In case you weren’t aware – there’s a whole lot that the travel community is trying hard to keep on the DL. We’re talking about travel agents, cruise ships, hotels, and any other travel and accommodation situation you may encounter while you’re out on your escapes.
For instance, did you know that not all cruise ships are “all-inclusive”? Well, if you didn’t, now you know. Thank goodness then for two things – the internet, and the travel channel. Now that we have access to all sorts of information right at our fingertips, anyone can research if a particular cruise liner is as fancy as the ad suggests it is, or if a certain hotel is a perfect place for you to spend your much-deserved vacation. But sometimes though, these secrets are so well hidden from everyone, that it takes a whole lot of searching and digging to really find them.
If you’re planning to be traveling soon, this is one article you definitely want to read. Scroll below as we take you through the 25 little-known things that were revealed by the travel channel. If this is the first time you’ll be discovering any of the below information – you’re welcome.
Of course, you’re well aware of the fact that you won’t be alone on that cruise ship getaway you’ve planned. But, what we’re talking about here, is the fact that you’re more than likely to encounter crowds and crowds of people. Some cruise ships are often so packed, that the luxury swimming pool you’ve been looking forward to enjoying is going to be hard to get into because of the many people around.
So what’s your best option? There are a number of things you can do, but, perhaps the most important thing is to make sure that you avoid theme cruises. These are the ones that are known to be packed with a whole lot of people from all walks of life and will make it difficult to enjoy that peaceful tranquility you’ve been dreaming about.
So, the fact that we have access to all sorts of information allows us to browse the internet with ease and look for the best deals out there. You may even be prone to approaching a travel agent in order to score yourself some sweet deals for your trip. Although there’s certainly nothing wrong with trying to save a buck (hey, we get it. Sometimes the budget gets a little tight) if you can stretch your accommodation budget just a little bit, be sure to book your room directly with the hotel. This allows you to get the better room views, and to also avoid being “walked” if there’s an overbooking.
Number 22 is an extremely important point on our list that is geared at all the parents out there. While many hotels may advertise that they are “family friendly”, this doesn’t necessarily suggest that they screen each and every hotel guest who happens to book with them. The term "family friendly" usually refers to hotel amenities such as – having both adult and child swimming pools, having other children-related activities at the hotel, or even perhaps having a kids menu, etc. This is why it’s important to always be cautious and never leave your children to wander around on their own.
Okay, so this is a little difficult for us to reveal to you but hey, you came to The Travel to know what’s really going on out there, right? So, we all love the hotel concierge. They help us a whole lot in getting some great deals out there. But here’s one “fun” fact you may not have been aware of – they don’t always recommend the best deals. Why? Because many times, they get an incentive for consistently recommending guests to a certain place.
If the concierge ever utters the words: “mention to them that I sent you”, you know that they are getting an incentive. So what do you do? Do your research. Perhaps that recommended activity or place IS really at a great price, perhaps it’s not. Just call around a bit and make sure that you truly are getting the best deal.
This is, perhaps, the biggest downer with regards to cruise ships. Most people assume that cruise ships are an all-inclusive package where all your transportation, accommodation, meals, drinks, and any other entertainment will be taken care of while you’re at sea. These are the same people who have a "surprise" then when they are stuck on a boat and just realize that all the package includes is accommodation. The worst part is that the food and drinks on the deck are often ridiculously priced. The Travel Channel highlights that “nothing can jolt a vacationer back into reality like a giant bar tab at the end of the cruise.”
We’re all about being friendly to everyone you meet along your escapades because, hey, that’s what we should always strive for as human beings, regardless of whether or not you’re likely to receive anything in return. But with hotel bellhops, in particular, you’ll be glad to find out that being nice to them, may help you a whole lot so don’t just think they are there to help you with your luggage or vehicle. Ranker highlights that “don’t disregard the bell-hop. He or she can hook you up with free water bottles, free valet parking, free tours, free dry cleaning, or even an upgrade to a better room. All you have to do is ask.”
Have you ever arrived at your hotel room and instantly didn’t like it when you walked in? Maybe it wasn’t as clean as you expected it to be, or perhaps you were a little disappointed that you aren’t going to be getting that ideal view you were hoping for. If this happens to you, then say something. Before unpacking all your luggage and spending your vacation in a room you really don’t like, just head to the hotel reception and request to have a different room. Explain what the issue is with your particular room, and of course, hotel staff will try their hardest to ensure that they make you happy.
Hotel room minibars are loved by almost everyone. They are particularly ideal because, after a long day of sightseeing, you don’t have to worry about where you can get yourself some delicious treats to enjoy. All you have to do is reach for your minibar to calm down some of those late night cravings.
The problem is though, that sometimes, these snacks have already been opened. Or worse, they are expired! You’d be surprised to find out how many guests have actually “enjoyed” some expired snacks from their hotel minibar. This is why it’s always important to check the packets – check that they still have their seals and by all means, check that they are not expired.
Sorry to reveal this unsettling news, especially to all our germophobe readers out there but we just felt that this bit of information needs to definitely be communicated to you. Hotel duvets are often dirty because they are rarely ever washed! That’s right, hotel sheets are what most hotels are likely to keep clean, as opposed to the duvets.
So what can you do about this unsettling information? Easy – as soon as you arrive in your hotel room, remove the duvet from your bed and put it away so that you don’t forget and then use it later. Trust us on this one, you’ll be glad you did this.
We’re starting our list off with something not so great to deal with – crime. While most cruise ships do tend to generally be as peaceful as the brochures and ads suggest, not all of it is all sunshine and roses though.
The Travel Channel revealed that petty crime, unfortunately, occurs on cruise ships more often than we hear about in the news. It highlighted as well that it’s important to “have a good time, but don’t leave caution to the wind.” This revelation, of course, broke many cruise ship enthusiasts' hearts out there, but aren’t you glad that now you know and can take extra precautionary measures to protect your belongings?
This is a tough reality and we’re sorry about it but we have to keep it real with you, right? So, that peaceful and tranquil getaway on a cruise ship that you may have been planning for a while may not be so peaceful and tranquil after all. That’s right. Your cabin may be much noisier than you expected. Why? Well, it’s a simple case of numbers. Most cruise ships have to cram thousands of people on board and, well, have a little food and alcohol in the mix and you’re likely to get rowdiness. The best option you have is to check the deck plan before booking.
If you’re regular The Travel reader, you may have come across an article or two of us exposing how dirty hotel rooms turn to be. Don’t get us wrong, hotel staff will clean the room but generally, they don’t do a proper head to toe clean up to ensure that they get rid of all the germs of the previous guest before you. This is, perhaps, why The Marriot has adopted a 30 minute clean up of each room and have made it into a kind of science. The cleaners follow strict cleaning routines that include precise ways to wipe a lamp, how to clean and make the bed, as well as making sure that the room has a neutral smell for the next guest. This amounts to a total of 66 steps in their internal cleaning manual.
Earlier on our list, we mentioned how you can get some incredible deals from the bellhop by just being nice to him or her. Well, now we want to reiterate the statement and stretch it just a bit further – you can actually get a ton of free stuff from most hotel staff. From the bellhop to the concierge, to the receptionists…They are all hooked up. They aren’t really obliged to transfer you to a better room with a view or get you a nice deal on your laundry bill, but if you’re nice to them, they can help you out in these departments. Next time you see a fellow hotel guest member being totally mean or rude to the hotel staff, smile and shake your head as you realize that they don’t know what they’ll be missing out on.
Wherever you may be – at a hotel, an Airbnb, a luxury villa, or any other place where there’s a television set in the room, do yourself a favor and don’t touch that remote. Why? Well, because they hardly ever get cleaned. And even worse – when they do get cleaned, it’s never really a proper clean, more like a “wipe down”. This means that remotes are some of the most germ-infested items you’ll ever come across while on vacation. If you HAVE to check out some TV, then make sure that you first use wet wipes (preferably the sanitizing kind) on the remote to ensure that you don’t catch any unwanted germs.
Have you ever slipped out of your work desk and then found a quiet spot where you can catch up on some much-needed sleep? This can be in an isolated office that no one ever enters, sometimes even in the bathroom, or perhaps even in your car. No matter the location, you’re tired and you know that a 20-minute power nap is all that you need at that particular point in time. Well, this also happens to hotel cleaning staff. They are often overworked and then they enter your room and hey, there’s that comfy bed, just lying in the center, enticing them to grab a quick nap.
Balconies are part of what die-hard cruisers swear by. They look forward to them and the cruise liners know this, which is why they will almost always charge a fortune just for that extra feature. There are definitely benefits attached to having a cabin with a balcony – there is extra space for you as opposed to the often tight confines of other cabins, you can enjoy some magnificent views while enjoying your meals there, or you can just get a break from some of those noisy fellow cruisers you’re on board with. But the thing they won’t tell you is that a lot of balconies are obstructed by girders, they are directly over lifeboats, or even open to the deck above. When you know this, you’ll start to reconsider how much you really want one.
Now, we know that you might be working on a budget, however, when you read this point on our list, you may consider stretching on your accommodation just a little bit. From an article on the Travel Channel, a hotel cleaning staff employee confessed that when she worked at a budget hotel, they hardly ever changed the sheets between guests, however, they always change the sheets at the luxury hotel she is currently working.
Okay, this may be a bit of a hard pill swallow because, you know – Who wants to sleep in unchanged sheets from a person you don’t even know? But it’s the reality of some hotels out there so now that you know, be sure to allow a little bit more budget for your accommodation to ensure that you at least sleep in clean sheets.
When people are on their vacations, they like to relax and unwind. And unfortunately, sometimes that may mean getting naked and then sitting on the chair or the desk in the hotel room. The more luxurious the hotel room, we’re willing to bet that more hotel guests get comfy. While it’s important to enjoy your room because hey, you’ve paid for it, keep that in mind every time you exit the bathroom. What you want to do is always have your towel on you and use it as a barrier. You definitely don’t want to be picking up whatever may be on those objects.
Number 7 is an interesting addition to our list. This is because, in all honesty – Who likes their stuff being touched by someone they don’t know? Anyone? Yeah, we didn’t think so. While it’s not ideal that the hotel staff touch any of your belongings, trust and believe that if it’s cleaning time and you have left things lying everywhere, they will have to move the stuff in order to do their job. This makes perfect sense, however, if you are traveling with sensitive stuff, then you may want to just hang up the “Do not disturb” sign so that no one enters your room and touches your valuables.
After a long day of sightseeing, most people want to just relax and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. This may even include a bubble bath in that large and comfy tub. You may pop a bottle and maybe even switch on some music – to really get the mood right. Do you know what’s the best way to ruin this mood? Looking under that bathroom tub.
Okay, hear us out a bit. Although we do encourage you to check for bed bugs when you arrive and check that your room is overall clean, under bathtub is just one area that 9 times out of 10, cleaners miss so, it’s really up to you if you’ll be able to continue using your beloved tub after realizing what lurks underneath it.
This is, perhaps, one of the saddest points on our list for those die-hard cruisers out there. Besides enjoying yourself at sea, a part of going on a cruise ship is the anticipated fun that will be had when you dock on certain ports along the way. As a traveler, you’ll do your research and look forward to the food, culture, music, or any other memorabilia that can be captured along the way. But unfortunately, you may not always have the opportunity to. This is because many times, strong winds or bad weather can force the cruise ship captain to change the course of the ship in order to avoid any danger.
This is one of the best-kept secrets by hotels but it’s true – hotels will always overbook themselves. Why? Huffington Post explains that “hotels choose to overbook for the same reasons as the airlines. They know that any given night there will almost always be a certain percentage of reservations that don’t show up.” This, of course, then becomes a pain when guests actually DO all end up arriving at the hotel.
If you’re in a situation where you get “walked” by the hotel, the hotel will provide you with alternative accommodation at a comparative hotel. Although it all works out in the end, it must be unfortunate to arrive and realize that the hotel room you’ve been dreaming about for a while is actually not going to be yours.
If you like a particular hotel chain, then you might want to consider joining their guest membership program. Ranker explains that this might make your life just a little easier every time you travel to that hotel. “Consider joining a guest membership program if you regularly frequent a specific hotel or hotel chain. The hotel will create a guest profile for you based on your likes and dislikes. You might even be able to arrange your own house-keeping schedule.” Joining the membership program will also make you first in line to receive all sorts of amazing deals that your favorite hotel may have.
This is true if you’re staying at a hotel, an Airbnb, or you’re on a luxury cruise ship, those glasses that you’ll find waiting for you in your room or cabin, are not so clean. Sure, they may look clean, they may be spotless, they may even be sparkling, but trust and believe that those glasses don’t really get cleaned when the hotel staff enter your room. What most hotel staff do is just wipe them down with a towel (maybe even the same towel used to clean your bathroom), and then return them to your tray. What’s your best option then? Even if they may not be as glamorous or as pretty, using disposable cups will help to ensure that you avoid any unnecessary germs.
Number 1 on our list is, perhaps, the toughest realization to come to terms with for many travelers out there - The ship isn’t going to wait for you. Let’s take a moment and let that sink in.
You know how at the airport, they may announce a few times that "boarding for your plane is now opened" and you may have some time to rush through so that you don’t miss your flight? Not on a cruise ship, ladies and gentlemen. This, of course, makes a whole lot of sense. How can anyone expect the captain to delay thousands of people on board for one person? If you’ve planned a cruise ship getaway soon, make sure that you arrive there well ahead of time so that you don’t have this problem at all.
References: The Travel Channel, Ranker, Huffington Post