Hotels offer all sorts of loyalty points, but are they great deals? And how do you keep track of them? Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com has some thoughts on this and many other travel tips.
"If you're thinking about joining a loyalty program and you're comparing maybe an airline program to a hotel program, I would say these days hotel programs definitely have more value in general. With the airlines, you might be able earn a lot of miles, but you can't necessarily redeem them very effectively. Hotel points tend to add up quickly. No one's going to tell you that you can't use that for your room. They also can be beneficial in getting you things like upgrades, a little bit more VIP service. So that's definitely something to keep in mind," says Banas.
Melinda from Madison, Wis., wrote in to ask us this question: "Lodging is always the most expensive part of travel for us; we prefer to rent condos and or apartments giving us access to a kitchen, but with small children, we've found places that are not child proofed or kid friendly. Can you recommend any websites that allow for searches to meet our needs?"
Banas recommends travelers check out websites like: Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey (a sister website of SmarterTravel.com), and VRBO. For lodging, she also recommends downloading the app for Hotel Tonight.
"What I would recommend if you see a property you like and you can't tell if it's child-friendly, contact the owner directly. Most are really great about getting back to you in an email and that will allow you to ask specific questions," says Banas.
Listeners also weighed in on several other questions:
- Erin in Richmond, Va., asked us about the best way to book hotels.
- Will from Wilson, N.Y., wants advice on how to deal with pocket money for kids when they are heading off to travel abroad.
- And several of our listeners asked questions about traveling with pets.
Click play on the audio player above to hear Banas' advice -- and scroll through our slideshow above for tips on traveling with pets from SmarterTravel.com. Plus, SmarterTravel wants your pet picture -- check out their website to submit your picture of your pet on vacation. And check out their photo gallery of how pets help you pack.
Anne Banas answered a few more of your travel questions. Check out what advice she has on lodging, frugal stops, and booking flights.