Top 10 Hotel Safety Features You Need to Look for Before Booking

Fire AlarmHotels are our second home when we’re on a trip. Whether because of vacation, family bonding, or even business trips, hotels provide a way to feel comfortable when we’re away from home. But not all hotels have the necessary safety features that will protect you, your loved ones, or at the very least, your luggage. Here I have listed 10 safety features that you should look for in a hotel.

1.  Competent and Alert Security Guards: If you are a Filipino, then you’ve probably heard of Jimmy Sieczka, the controversial American who posted a video which states his 20 reasons why he dislikes Philippines. He was clear in his opinion about the ineffectiveness of certain Filipino security guardsWell, you can’t blame him for pinpointing how some of our security guards do their work. Most of them don’t take their job seriously. A competent hotel should have security guards that take shifts since it operates 24 hours a day. Competent security guards should know the dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with guests and non-guests. They should know when to use certain precautionary measures in order to control whatever situation arises.

2. Fire Alarms: Fire alarms are set to alert all the guests in case of fire. They provide the fastest way to advice all guests and personnel to vacate the building whenever necessary. Never book in a hotel that is without fire alarms and fire extinguishers.

3. Sprinklers: In case there’s a small build-up of fire in someone’s kitchen, sprinklers can help put out the fire immediately so that it’ll not spread all throughout the room and the rest of the hotel. This can prevent larger panic to arise.

4. Fire Exits: Once the fire becomes uncontrollable, every person should have a clear path as to where the fire exits are. These fire exits should be wide enough for a large group of hurrying people. Also, these fire exits should be available at all the main areas of the hotel.

5. Intact Electrical Wires: Who wants to get electricuted while on a vacation? No one! In fact, no one wants it AT ALL. So whenever you check in at a hotel, it is important to be very conscious when it comes to faulty electrical wirings, for they can cause us our lives.

6.  Flat /Plane Surface: We don’t want ourselves, and especially our children, to trip and suffer bruises just because of uneven floors. Worst scenario could involve bone and head injury, which would take some serious time to heal.

7.  Secure Door and Window Locks: Of course, not all of us would stay in our hotel rooms all throughout our vacation. Once we’re out, we need to secure all our important things. Hotels should have highly secured doors and windows in order to keep our valuables safe at all times.

CCTV Cameras8.  CCTV Cameras: Almost all establishments now are equipped with CCTV cameras. Because they provide consistent views of the nook, crannies and tightest corners of the hotel, guests are assured that every place in the building is accounted for. CCTV cameras have become, in their own way, a new species of security system in every business.

9.  Maintenance: Rusty bars, edgy walls, broken chairs, unpleasant smells, and unclean water are just some of the things the hotel management should be aware of. It is important to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the hotel in order to avoid future problems. For example, rusty bars can cause tetanus, broken chairs can cause broken bones, and water should be crystal clear since it is used for bathing and brushing teeth.

10. Safe Surroundings: Customer’s safety doesn’t just begin and end inside the hotel premises. Outside factors like the neighbourhood, the traffic and the air pollution should also be considered.

This doesn’t just serve as a reminder for guests; it is also a guideline for all hotel owners. It is important to establish a good client-owner relationship. This serves as a win-win situation for both because vacationers can have their dream relaxation period while the hotel owners are provided an opportunity to establish the credibility of their hotels.

What Room to Choose: Sunset View or Sunrise View?

Sunrise ViewYou’ve been there: arriving at the hotel grounds on the very busy season of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, booked at a super low-cost hostel in an Indian building that costs almost that of a five-star hotel deluxe room. The attendant asks you if you’d rather be in a room with windows with the view resembling that of the rollercoaster’s peak or in a tight room with no window at all. Chances are, you’ll choose the one with no windows. And as a result, very little space is granted to you and your family. Because of the limited space, you’ll have no choice but to squish your luggage under the bed. Thank God for the extra legroom down there.

And so you backtrack seven solid days prior the trip. Beloved reader, given the circumstances, it won’t be unusual if you find yourself asking these questions: “Should I go for a four-star hotel or a meager backpacker’s inn? Garden view or beach front? With or without breakfast? Room with sunrise view or sunset view?” The list goes on. There are just too many options to choose from. Honestly, not many people who take these sets of questions seriously. It is very seldom that a customer would ask whether their room assignment has a sunrise view or a sunset view.

Sunset ViewBut coming down to it, this actually depends on the type of person that you are. If you are a morning person, then go for the room with the sunrise view. Enjoy the bliss of making your coffee as you watch the world come alive while the sunlight unfolds in the horizon. However, if you are an evening person, choose the far end of the hotel where you can drink some wine should you find it tiring to go down to the local pubs. Although watching the sun rise or come down is really an optional activity; it doesn’t really hurt to try it occasionally, especially if you are tired of the busy streets of Manila or too exhausted to join the party in Sao Paulo. So why not cuddle up with your special someone and enjoy your coffee or wine as you clutch the satin hotel sheets?

Watching the sun come up or down is one big add-on feature a hotel can offer to make your stay ultra-comfortable and extra-lux. It doesn’t really matter which sight you choose to behold. (Wouldn’t it be awesome to have an awesome view to top off the awesome hotel that you’re staying in?) At this point, it’s all about personal preference. What’s important is that customers get the rest and relaxation that they deserve to conquer another exciting day of sightseeing.

So snuggle up, cuddle tight, and go for the ride.

5 Safety Tips You Should Take Note of When Riding Taxi Cabs

When not blessed to have your own car, what do you do? Depend on public transportation. In Manila, there is the Jeep, Tricycles, Trains, or Taxis. You can practically go anywhere with these public vehicles. But of course, one disadvantage is that you don’t control the journey, and there are lots of possibilities that may happen and danger is always imminent in public transportation.

Getting a TaxiUsually, there will be no problems whatsoever when riding a taxi cab, but when it is not your day, some problems like the smell of LPG (as this is the gas they use), defective meters, rude or negligent drivers, or perhaps when in the holidays, it is extremely difficult to hail a cab, more so if you are in a dense place like the malls and in the middle of rush hour!

Amidst all the issues, the most important thing to note here is safety. Public transportation is not like private transportation, that you don’t hold your own wheel and drive. In today’s economic crisis, many individuals will do anything to earn money, and using a taxi to lure in victims is not a new thing. Being paranoid about holdup incidents and other crimes related to cabs are not a bad thing as it can help you prepare for the ride and the possible danger.

If you want to maximize the safety of riding cabs, here are 5 tips you can use:

1. Plan and know your journey.

It will be very helpful and safer if you know exactly where and how you will go from point A to point B. Whenever that you may have time to plan the travel, do so and be familiar with the conventional path to be taken. This is to make sure you may instantly know that the driver may be diverting a path towards hell and to your demise. It is also best that you dictate the driver where to go along the way, prepare and use a map if you are not sure for reference. Feel confident to direct the driver and exercise your authority, after all you are the driver’s guest and not the other way around. Also, if you can plan ahead and fix the schedule of your journey, do so. Of course it will be better to travel on 10:00 AM rather than 10:00 PM, as the day minimizes danger. Whenever possible, ride in groups and have a male companion along. Women should as much as possible never ride alone and make sure to always have self-defence items such us pepper sprays as they may come in handy when things get ugly, and learning self-defence will surely help!

2. Take note of reputable taxi companies.

This is probably the one that you should do first as this can prevent all the other bad stuffs that may happen in the first place. Reputable taxi companies are surely to exist legally and they have their rules and regulations including safety measures for both the driver and the passenger. Some famous taxi companies include Basic, Hertz, Avis and among others, and they are almost sure to deliver a safe journey to you unlike unknown or illegal taxi companies that may prove to be dangerous. Here is a website you can check out for reference: http://www.infotaxi.org/philippines_taxi/manila_taxi.htm.

Taxicab

3. When riding alone, take the backseat, then lock and check the doors and windows.

This is not a sign of disrespect, but this is a precautionary measure. Lots of sexual offenders and kidnappers will gain the upper hand if they can easily get a hold of their prey, and once the driver requests that you sit up front do not hesitate to sit at the backseat. Do not also think to twice to hail another cab when this happens, as it is really strange and fishy once a driver requests his passenger to sit beside him. Do not also forget to lock the doors once you sit down to avoid possible outside dangers like the driver’s accomplices or outside snatchers. After locking the doors check again the doors if they are indeed locked from the outside, and check too if they can be indeed opened again after unlocking, as some wise drivers may have a trick up their door locks to keep you from going out. Checking the window is for ventilation whenever needed, as the driver may use chemicals from the aircon and knock you unconscious. Being able to open the window will provide fresh air when needed for whatever reasons. But once you feel bad inside the cab and the fresh air does not help, it is probably a safe thing to just end the ride and step out the cab.

4. Remember the taxi vehicle’s color and plate number.

Whenever possible, take note of the plate number and color of the car. Get the plate number before you get in, as the information inside the cab might be different. Doing this is not just for safety purposes but also for filing complaints. Record the data down in your cellphone so you won’t forget and text the police hotline or your friends if ever in a bad situation inside the cab. Always take note of your current location as the taxi plate number and color will be for naught if people don’t know where you are!

5. Ask for ID.

When you smell something fishy, do not hesitate to gather details from the driver. Taxi cab drivers should always carry with them a government issued taxi ID. Ask that from them, and make sure the picture and the name match their driver’s license, and then of course remember their full names and taxi companies they belong to, and his face. Once the info doesn’t match, ask the driver to drop you off and get out. Just in case you the driver does not stop, consider going out the cab by force, and the last option really is to step out in the moving cab, yes this is risky but it is better this way rather than to put your life in the driver’s hands. But before you attempt this, make sure to look up front and back to ensure there are no incoming cars, then jump out with hands clasping your face area and go with the flow of the motion and roll over while protecting your face. Once safe, be composed and ask for help and report the bad driver!

Trust your instincts, use all your senses, and act quickly. Be trigger happy with your phone once you feel the need to, and contact the authorities or a trusted family or friend. Text your concerns so the driver would not know, and it is a must to contact people early as you might not have a chance to do so when the driver steals your phone away. Use technology like Facebook, Twitter or Google Maps as all of these can be used to alarm people and to guide you along the way. Try to be friendly with the driver too at the start so you and him can be comfortable with each other, having a warm conversation with the driver may eliminate possible evil intents within the driver. Be practical and wise and prepare for the worst. Pray too as this should be your first and last weapon against all sorts of danger. If you are unsure still and you have the money, just get your own car and be your own driver. Hold the wheel and drive!

Top 5 Amenities to Look for in a Hotel

Finding the Perfect HotelIt’s more fun during the holidays! This is the stretch of time when we get to rest and relax without thinking about our school or work. It is also a time for family bonding and vacation! Many of us rely on hotels to serve as our temporary “home” while we tour certain places. And as hotels multiply in quantity, our options become broader also. In spite of the abundant choices, how will we know if we’re getting the best quality hotel service we need? Let’s take a look at the top 5 amenities to look for in a hotel.

1) Clean and Nice Room: During a vacation, you just don’t go out to have some fun, you also seek comfort. A clean and cosy room will help you relax and blow your worries away. It should serve as a haven while you’re out of town.

2) Security: Security doesn’t only refer to the guards that are responsible for the safety of the customers. It also covers areas like fire, theft, etc. As we enter the area, we should take into consideration the security it possesses. Are there enough guards to guard the whole hotel? Are fire extinguishers available in every floor? What about fire exits? Emergency lights? Vacation doesn’t only mean you’re out to have all the fun. You should also think about your safety.

3) Knowledgeable and friendly staff: Staffs are the key to a business’ success, especially in hotels. From the receptionist, janitors, to the management, all should be of great attitude and values. You wouldn’t want to be stressed out because of an incompetent staff. This will not just ruin your vacation but also give you a stressful getaway.

Hotel Mini Bar4) Mini bar/ Mini-store: We need to have an access to a mini-store where we can buy things like toiletries. We don’t want to have the hassle of going out and finding these things. We also need it for our food. Early morning or late at night, we tend to enjoy eating a near convenience store would be real, well, convenient.

5) Technology: Today’s a world where invention of new technology never stops. Most of us have the best of the best. Several social networking websites are just hard not to visit everyday. (If you have a Facebook and Twitter account, then I’m sure you can sympathize with me.) Because we can order food and monitor our businesses through the use of our Internet, a hotel with fast and readily available Internet connection is a big plus.

So whether you plan to book online or just select a hotel “on the spot”, you need to do a little research regarding it as not to waste your time and money. Always remember that there are a lot of hotels around us, we just need to pick the one that has the best amenities as compared to others.

Top 5 Tips to Save Money in Hotel Accommodations

If you are planning to go out of town or country for a vacation, then chances are, you’ll need a hotel to stay in. It is during these times that you have to be wise enough to save up for your trip. In this article, you will find helpful and cheaper alternatives to the overpriced hotel accommodations that could really hurt your wallet. Thrift shopping and food-tripping adventures are just some of the things you can do to maintain a reasonable and steady budget.

Hotel Accomodations1.     Travel During Off-season (but not on the extreme)

As most hotels will jack up the rooms’ rates to take advantage of the peak season, be particularly sensitive to events and traditions of the place you’re heading to. For example, because families usually travel when kids are on school vacation (e.g. summertime or Christmas season), go to the beach after summer instead.

Aside from not having to splurge on your hotel suite, for this instance, you can avoid any possibilities of radiation, sunburn and other skin diseases. Opt to enjoy sceneries, take pictures of Mother Nature and spend quality time just having a tumultuous night of splendor with your loved ones.

2.     Sign Up for Hotel Membership

Research for hotels which offer promotions that can be used by members in wherever branch they are (locally and internationally). Compare hotel prices and look for compatible ones: near to tourist destinations and convenient for transportation yet not too heavy on the budget.

When you subscribe to a membership with a hotel, you can take pleasure in their standard discounts or other special freebies. That membership usually comes with points which when accrued will gain you more rewards and benefits you can use in your next booking. Moreover, you will get a higher prioritization when you become one of their loyal customers.

3.     Hunt For Self-catering Accommodations

If you intend to stay over for more than a week, look for those with fewer hotel type services. Condo units open for leasing or guest houses will also do. (That is if you can live without the luxury services of a standard hotel: concierge, restaurant or bar, wi-fi Internet and other help from the front desk.) In some guest houses, you will have to stay with another group of people as you only occupy a number of rooms in the same house. If you’re not that choosy, and if you’re willing to share the public toilet with others, then considering this option will definitely chop off your hotel bill.

Hotel Discounts4.     Purchase Coupons in Online Deal Sites or Newspapers

Trending now are companies offering deals for vacations and getaways. Check out their websites and join their subscription mail list to get notified of cheaper hotel bookings. Of course, you need to plan ahead and make sure that your itinerary will go smoothly when you choose to stay in those hotels.

Some deals require a minimum number of people going so ensure that you read along these lines first or call the vendor before confirmation. Traveling in groups may also get you a cheaper price; get some coordination with your friends or colleagues and together work on achieving that cheapest hotel package.

5.     Bargain and Negotiate

Work on the phone and inquire about the rates of the hotel rooms of your first choice. Speak with the guest relations officer or the friendly manager and ask if they can offer special prices for first-time guests. Ask if you can have a cheaper one if you won’t need food vouchers and other accommodations such as the use of the gym, spa, swimming pool, television, and other hotel amenities.

Say nice things about their hotel and praise them for the good impression they bring forward. Explain why you choose their hotel while traveling within budget and if the hotel representatives do not give in, tell them you’ll call back later after checking for other options. Keep looking until someone gives you a good rate.

As you can see, there are many different ways to save money on your hotel accommodation. So, put these tips into effect and increase the weight of your piggy bank.

Pros and Cons of Availing Tour Packages

Your average Tour Group

Your average Tour Group

It’s summer once again and almost everyone is gearing up for their vacation trips! Pack your bags! Call your friends! Book your hotel! If you plan to go somewhere with lots of tourist spots to see, you might want to consider availing Tour Packages. Not all travellers opt for this, some just want independent travel. To help you decide, here are some pros and cons of tour packages.

THE PROS

Time is maximized.

In a tour package, you’ll see a lot of sites in one go. Your tour guide knows where to take you—from historic landmarks to the best restaurants. You don’t even have to think or plan where you’re going because everything is laid out for you! Your time is not wasted asking for directions and choosing the next place to go to.

No language difficulties.

When visiting another country, language problems often arise most especially for non-English-speaking locales. In a tour package, your tour guide cum translator will help you in communicating with locals and even teach you the important words you need to learn.

Easy transportation.

You don’t need to worry about transportation when you avail of a tour package. Getting from one spot to another is readily available. You can even rest comfortably while in transit without fearing that your belongings might be lost.

Booked all the way.

From your hotel to the restaurants you’ll dine to the entrance fees of the sites, everything is booked for you in a tour package. The inclusions in your package may vary but the option to have everything all in is there. You need not shell out cash or take out your credit card all the time because everything is covered for already.

The Annoying Tourist

The Annoying Tourist

THE CONS

Unpredictable travel companions.

Some travellers prefer to travel either alone or with the people they know. Usually, this doesn’t happen because you’ll be with a group in a tour package. There might be some people that you may find annoying or unpleasant and this is something beyond your control.

Time is not flexible.

You cannot dictate the flow of the day’s itinerary in a tour package. Most of the time, the tour starts early in the morning and finishes late in the afternoon or early evening. If you want to stay longer in a certain place, you can’t do that when the tour guide says it’s time to go. You have to follow the tour’s schedule and not yours.

Tourist-oriented spots.

If you’re the type who wants to explore quaint places and out of the box restaurants then a tour package is not for you. Those small cities and food strips are rarely included there. You’ll see all the popular and must-see tourist spots but not the unique local flavor you’re probably looking for.

Hope this helps you as you plan your vacation. Regardless if you opt for a tour package or not, all that matters is that at the end of the day you have a memorable and fun vacation!