears as if you’re creating your own mini Bath and Body Works store in your room, but if it results in fewer inquiries or trips to the reception, does it truly matter?

If a hotel is very slow to honor your request or tends to be forgetful, you can go down to the front desk and request for the towels at that moment, sometimes even following the front desk agent to the laundry room to pick them up on the spot.

You can follow a similar approach with your waste management — just put it out by your door.

When it comes to managing your trash, be sure to give it the “tight bag treatment” before placing your trash in the hallway. If you’re lucky enough to score some grocery bags, they make excellent makeshift trash bags. Or if you have access to hotel-provided trash bags, you can use those as well. To-go bags from restaurants can work as well.

Aside from room service trays, it’s important not to leave loose items in the hallway. That can unleash a medley of unpleasant smells that quickly tarnish the sweet ambiance of the hotel. It can also be an extremely unsightly appearance.

Even if you have bagged something up, if the food is very smelly it’s best to just throw that right into the bin somewhere.

Some hotels have larger trash cans on each floor, usually located next to the vending machine or ice machine.

Additionally, there is usually a trash can located right outside the front entrance or a side entrance. Typically, the hotel dumpster out back is off-limits but that doesn’t always stop people.

Remember, do not disturb does not always keep people out your room

If you were relying on the do not disturb sign to always keep people out of your room, be aware that that sign is not a full proof measure.

Hotels handle these signs differently but it’s possible that someone could come into your room based on different circumstances.

Don’t deny housekeeping if you can’t stay on top of things

As a hotel guest, be honest with yourself. If you are not going to be able to keep your room in order over the span of several days, let housekeeping in to straighten things up so that things don’t get out of hand.

It’s rather disrespectful to let your room descend into a state of utter disarray and then expect housekeeping to magically restore order in a timely manner. In some cases, you could get hit with a cleaning fee.

Simply put, opting out of housekeeping services is not the right choice for everyone.

Is it ethical to decline housekeeping?

There is an argument to be made that by turning down housekeeping you are making a bad situation worse for those who are largely immigrant, low-wage workers. Since the pandemic, their job opportunities have gone away in a lot of cases and NPR reports that “the number of people working in hotel housekeeping is down more than 20% compared to before the pandemic.”

By refusing housekeeping you could be contributing to the loss of jobs for a vulnerable segment of the population.

While it is easy to be sympathetic to this argument, it’s hard to force people to request a service that they don’t need or want. This is especially true if people have additional privacy, security, or health concerns or just don’t want people snooping around their room.

So while I do admire people who actively seek out housekeeping in order to help create steady demand for housekeeping jobs, I fully understand those who choose not to.

Related: Should You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?

Final word

In today’s world, you can often refuse housekeeping for the entire duration of your stay without an issue, specially if you are on a shorter stay.

The key thing is to make sure you are keeping your room in order especially when it comes to your towels and trash.

I would suggest verifying your management plan with the front desk just to make sure you are on the same page but if you follow some of the steps above, you should be able to keep your room in order without the help of housekeeping even for extended amounts of time.

Do Hotels Provide Airport Shuttle Service?

Are you planning a trip and wondering about the most convenient way to get from the airport to your hotel?

Many hotels offer airport shuttle services that can save you cash money but they do come with some drawbacks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of hotel airport shuttle service and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this convenient transportation option.

What are hotel airport shuttles?

Hotel airport shuttles are convenient transportation services (typically in the form of vans or minibusses) that roam the airport grounds, eagerly hunting for passengers in need of transportation to specific hotels.

These shuttles operate on specific routes, picking up passengers from designated locations at the airport and dropping them off at their respective hotels.

They (sometimes) offer a seamless and hassle-free transfer experience, ensuring that guests can easily access their accommodations upon arrival or reach the airport in a timely manner for their departure.

But the key here is “sometimes.”

Group of travelers outside shuttle van

Do hotels provide airport shuttle service?

Many hotels do provide airport shuttle service. However, it’s important to note that not all hotels offer this amenity, so it’s always a good idea to check with your hotel before your trip.

Interior of shuttle bus

What hotels provide airport shuttle service?

When it comes to hotels that provide airport shuttle service, airport hotels, which are conveniently located near the airport, are the most likely to offer shuttle service.

These hotels can come from all different types of hotel brands and chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, etc.

Keep in mind that there are various types of airport hotels.

Some are directly located within the airport complex or terminal buildings, just steps away from the arrival and departure gates, so there’s really no need to hop on board a bus when staying at these.

However, other airport hotels are situated a short distance from the airport or a few miles away, yet they still provide airport shuttles.

Occasionally, your hotel may be located a considerable distance from the airport, yet still provide an airport shuttle bus service.

In such instances, there is a chance that you might be required to pay a fee due to the distance covered. Nevertheless, these fees are typically reasonable when compared to the cost of private transportation.

In addition to airport hotels, other properties like resorts and even boutique hotels are also known to provide shuttles from airports. Always look out for these in vacation hotspots.

It’s worth noting that shuttle service may vary in terms of frequency and operating hours, so it’s advisable to check with your hotel for specific details.

Airport shuttles provided by hotels can also vary in terms of their operating hours.

While some shuttles operate 24 hours a day, ensuring round-the-clock availability, others may have limited hours of operation. Those that limit hours may offer shuttle service aligned with common flight arrival and departure times.

On occasion, you may have to request a shuttle yourself during off hours.

Related: Are Airport Hotels Good Options? (Pros & Cons)

Rental car centers also have shuttle busses.

How to Book Airport Shuttle Service

Booking airport shuttle service at your hotel is typically a straightforward process.

Here are a few steps to follow:

Check the hotel’s website

Start by visiting the hotel’s official website and look for information about airport shuttle service. Many hotels provide details about their shuttle service, including schedules, pickup locations, and any associated fees.

Other times, this information could be somewhere in your booking confirmation emails.

Contact the hotel

If you’re feeling lost on the hotel website, don’t be shy to contact them directly.

The front desk or concierge staff will be able to assist you with any questions you may have and help you book the shuttle service, although many times they may just tell you where you need to wait in order to board the shuttle bus.

Make sure that you ask them what the shuttle bus looks like because sometimes the shuttle bus does not contain obvious branding on it. You don’t want to accidentally board a disguised ice cream truck (or maybe you do) ;).

Provide your flight details

When booking a shuttle service reservation, you’ll probably need to provide flight information like arrival and departure times.

This will help the hotel coordinate the shuttle schedule and ensure a smooth transfer to and from the airport.

If you’re coming in on one of the last flights of the night then a good hotel should postpone the shuttle service so that it is properly timed with your flight.

Confirm your reservation

It’s always a good idea to double-check your shuttle reservation a day or two before your arrival. This will help avoid any misunderstandings and give you peace of mind.

Be aware that some hotels have a special phone number you can dial to inquire about the shuttle service. They may provide you with automated messages regarding the latest status of the hotel shuttle and give you details on things the routes, stops, and operating hours.

How does the cost of airport shuttle service compare to other forms of transportation?

When considering transportation options from the airport to your hotel, cost is often a significant factor.

Hotel airport shuttle service can be a cost-effective option, especially if the shuttle service is provided at no extra charge for hotel guests.

However, it’s important to note that some hotels may charge a nominal fee for the shuttle service, so it’s essential to inquire about any associated costs when making your reservation. (Sometimes, it might be factored into the resort fee.)

Comparing the cost of hotel airport shuttle service to other forms of transportation, such as taxis or ride-sharing services, can help you make an informed decision.

Typically, a shuttle service is going to be the most economical because it’s often free or at least much cheaper than a taxi or rideshare.

However, the lower cost of a shuttle does come with some drawbacks.

It could take longer than using a taxi or rideshare

The first drawback is that it’s often going to take longer to get to your hotel or to the airport than it would if you were using something like a taxi or Uber.

Some shuttle busses like to make a grand tour, stopping at every possible hotel along the way. If you were one of the last properties to get dropped off at, it might feel like you were on something of a sightseeing tour!

Then there’s the classic case of the bus running fashionably late, and you never know when that can happen.

And let’s not forget the situations where a bus picks up passengers from multiple points. In these instances, the bus can quickly transform into a can of sardines before it even reaches your stop.

To maximize your chances of a smooth getaway, position yourself strategically at the stop nearest the shuttle bus lane entrance. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than getting skipped by a shuttle bus that won’t be returning until another 20 minutes!

Luggage issues can become a problem

If you have a lot of luggage with you, shuttle buses can sometimes be problematic. One issue is that if there are many other passengers on the bus vying for precious storage space, you may not have enough room for all your luggage.

Typically, you will find some racks inside the bus where you can place your luggage and sometimes there is a spacious storage area in the back.

However, if you are traveling with excessive luggage, there is no guarantee you will have enough space, and you might be subjected to a quick and stressful game of Tetris, where the consequences of failing include a bus full of scowling faces.

In some cases, if you have heavy luggage, the driver may assist you in storing it (in which case you should tip), but this is not always the case.

Consider using the shuttle for one-way and private transportation for the other

If you’re torn between the luxury of private transportation and the allure of shuttle bus savings, why not find a middle ground?

On your arrival day, splurge on a private ride from the airport to your hotel, because that is when you will be the most tired and then the other passengers will be the stinkiest.

On the way back to the airport, people tend to be more refreshed, and you’ll be less exhausted, ready to tackle any delays.

Remember to have good etiquette

When you arrive on an airport shuttle bus, try to do the following:

  • Avoid sitting next to other passengers if there are other open seats
  • Avoid placing your luggage on top of other bags unless absolutely necessary
  • Hold on to poles or cables if standing so that you don’t fall into the lap of a stranger
  • Offer a helping hand if someone frail is struggling with luggage
  • Avoid sitting in the seats for those with disabilities unless you need them or are sure you’re not taking a seat from someone who needs it
  • Put your personal item in your lap so that the aisle stays clear

Final word

Hotel airport shuttle service offers a convenient and often cost-effective transportation option for travelers. Many hotels provide this service, making it easier for guests to reach their accommodations. But it’s always good to think through the savings and conveniences offered so that your travels are not made more miserable than they need to be.

Why You Should Always Visit Memorials When Traveling

In the process of planning any travel itinerary, I usually carve out time to visit various memorials when possible.

The reason behind this deliberate choice is simple: I’ve discovered these outings to be some of the most rewarding travel experiences.

In this article, I will delve into the reasons why I think it’s a good idea to allocate time for exploring memorials and I’ll outline the numerous benefits you are likely to encounter along the way.

Memorials provide a place to embrace the human condition

One of the main reasons for visiting memorials is to offer a heartfelt tribute and pay your respects to individuals who have left their mark on history.

There is a profound sense of reverence that accompanies standing silently before a statue or wall inscribed with names of the fallen and taking a moment to honor and reflect. It is a deeply meaningful gesture that resonates with our innate sense of dignity and reverence.

In our fast-paced lives, these moments of pause and contemplation become even more essential. They remind us of the fragility of life and the resilience of the human spirit, offering a much-needed peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily routines.

Memorials inspire gratitude

Memorials serve as poignant reminders of those who have passed away or endured immense pain and hardships.

When standing before the war memorials on DC’s National Mall, a deep and sincere sense of gratitude often washes over you.

It is a humbling experience that swiftly grants you perspective. Suddenly, the trivial worries and inconveniences of your daily life pale in comparison to the gut-wrenching fights and squalid conditions faced by soldiers on the battlefields of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

In that moment, you gain a newfound appreciation for the blessings we often take for granted. You realize the preciousness of freedom and the irreplaceable value of your loved ones. It’s a reminder to embrace and cherish the precious aspects of our lives.

Memorials help us reflect on lessons from the past

Visiting memorials allows us to pause and contemplate the lessons learned from the past.

After exploring the Salem Witch Trial sites, I couldn’t help but to think about how easy it is to get caught up in a frenzy and how dangerous scapegoating can be.

Often times, when trying to figure out what is going wrong with ourselves, our family, or our community, we just go for the most convenient option (which is usually the one that makes us look the best).

However, this tendency can lead us astray. We may overlook the underlying complexities and root causes of our problems and dodge the difficult conversations and uncomfortable truths we need to face.

Like the people of 17th century Salem, we may fall into the trap of scapegoating — blaming others for our faults and problems instead of taking a hard look at ourselves and our society.

Visiting memorials like these can serve as a reminder of this important lesson and inspire us to take responsibility for our actions and their impact on others.

Memorials teach by immersing us in history

Memorials possess the potential to be profound teachers.

When standing at the hauntingly empty landscape of District Six in Cape Town, South Africa — where 60,000 residents were forcibly removed from their homes — I found myself absorbing the details of the events from our guide in a way that I never would from simply reading about it in a textbook.

Memorials — through their ability to evoke emotions and create immersive experiences — become powerful teachers, enabling us to grasp the significance of historical events on a more profound level.

Memorials spark dialogue and collective experiences

A lot of the experiences that come from visiting memorials is deeply personal and introspective. We look inside of ourselves to reflect and further our understanding of the world.

However, the impact of memorials extends beyond the individual.

They also serve as a catalyst for collective experiences and meaningful interactions with others.

As we share the space with fellow visitors, there is a sense of camaraderie. We’re all participants in the same journey of remembrance. Conversations naturally arise, sparked by the common ground we find in our shared experience.

These dialogues can be transformative. They provide an opportunity to exchange perspectives, share stories, and deepen our understanding of history and its implications for the present.

But sometimes dialogue isn’t even necessary.

Imagine the incredibly poignant site of a single elderly veteran standing before the reflective black granite at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In these instances, we witness something that surpasses words. It prompts us to reflect on the individual’s unique perspective, the depth of their struggles, and the weight of the memories they carry, ultimately evoking a deep sense of empathy within us.

These encounters remind us that memorials are also focal points for shared understanding, where the gravity of history is felt and acknowledged, and where we can stand in solidarity with those who have borne the burdens of the past.

Memorials are beautiful and will move you in unexpected ways

From the initial concept to the groundbreaking, memorials often undergo numerous iterations and meticulous planning, sometimes spanning several years or even decades.

The careful consideration given to every aspect of their creation transforms memorials into visually captivating and meaningful sites, often rich in symbolism.

Each element, from the choice of materials to the placement of sculptures or inscriptions, contributes to the overall aesthetic and emotional impact. As a result, these memorials become not only places of remembrance but also visually stunning works of art.

The deliberate incorporation of symbolic elements inspire individuals to further explore the history and connect with the deeper meaning of the memorial. I recall visiting the bonfire memorial at Texas A&M University for the first time and seeing the symbolic portal of a fallen Aggie, Miranda Adams, purposefully facing towards her hometown of Santa Fe.

As I looked to the horizon I realized that the portal was also pointing in the direction of my own home, and the significance of the memorial became even more relatable and impactful.

Photo by meadowsaffron via Flickr.

Memorials help bring stories together

Memorials can play a crucial role in bringing different elements of a story together. That’s because they serve as physical manifestations of history, condensing complex narratives and emotions into tangible forms.

When we stand before a memorial, we see the names, dates, and images that represent the individuals and events we have read or heard so much about.

Sometimes it’s a smaller-scale revelation like when we visited Fort McHenry and saw the actual “ramparts” mentioned in the Star-Spangled Banner.

But other times it’s making sense of a more complex event.

I vividly remember my visit to Pearl Harbor, where the old video footage and survivor stories took on a whole new dimension as I stood there, gazing across the harbor to Ford Island. One a completely quiet morning, I could almost hear the planes roaring overhead, raining destruction on the site in a moment of complete havoc.

The full magnitude of the attack finally hit me.

Final word

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, memorials often offer serene environments where visitors can find solace, pay their respects, and contemplate the lessons and legacies of the events or individuals memorialized. They serve as powerful reminders of our shared history and often offer visitors a rich and rewarding experience.

The Untold Benefits of Staying at Dated Hotel Properties

Staying at a dated property may immediately make you feel a certain type of way. In fact, most people probably avoid dated hotels as much as they can.

But are you potentially missing out by avoiding these type of hotels?

There are actually some distinct benefits of staying at a dated property and I’ll go through some of those below.

What is a dated property?

A “dated” property is simply a hotel that offers an experience not aligned with the expectations and standards of a modern hotel.

There are different types of dated properties out there and you probably have stayed at some in the past. Let’s look at three different types of “dated” properties before jumping into the benefits of staying at one.

Intentionally dated

An intentionally dated property is a delightful haven that skillfully preserves its vintage vibe, offering guests a tasteful, charming, and inviting experience.

Think of a property that exudes nostalgia, where an old-school jukebox in the lobby sets the tone and analog alarm clock bells wake you in the morning. It’s a place that transports you through time but does so with intention and authenticity.

These time-traveling treasures can sometimes come at a premium nightly rate, so your ticket to the past isn’t always so cheap.

Historic elevator doors
Well done intentionally dated Hilton elevator doors at the Plaza Hotel.

Unintentionally dated

An inadvertently dated property is one that sometimes unwittingly finds itself left behind the times in its decor and design, without actively seeking to preserve any retro charm.

When people refer to a hotel as “dated,” they often have this type of establishment in mind.

One common characteristic is the presence of technology from a bygone era. Prepare for encounters with vintage TVs, antiquated phones, a scarcity of outlets, doors devoid of RFID technology, the absence of EV parking, and water fountains reminiscent of yesteryears.

The furnishings in these properties often belong to a past decade, bearing noticeable wear and tear like scuffed surfaces and chipped paint. And brace yourself for a rendezvous with bathroom fixtures that haven’t quite caught up with the time.

Additional telltale signs may include a lackluster pool area, noisy elevators, and gym equipment that harkens back to a less physically enlightened era.

The Omni Corpus Christi, a dated property right on the coast with great views.

Unkept hotels

Another facet of the “dated” label lies in the realm of being “unkept,” but it’s good to distinguish between the two.

Being unkept is mostly a question of how well the management has tended to the property’s maintenance needs.

Unkept properties often grapple with infrastructure issues like plumbing mishaps, Wi-Fi woes, malfunctioning doors, AC troubles, and the like. Stains on ceilings and walls, along with dirty windows are common.

An unkept property might also rely on an outdated website, failing sometimes to provide accurate information about its own existence.

It’s worth noting that a hotel can be dated yet impeccably maintained with well functioning infrastructure and features.

Conversely, a hotel can be modern but woefully unkept. Even spanking new establishments can earn the unkept title if the management fails to promptly address major shortcomings.

However, the ultimate get-me-out-of-here scenario would be staying at a dated and unkept hotel—the epitome of a lodging nightmare.

Thankfully, discerning whether a hotel falls into this category can be done by searching through guest reviews. Keep an eye out for keywords like Wi-Fi, stains, water, plumbing, etc. A substantial number of recent negative comments regarding these is a telling indicator of an unkept property.

Unfortunately, a lot of extended stay properties from the major chains can sometimes fall into this unkept category. Be extra suspect about those.

Now that we’ve explored the various guises a dated hotel can assume, let’s delve into the benefits of staying at one. Primarily, we’ll focus on unintentionally dated hotels—those that didn’t actively aim to channel a vintage vibe.

Tip: Stray away from properties with excessively outdated websites, as this can signify a lack of attention to upkeep.

The benefits of a dated hotel

Low prices

Dated hotels, bless their outdated hearts, often grace us with lower room rates in comparison to their trendier counterparts. It’s no surprise, really. They may lack the sexiness and buzz that entices the masses.

Furthermore, these establishments in need of a makeover might extend a warm welcome with attractive off-peak pricing, special deals, and big savings promotions. With a little sleuthing, you might stumble upon hidden gems, offering serious value steals where you can save $$$.

Lots of available space

If you can brave the vintage vibes of old furniture and creaky floorboards at a dated property, you’ll be rewarded with hotel rooms boasting more real estate than you ever thought possible.

At some properties, you’ll be astounded by the ludicrously spacious accommodations you can snag at very reasonable prices. We’re talking expansive balconies offering sweeping ocean views and enough room to host your own impromptu dance party.

Who really cares if your awe-inspiring vista happens to be from the balcony of a dated property? Beauty knows no era.

It’s often the case that the same jaw-dropping setups in a modern, recently renovated hotel would cost you somewhere close to double the price tag.

So, if you’re a traveler who revels in extra legroom and the freedom to stretch your arms without grazing the walls, a dated hotel can be a great fit.

Prime locations

When it comes to hotels, not every city can be the fresh-faced belle of the ball. In fact, many cities are sporting a broad selection of older properties that could be classified as dated.

This means that it’s often easy to find a dated property in a major city with good central location which also means better odds of you finding a good deal. I’ve seen dated hotels in downtown areas offering eye-popping savings that you could better use on your travel experiences.

Dining can still be solid

Some dated properties are home to established restaurants that are true hidden culinary gems. We stayed at the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach which in my eyes was a pretty dated property.

But yet we enjoyed a fantastic meal at their Bali Oceanfront restaurant, which felt significantly more modern than the room.

To make things even sweeter, prices at hotel restaurants sometimes track the prices of the hotel. This means that you can stumble upon restaurants nestled within dated hotels with reasonable pricing that won’t make your wallet weep.

Hotel restaurant with tables


Some properties have stood the test of time and have seen a lot.

These hotels have storied histories that can make them interesting enough to stay at despite their dated condition. Maybe they have survived catastrophic hurricanes, been around for 100 years, or catered to an active US president.

They may not necessarily be attempting to preserve a “time capsule” of their era, but they nevertheless have a strong historical past you can appreciate.

I recall my stay at the Hilton Fort Worth, the very place where JFK rested his head before his tragic assassination. The property wore its dated attire well, but its historical significance allowed me to look past any immediate needs to modernize.

More recently, we stayed at the Outrigger Kona Resort that’s undergoing renovations to shed its dated appearance. But despite the need for a face lift, it offered an intriguing history involving special appearances by majestic manta rays. That fascinating past added an irresistible allure to my stay allowing me to largely ignore its outdated appearance.

hotel sofa by windows
Dated but historic, the Hilton Fort Worth.

Lower fees

Another area where dated hotels shine is when it comes to fees.

They may offer lower resort fees or minimal pet fees which makes sense because they would not be as protective about their rooms as a new property would.

Great service

This one is hit or miss like you would expect but lots of dated properties understand that their outdated charm may not be their strongest suit. Instead, they compensate by delivering exceptional service that can make your stay truly memorable.

This is particularly true if you’re staying at a dated iconic property like at the Omni in Corpus Christi, Texas. I’ve found that while the decor may be lacking, the spirit of service at these establishments can still be sky-high.

Final word

Dated hotel properties can turn some people off and understandably so. But if you spend some extra time researching, you may find some amazing deals at some of these properties especially if your priorities are savings, extra space, and a bit of history.

Traveling vs Vacationing: What’s The Difference?

Traveling and vacationing sound like just about the same thing at first glance.

But when you really dive deep into these two things, you realize just how different they can be.

In this article, I’ll talk about the big differences between taking a vacation and traveling and why I think that distinction is so important.

Vacations: All about the escape and R&R

Vacations are largely about an escape from the daily grind. Hammocks, white sandy beaches, and poolside cabanas come to mind.

Everybody vacations a little bit differently but lots of times the goal is the same: get recharged and rejuvenated. Work emails on auto-respond, limited communication with your boss, and a mindset fully immersed in leisure are vacation hallmarks.

This often means moving at a slower pace and not necessarily taking on big challenges or activities that require a lot of physical or mental energy. You’re there to soak up the sun and to not climb Mount Everest or run a marathon (not usually, at least).

That’s not to say that you can’t have an adventure on your vacation as plenty of people get out and do really fun things like scuba diving, zip lining, riding ATVs, etc. It’s just that relaxation is usually a top priority.

A common thread of vacations is also spending quality time with family members or friends. This is why sometimes a vacation can be more about the people you are with than the destination.

For couples, vacations offer a chance to enjoy romantic getaways and grow a little bit closer. Couples massages, candlelit dinners, wine tastings, and sunset strolls on the beach are staples of these more intimate trips.

Vacations also tend to involve a bit of overindulgence. You’re allowed to eat, drink, and spend to your heart’s content. In fact, gaining a few extra pounds is almost a rite of passage for a vacationer.

At the end of the day, to me vacations are about temporarily removing stressors from your life and replacing them with relaxation, fun, and memory making. It’s like hitting the pause button on life and ultimately resetting your system before you return to reality.

Travel: All about exploration and growth

Let’s face it: traveling is not the same thing as vacationing.

For sake of this discussion, we can just put aside the transportation aspect of travel. There’s a lot to be said about the love (and hate) people have for planes, trains, and automobiles and how that factors into everything mentioned here.

But when I’m talking about travel here it’s more about about exploring.

Getting introduced to new cultures, meeting new people, and experiencing new things is the name of the wanderlust game.

Unlike vacation where you are temporarily removing stressors from your life, think of travel as adding enrichment to your life for the long-haul.

When traveling, you typically go deeper into a location which means that you’ll probably be met with more challenges and opportunities to grow.

Instead of trying to avoid discomfort like you might on a vacation, you simply embrace it.

And yeah, that means you might get lost or scammed or come down with a case of some mysterious flu. But it also means you’ll have more unique and meaningful experiences, ones that will stay with you long after your sunburn fades.

You’ll learn how to step further out of your comfort zone and see things that only a small percent of the population has seen.

To me, traveling is much more rewarding and edifying than a typical vacation.

Traveling can also be very romantic, though in a different way from your typical “vacation romance.” You won’t be ordering up fancy hotel packages or filling hot tubs with rose petals.

Instead, your most romantic moments will come from the unexpected: stumbling upon a hidden waterfall, watching the northern lights dance above a frozen lake, or waiting for the sunrise from a mountaintop. It feels less staged and more original.

Meeting in the middle

Of course, lots of travel falls somewhere in the middle where you can enjoy a healthy mix of vacationing and traveling.

This would be a trip where you spend a good amount of time relaxing at a resort but also making efforts to get out and explore the locale.

I know all-inclusive resorts may seem like a great deal, but you don’t want to get stuck in a resort bubble. It’s like being in a hamster ball, except with unlimited piña coladas. Not always the best idea.

At the same time, some all-inclusive resorts, especially those on the higher end, may offer some really memorable excursions that can help get you out into the locale.

On Easter Island, we did an excursion at an all-inclusive resort that took us on a hike along the coast and through some ancient lava tubes with stunning views of the ocean. Our guide gave us fascinating insight into the history of the island and the entire experience left us enlightened and energized.

When we finished up, we took advantage of a blissful massage at the resort and that really gave us a good balance of vacationing and traveling.

Here are some tips for putting together an experience that caters to your vacation needs but also gives you more of a true travel experience.

Plan your relaxing vacation time towards the end of the trip

Once you get into the habit of relaxing on vacay, it’s much harder to pull yourself out of that mindset.

Leverage all the excitement and adrenaline you have at the beginning of a trip to fuel you to get out and interact with your destination.

So get out and explore first, then indulge in the resort’s comforts later. You’ll feel like you’ve earned it.

Focus on bang-for-buck cultural experiences

Because you’ll be spending a fair amount of time relaxing at a hotel or resort, you really want your limited time spent in your destination to be optimized.

Look for things like: highly rated food tours, cultural tours, historical tours, cooking lessons, etc.

These can be a lot of fun and get your taste buds tingling and your brain cells dancing.

If you want to venture out to historical landmarks on your own that’s cool too but just try to avoid the “checkbox mentality” so that your primary take-a-way isn’t just a photo album full of selfies in front of landmarks.

Try to time your visit with a special event

Some locations are known for their unique, bucket-list experiences.

Cage diving with the great white in South Africa, manta ray diving on the Big Island, fall color change in the Northeast, the list could go on and on.

If you can plan your trip so that you are able to experience some sort of unique bucket list experience, you’ll feel like your time was very well spent.

It’s one thing to take a stroll along a bubbling creek in Alaska and quite another to encounter a wild salmon run with bears on the prowl. One experience is far more memorable and less likely to make you regret just lounging by the pool (or fireplace) with a book later on.

Plan at least one solid museum outing

Museums are a solid way to take in a new place and learn about its history and culture.

But museums can be like a giant buffet, with an overwhelming amount of exhibits to devour. So don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to cram every museum into your itinerary like it’s some kind of museum marathon.

This can lead to rushing through corridors like a museum maniac and not being able to fully appreciate all of the exhibits. It can also be exhausting and unsatisfying.

Instead, savor each museum like you’re enjoying a fine dining experience. Take your time to appreciate the unique flavor of each exhibit and fully immerse yourself in the culture and history of the place. And who knows, you might even discover a new favorite dish….

Spend some time in the outdoors

Try to plan at least one outing in the outdoors.

Smell the fresh forest aroma, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and enjoy the beauty of the scenery around you.

Whether it’s a hike through a national park, a stroll along a beach, or a visit to a botanical garden, spending time in nature is one of the best ways to appreciate a destination.

Sure, you might get chased by a swarm of bees or run into a bear but it’s all about the memories that last forever — just embrace it!

What’s the best: vacationing or traveling?

Personally, I’m going to prefer traveling over your standard vacation experience.

It’s largely because those experiences fit into the work side of travel blogging much better but also because I just find them more fulfilling. I get bored really fast sitting around a pool or being a beach bum.

But I do think there is a lot of value in taking vacations. Sometimes you just need that detachment from the daily routines in order to get back to the grind stronger. R&R is very necessary.

So I think what is best for you just comes down to timing.

If you feel like you need a break from it all or like your family needs to get on the same page then a vacation might fit the bill for you.

If you feel a yearning for something new and exciting in your life or feel like something is missing, focusing more on a travel experience could be what you need.

In the end, you’ll probably be going for a mix of these two things and in that case consider some of the tips above so that you can take advantage of the benefits of both!

Can You Bring Books on a Plane? TSA’s Rules Explained

Lots of travelers like to bring books with them when they fly.

The question is: will you run into any problems with TSA if you bring books with you in your carry-on or checked bag?

In this article, we will take a look at some of the policies that were tested out (and luckily abandoned) and what the current TSA policy for bringing books on a plane looks like today.

Can you bring books on a plane?

Yes, you can bring books through TSA in your carry-on or in your checked bags.

When traveling with stacks of books or other literature, it might be better to bring books in your carry-on so that you can avoid having your literature damaged or bag delayed when it goes through checked baggage security inspections.

However, be prepared to potentially deal with enhanced screening when bringing books in your carry-on bag as we will explain below!

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What does TSA say about traveling with books?

TSA began a pilot program in 2017 that required passengers to remove books and other paper products along with other items like food and place them in individual security bins for screening.

This caused a lot of uproar among those travelers who carry around lots of books, such as academics, students, and others. In addition to just being a burden to getting through security, this program introduced privacy concerns.

For example, people were worried that if they had a book in a particular language, such as Arabic, they could be deemed more likely to be a terroristic threat.

And then there were concerns that if people had books representing a particular type of political view, they would could be subjected to unjustified targeting.

Perhaps due in part to these concerns (and for other reasons), the program didn’t last long and it was eventually abandoned with no plan to “restore the pilot or to expand it.”

This means that you should not always be required to remove books from your carry-on baggage.

However, you could still be forced to deal with additional screening when bringing books in your carry-on.

TSA states:

“Books often require additional screening. The TSA officer may ask you to remove them from your carrying case to conduct a physical inspection.”

This physical inspection could mean having to take your books out your bag and allowing a TSA agent to flip through them.

Sometimes it could also involve getting swabbed depending on the circumstances.

That means agents will be looking for traces of explosives on your books. This swab testing usually only takes a few minutes (unless they detect something on your books).

Because of the risk pf physical inspection, having easy access to your books will generally be helpful, so keep that in mind when packing your bag.

Also, carrying around huge stacks of books (or ultra large books) may increase the odds of you getting additional screening so keep that in mind.

Carry on or checked bags?

For some people, it might be better to put books in your carry-on baggage. This is particularly true if you have delicate literature. For example, you could have a lot of precious comics or old books that could easily be damages.

In the past, there was confusion about whether or not TSA was requiring books, such as comic books to go into your checked bag or carry-on bag. This was based on a prior TSA blog post. As documented by the NYT, this post stated:

 “Pack items such as stacks of brochures and assorted comic books in your carry-on bag… Packing these items in checked bags often causes alarms leading to bag searches which can cause a significant slowdown in the screening process leading to delays and bags possibly missing their flights.”

This led airlines like United to erroneously claim that comic books had to transported in carry on bags but they later clarified, “While T.S.A. is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage. We misunderstood T.S.A.’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

So while you are NOT required to place books, comic books, or stacks of pamphlets in your carry-on, it might be best to avoid placing them in checked baggage.

Not only can it slow down the screening process but agents rummaging through your bag could cause damage to your more “delicate” literature.

Why does TSA care about books?

TSA cares about books for potentially a few reasons.

They want to make sure that people are not hiding dangerous objects inside of books.

One thing that TSA is looking out for with books is hidden compartments. Books with hidden compartments aren’t banned by TSA but it could be a problem if TSA finds a prohibited items inside them. For example, if you were trying to transport a firearm hidden inside a book you could be subjected to higher fines.

Some say that a book could resemble an explosive such as C4 when viewed through a scanner machine. (This is similar to why fudge is sometimes flagged.)

In other situations, it could just be that the books block the view of the agents trying to monitor the scanners. Essentially, books just make it harder for the agents to view all of the contents in your luggage.

As TSA introduces more advanced screening machines you would hope that books won’t present the security issues that they have in the past.

Does TSA care about what you’re reading?

Some travelers might worry that TSA agents are concerned about the content of their books.

For example, they might determine that you’re reading something too “edgy” or “controversial” and therefore require you to go through more screening.

Perhaps you were doing research on “extremist” groups or Mexican cartels for school and that makes you look suspicious.

I personally haven’t seen any evidence of this.

In the past, TSA was instructed to “fan through” the pages of your book and so they were not necessarily instructed to pay attention to the content, although just a book title could be a give-a-way to the book’s content or message.

It’s not unfathomable that an agent could take a book title into consideration when making judgment calls about the “danger level” of your other items or your need for more screening.

I think that this could also potentially be a concern if you were caught with something that led to a secondary investigation.

For example, if you got caught traveling with lots of unexplained cash and you had a book potentially related to criminal activity that could be associated with that cash. In that case, that could be used as evidence against you.

Final word

It’s very possible to bring your favorite books with you when you travel. In some cases, you might have to deal with enhanced screening so you should be ready for that. Typically, that screening should not take very long, so it’s usually not a very big deal.

Can You Make A Phone Call From A Plane? [2023]

Did you know that it is possible to make a phone call from 30,000+ feet up in the sky? I know this is the case because I recently attended a conference call while on a plane.

Placing a phone call from the plane can be tricky though because you have certain legal obstacles to avoid and also airline policies to consider.

In this article, I’ll break down how exactly it works and I’ll give you some helpful tips on how to make a phone call on your next plane ride.

Can you make a phone call from a plane?

Yes, it is possible to make a phone call from a plane via Wi-Fi but you need to consider that some airlines prohibit voice calls and such calls can be annoying to other passengers. If you’d like to make a phone call from a plane, keep reading below to find out how.

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Is it okay to make a call on a plane?

Just because you can technically make a phone call from a plane does not mean that you should. Here are a few things to consider.

The law

According to 47 CFR § 22.925, the FCC does not allow you to operate a cell phone while airborne.

Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne (not touching the ground). When any aircraft leaves the ground, all cellular telephones on board that aircraft must be turned off.

This makes it sound like your cell phone would have to be completely powered off but further guidance from the FAA makes it clear that when in the air, “airplane mode” is an acceptable option for your personal electronic device (PED) aka cell phone.

While airborne, operators should instruct passengers to turn off cellular telephones, disable a PED’s cellular transmitting functions, or place PEDs in airplane mode that have cellular or mobile telephony capabilities

So it’s super important to remember: by law you can’t use your phone to make a phone call via cellular data when flying on a plane because your cell phone can only remain in airplane mode (which disables cellular data).

Why exactly do you have to put your phone in airplane mode?

This is required for two reasons.

  • Signals from your cell phone could interfere with flight communication equipment (there is very mixed opinions on this)
  • The cell signals from hundreds of passengers could disrupt service on cell phone towers down on the ground

Having your phone in airplane mode means you can’t use cellular data but you CAN still utilize Wi-Fi.

As explained below, Wi-Fi is all that you may need to make a phone call from a plane but there are still some additional considerations to think about before doing so.

Using phone on airplane

Airline policies

In the US it’s likely that the airline you’re flying on has a policy that prohibits you from making a voice phone call.

For example, back in 2013 Delta made it clear that they do not want passengers making phone calls. United Airlines and American Airlines are also on record stating they don’t allow voice calls, along with JetBlue.

But note: some airlines like JSX may allow you to make these calls in the future.

One of the biggest reasons why you typically would not want to make a phone call is because it could annoy other passengers.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who don’t realize how loud they are on the phone or simply don’t care how loud they are.

There is nothing worse than being stuck by someone who is just going on and on during a phone call with no regard for the annoyance he or she is causing other passengers.

If you are able to talk quietly or whisper, this might not be an issue but it is not an easy task for a lot of people.

And once again, if the airline outlaws phone calls it doesn’t matter how quiet your phone voice is, you’d be violating their policy by talking on the phone.

Airplane passenger talking on phone

The future of phone calls

The FCC has thought about allowing passengers to make phone calls above 10,000 feet in the past but that hasn’t gained traction.

Considering how instances of unruly passengers have increased dramatically since the outbreak of coronavirus, I doubt airlines are going to be more open to introducing things that could lead to even more confrontations and Royal Rumbles.

So while the FCC has had discussions about whether or not to allow passengers to make calls on planes, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

Conference calls

If you simply need to attend a conference via a wifi phone call that may not be an issue for an airline.

That’s because airlines are primarily concerned about passengers getting annoyed by you talking on the phone. But if you were simply listening in on a phone call, you’re not presenting any disturbances to other passengers.

If you have enabled text messaging you can always sit in on a call and simply text someone at the meeting in order to silently communicate from the cabin which is something that I have also done before.

Sure, it’s not the most ideal way to participate in a meeting but at least you will be able to be a part of the meeting (yipee, I know).

Related: Can You Text On A Plane? (Wifi vs Cell Phone Data)

Many major airlines don’t allow voice phone calls when in the air.

How to make a phone call from a plane

The first thing you need to do is connect to the planes Wi-Fi.

Some airlines allow you to connect to the Wi-Fi in order to send out text messages and other types of messages for free but if you plan on making a phone call, you probably will have to pay for the Wi-Fi session.

After you are connected to the Wi-Fi, you need to activate Wi-Fi calling on your phone if you haven’t already. This can be done from your settings on your phone in just a couple of seconds.

On an iPhone, go to Settings -> Cellular -> Wi-Fi Calling. Next toggle the button for “Wi-Fi calling on this iPhone.”

There are additional settings for things like roaming but you do not need to toggle these on in order to make a phone call from the aircraft.

Depending on your service provider and mobile device you may have to deal with a couple of pop-up screens to turn Wi-Fi calling on.

But once you do that, your phone should be capable of making a phone call from the plane.

Nowadays you don’t have to do anything extra to add Wi-Fi calling to your cell phone services — it is probably already there.

When you make a call over Wi-Fi with your cell phone company, you should be billed the same way but you may want to check with your phone company first.

You can also potentially make phone calls from apps such as WhatsApp that allow you to send calls over Wi-Fi. And of course there are other options like FaceTime.

Note: Some airlines may not have quality Wi-Fi which means that you will be able to connect to the Wi-Fi and maybe complete a call but you will struggle to have a quality, non-disrupted conversation.

wifi icon on plane

Air-to-ground telephones

There’s also something called “air to ground” telephones.

You may have heard of Airfone or Air One which were more common to find on planes in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Each block of three economy seats would have one phone while first class seats would have an individual phone per seat back.

These services allowed passengers to make calls from the plane when at cruising altitude at expensive rates such as $4.99 per minute. In fact, during the 9/11 attacks this is how a lot of the phone calls were made, including on United Airlines Flight 93.

The services eventually proved to have limited popularity with only a couple of passengers per flight using it.

In 2002, Air One was discontinued and after a series of auctions and acquisitions Airfone essentially no longer existed as of 2013.

Today, you will likely be hard-pressed to find an aircraft with an air to ground telephone available to passengers. So your best bet for completing a phone call will probably be via Wi-Fi.

Final word

While you cannot use cellular data to make a phone call while in a plane, it’s often possible to make a phone call from an airplane via Wi-Fi. But you need to be aware that some airlines prohibit these calls and a lot of passengers can find it extremely annoying when someone is chatting on the phone.

Tricks for Converting KM to Miles When Traveling

One thing that can drive you a little bit crazy when traveling internationally is trying to constantly convert measurements.

This is especially true if you are from the US and need to constantly convert kilometers to miles.

Knowing a few quick tricks to convert kilometers to miles can make your life a lot easier so keep reading below if you’d like to find out a few tricks to use when traveling.

Metric or imperial system?

When you’re going back-and-forth between kilometers and miles you are going between the metric and imperial system.

The metric system is what most of the world uses and it includes kilometers as a form of measurement for distance. Meanwhile, only a very small number of countries like the US use the imperial system which relies on miles as a unit for distance.

Occasionally, you will encounter a country that utilizes a mixture of both. Or, in some instances you might find that both miles and kilometers are posted near airports where lots of international travelers may be.

If you’re coming from the US, don’t count on other countries to cater to the imperial system, though. You’ll be much better off being proactive about converting kilometers to miles on your own.

Related: How Many Ounces Is 100ML? A Special Guide for TSA-Weary Travelers

1 km to miles

For your reference, one 1 kilometer = 0.62 miles.

Ways to convert kilometers to miles

I should acknowledge from the beginning that using an app would be the preferred way to convert from kilometers to miles and vice versa. There are many different FREE apps that can accomplish this for you.

The problem is sometimes you don’t have service or you just need to quickly do the conversion in your head. So as a traveler, it really helps to have a grasp on the way to estimate miles whenever you hear or see a number in kilometers.

Divide in half and add 10% of the kilometers number

This is my number one method for converting kilometers to miles.

For the first step, you simply divide the kilometers in half. The second step requires you to take 10% of the kilometers number and then add that on top.

So for example, if you see that the distance is 60 km you simply divided it in half and get 30 km. Then you take 10% of 60 km which is six and add that on top of 30. This means that your conversion comes out to 60 km = 36 miles.

In reality, 60 km equals 37.3 miles but if you’re just trying to get a close approximation, you pretty much nailed it.

If using 10% throws you off then you can simply add the first digit and get the same outcome when dealing with two digit numbers.

For example, going back to the example of 60 km.

Instead of trying to figure out 10% of 60, you would simply divide 60 in half and then add the first digit of 60 which is six. You would then come out with 36 miles, so it’s really just a preference of what what puts the least amount of strain on your brain.

Below are some measurements that this method can provide you with and the comparison to the real measurements so that you can see just how close this method will get you. As you can tell, it’s pretty accurate for the smaller amounts.

So let’s say that you were planning a 10 km hike. This method could get you a very close approximation of how far you will be trekking with a margin of error of only about .2 miles. Also, if for some reason you needed to know the speed limit in miles per hour you could convert 100 kmh to 60 mph and be pretty close.

KilometersActual MilesEstimated

Divide by 1.609

If you are really good at doing division in your head or you have quick access to a calculator then you can also just divide the number of kilometers by 1.609.

As you can tell from the examples below, this is a very accurate way to get a conversion, as the estimates are just slightly off in most cases. For maximum precision, this is the way to go.

(An alternative to this is to multiply the number of kilometers by .62).

KilometersActual MilesEstimated

The clock trick

I came across this on Reddit, and it’s pretty nifty. You reference a clock to help you convert miles and kms.

  • Kms = Percent of clock
  • Miles = Minutes on a clock

For example, a quarter (25%) of an hour is 15 minutes. So 25 kms = 15 miles. You can extend this to:

  • 50 km = 30 mi
  • 75 km = 45 mi
  • 100 km = 60 mi

Print out a chart

Another thing you can do is to print out a conversion chart when traveling. This could be a tiny chart that you print out and stick in your wallet, purse, or even passport. The chart could look just like what are shown above except it would only show the actual conversions like the chart below.

KilometersActual Miles

It’s really helpful to bring these things along when going on things like a guided tours where your tour guide might be referencing kilometers over and over again.

As you begin to verify the distances in miles, eventually the figures will probably start to stick with you and it will become second nature.

When I first moved to the UK back in 2014, I had a small conversion chart that was inside of my notebook. It also included a conversion of pounds to dollars.

I would regularly reference it until I got a good feel for kilometers and currency and it honestly did not take very long to catch onto the systems.

Converting miles to kilometers

Now let’s say you’re in a situation where you need to convert miles to kilometers.

As a traveler from the US going abroad, the situation does not come about very often but it could definitely happen. For example, if you are familiar with a distance and you need to convey that to foreigners, it will be helpful if you can come up with a quick conversion.

You can do this in a very similar way as the conversions above except backwards.

Basically you take a number in miles and then you add 50% and then add 10% and that will get you a very close approximate number for kilometers.

Let’s say that you need to convert 10 miles to kilometers. 50% of 10 is five and 10% of 10 is one. So you would take the original number of 10 and then add five, and then add one (10+5+1=16).

10 miles equals 16.1 kilometers so that’s a very close estimation.

You can also just multiply miles by 1.6 for a close estimate.

Final word

Converting between kilometers and miles is actually pretty easy and there are many ways to do it. I’d suggest finding the one that makes the most sense to you and then sticking with it.

For me, I like to divide kilometers by two and then add 10% to get to miles and simply multiply miles by 1.6 to get kilometers. But it all comes down to what works best for you!

Hotel Corner Rooms: The Pros and Cons

Have you ever stayed in a hotel corner room?

Perhaps you are planning on booking one on your next hotel stay.

Before you confirm the reservation, you might want to think through some of the pros and cons of corner rooms to see if they will be a good fit for you.

Below, I will hit on both the good and the bad when it comes to corner rooms, so that you will have a good idea of what to expect.

Upgrades make them easy to get

Corner rooms are a common hotel upgrade from a standard or basic room.

Whether you are using a suite night award or just getting a bump from the hotel for your elite status, you often will find yourself in a corner room.

The value of getting a corner room is a very property specific calculation, though.

I’ve seen corner rooms that are just a tad more expensive than a basic room and other properties where the corner room jumps up by over $100+ per night.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Views can be exceptional

As you would probably expect the views from a hotel corner room can be some of the best the hotel has to offer.

For people who like to take in sunsets and sunrises from the room, these rooms — often equipped with floor to ceiling windows — can be ideal.

However, make sure that you check out some photos because sometimes the corner room does not offer typical “corner views” like you would expect. It’s basically just a room in the corner….

If you can capture those good views, though, a corner room becomes an easy way to upgrade your experience without having to shell out for an expensive suite — you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

hotel corner room

Extra space

In addition to the great views, many hotel corner rooms come with lots of extra space. In fact, sometimes they are just considered junior suites because of the extra real estate.

But you can’t always rate a corner room based on the square feet.

That’s because sometimes they have awkward layouts where the entryway to the room eats up a significant portion of the room.

This was the case when we had a corner room at the Hotel Laura which had more square feet than the basic room we also had but actually felt smaller.

Sometimes it almost feels like the architect had to make last-minute adjustments to make the corner room work for the hotel’s layout. The result is a room with an odd layout that feels like an afterthought.

A pretty confining corner room.

These rooms can get hot

One of the biggest drawbacks of a corner room could be the temperature.

Even when you have the curtains closed, the sun can absolutely bake a corner room due to all of the floor to ceiling windows.

Unlike a larger suite where you may be able to hang out in a cooler room or adjust the temperature, with a corner room you are confined to that area.

This is why I am reluctant to book a corner room with big windows in hot areas or during the summer. It’s like sleeping in an oven. If the AC is weak at that hotel, you may be battling some serious discomfort.

W Santiago

The “fishbowl feel”

With the large floor to ceiling windows that often accompany these rooms, a corner room sometimes gives you a real “fiishbowl feel.” Many people may not like it.

If you want to enjoy the views and keep your curtains or drapes open, you may feel very exposed to the world. So some people might prefer a standard room layout where the views are more limited but the privacy is higher.

Of course, you can typically tailor your privacy levels by utilizing the shades but that can defeat the purpose of getting the corner room in the first place.

A long walk to your room

By nature of their location, corner rooms often are located at the end of the hallway. This means that you may have one of the longest walks to and from the elevator.

This can be really annoying for people who constantly need to go back to their room.

At the same time, this means that you will probably have less traffic near your hotel room. In locations where there are a lot of partiers, this can mean a quieter hotel experience.

In fact, sometimes a corner room has its own little mini hallway that connects to the main hallway (perhaps connected to other rooms) which means you are further away from the noise and riff-raff near the elevator.

InterContinental Tokyo Bay, Japan.

Final word

Personally, I love corner rooms.

They offer a relatively affordable way for great views and we constantly get put in them due to upgrades.

However, I have had experiences with ultra warm corner rooms that offer limited privacy with the shades open so I could see how some people would rather avoid these rooms.

How Long Does It Take To Leave the Airport After Landing From an International Flight?

Are you arriving from an international flight and trying to figure out how long it will take you to get through the airport?

Perhaps you are scheduling a pick up with someone and you want to make sure that they arrive close to your scheduled “airport exit time.”

Well, there are a lot of different variables that go into play when trying to predict how long it will take you to exit the airport after an international flight. But by breaking things down a little bit, you can often arrive at a pretty close estimate and we will show you how to do that in this article.

How long does it take to leave the airport after landing from an international flight?

You can generally expect to exit the airport after an international flight anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour after the scheduled arrival time assuming that your flight departed on time.

However, the exact amount of time that it takes can vary dramatically based on a lot of different factors so keep reading below to find out how to more accurately predict this time!

Your journey through the airport after an international flight

Let’s walk through what your journey will be like after an international flight to see how long it will take you to get through the airport.

Arrival time

If a flight departs on time or at some time near the departure time, there is a high chance that the flight is going to arrive earlier than the scheduled arrival time.

In my experience, this is even more so the case with long-haul international flights where predicting the exact arrival time is a little bit more difficult because of the longer distance.

Here are some examples of flights between LAX and Sydney Australia (SYD) taken from Flight Radar to give you an idea of just how early these flights can arrive.

These are the actual arrival times for a Delta flight with a scheduled arrival time of 6 AM:

  • 5:24 AM
  • 5:18 AM
  • 5:25 AM
  • 5:20 AM
  • 5:41 AM
  • 5:38 AM

Something interesting about these flights is that they all did not depart until about 15 to 30 minutes AFTER the scheduled departure time. So a long international flight could depart a good 20+ minutes late and still arrive over 30 minutes early from the scheduled arrival time.

I would encourage you to check out the specific flight you are concerned about and look through the past couple of weeks of arrival times. This will help you get a very accurate sense of when the flight will be arriving.

Delay getting to the jet bridge

Arriving at an airport extra early is great but sometimes getting there too early can be a problem. This is because there may not be an open gate for the aircraft to deplane at.

I’ve been on international flights where we arrive super early and are essentially forced to just wait 20+ minutes on the tarmac until the gate opens up. So unfortunately, sometimes even though your flight is early, you’re not going to be able to get a jumpstart on exiting the airport.


How passengers deplane will depend on the aircraft and also on the airport.

Some aircraft may have multiple jetbridges while others may only have one exit point. For those that only have one exit point, typically first class/business class get priority exit and then economy will follow.

Being one of the first off the plane also means getting a jump in line for immigration and customs.

Airport size and layout

If you are arriving at a large airport you may have to take a shuttle bus or tram to travel between terminals.

In my experience, trams are pretty reliable at airports but the shuttle bus systems can be a cluster you-know-what.

Sometimes it may take you 15 to 20 minutes to get from your arrival gate area to the immigration and customs lines. Other times, you’ll be there within five minutes.

Immigration & Customs

Unless you were able to do some type of pre-clearance through customs in a foreign country, you will have to go through customs and immigration whenever you arrive in the US.

First, you go through immigration which is where you will show your passport and explain the reason for your international visit.

If you want to get an idea of the waiting times for your specific airport, you can look up those wait times here.

The wait times will be different based on if you are a US resident or non-resident (it typically takes a non-resident longer to get through).

You can also see what the wait times are at different times in the day — certain hours tend to be MUCH busier than others.

If you are trying to play things conservatively, you could take a look at the maximum wait time which should give you an indication of what the worst case scenario would likely be.

Remember that if you have Global Entry you’ll be able to breeze through immigration, sometimes in only a matter of a couple of minutes. Another way to get through immigration quickly is to enroll in Mobile Passport.

International checked baggage

Another time hurdle you have for getting out of the airport is getting your checked baggage (assuming that you checked a bag).

By the time that you get through immigration, your checked bag may already be on the carousel because bags can start hitting the conveyor belt in as little as 15 minutes.

Usually, passengers with premium tickets such as first class or business class get their bags handled with priority so they should be the first ones out although that does not always happen.

Just keep in mind that the widebody jets that fly international routes are often some of the bigger planes with lots of passengers and bags. That means that it could take longer for the plane to be unloaded and for all of the bags to be transported.

Having to wait close to 45 minutes for your bags to arrive on the carousel is unfortunately a possibility for some unlucky passengers.

As a rule of thumb, you could probably expect your bags to arrive within 20 to 30 minutes of the plane arriving at the gate but arrival time for checked bags can sometimes be hard to predict.


Airports handle immigration and customs differently with some combining the two and others utilizing a separate process for each.

So just be prepared to potentially go through two separate areas, one for immigration and one for customs.

I’ve had the unfortunate experience of dealing with some extraordinarily long customs lines when trying to exit with my baggage so be prepared to add extra time if you get caught in a scenario like that. (Global Entry can help you avoid these long lines, too.)

At some point you will likely have to indicate if you have something to declare or not. For example, you may have to walk through a special line for people declaring items and speak with an agent.

If you have to declare anything or need to have certain items inspected such as plants or animals, remember that you may have to spend a lot more time in customs. This could easily add an extra 10 to 15 minutes but if there is a hiccup it could take even longer.

Also, there is the possibility that you could be subjected to some type of screening, even on a random basis, so that could easily add to your wait time.

So what time should you arrive to pick someone up from the airport on an international flight?

In the end, it’s really difficult to give specific guidance on when you should arrive at the airport to pick someone up from an international flight because there are so many variables at play and some of these will always be unpredictable.

To recap, these variables are:

  • Arrival time (which is often early)
  • Tarmac delays
  • Deplaning time
  • Airport size/layout
  • Immigration
  • Baggage Claim (which can vary widely)
  • Customs

Generally, for an international flight that departed on time I would estimate that it would take about 30 minutes to one hour from the scheduled arrival time for someone to get through all of these but there will always be outlier cases.

I remember times when I would arrive back at Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) from an international flight and with no checked bags + Global Entry + seat up front, I would probably exit the airport within 15 minutes of the plane’s door opening at the gate.

However, there are also times when you might arrive at a larger and busier airport where it could easily take you an hour to an hour and a half to get through with late-arriving checked bags.

If you are trying to get as specific as possible then consider all of the different variables and factor in:

  • Average early arrival time from last few weeks of prior flights (using Flight Radar)
  • Average customs wait times for that specific airport/Global Entry status
  • Whether or not the passenger has checked bags

By getting these details and tracking the flight status of the person’s flight on the day of arrival, you could very closely estimate the exact time they would be walking through those exit doors.

When you show up to the airport to pick up somebody I would suggest you checking out the cell phone parking lot as that is a great place to park for free while you wait for your passenger to arrive.

Or, if you are having someone picking you up always be sure to text them as soon as you arrive.

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