Hotel Secrets The Big Chains Don’t Want You To Know

Staying in a hotel should be a guest; you shouldn’t have to do everything for yourself. You want to be comfortable without having to pay too much for a fortune. Read on for excellent information about picking the perfect hotel. Finding 5 star accommodation Sydney that not only offer all of those luxurious extras, but that are also worth the cost of paying for those extras, can be slightly tricky

You can stash your expensive items in the safe and go about your day without worry.

Check out your hotel room ahead of unpacking. Is the room free of mildew and mold and clean? Do you see any mold or mildew? Are you given the linens and towels in ample supply? If you find obvious problems, report them to the front desk immediately so that they can be taken care of or you can be moved to a different room.

Plan your trip in advance as possible.Many hotels offer the best discounts if you are willing to book more than a month or two ahead of time. You might even be able to save 50 percent or more.

Don’t make the mistake of hotels.

There are three different things you have to do in advance if you’re going to be traveling with a pet. Be sure that the hotel will be friendly to pets.Be sure to bring some bags on hand to make pet cleanup easy.

If you belong to AAA, look into hotel discounts included. You would be surprised where hidden discounts on hotels. You may save 5 percent or even more motels and hotels in the US. These savings can really add up.

If you want to keep your regular running routine, make sure to bring your running gear with you.

It may be wise to look into loyalty program if you travel frequently. They provide benefits to people that stay in the same hotel chain. You can get a free upgrade, complimentary late check-out times and free stays if you accrue enough loyalty points.

If you tend to return to the same family of hotels for your vacation, ask about the “frequent stay” program. These programs give you points for each stay. They add up to free nights, free nights, spa deals, hotel restaurants discounts and much more.

If you are an environmentally conscious traveler, you may want to take a “green” vacation. There are a lot of “green” hotels that take the environment into consideration. Some new hotels are built with green standards and are certified green. Some older inns just select one or more of eco-friendly strategies to show environmental awareness. A travel agent can help you find hotels that are environmentally friendly.

The timing of your room booking often determines the dates on which you plan to stay there. Rooms prices are priced based on their availability. This will net you the very best rate on your hotel room.

Sign up for AAA to ensure easier hotel arrangements while you travel. Parents with young children will appreciate the free car seat provided in many locations.

Don’t make long distance calls from your hotel phone. Many hotels will give you complimentary Skype connections via Wi-Fi. You can stay connected with work or family without the high cost of making expensive long distance calls from the phone in your hotel phone.

It is extremely frustrating for you check in to your room with the kids screaming “pool” only to find out it’s closed.

Be sure you know what the hotel smoking policy if you smoke. Many hotels have rooms designated for smoking guests. Ask to see if you are available. Some hotels will levy a large fine if they can determine that you smoked in a room where smoking was not allowed, so be sure to adhere to the hotel’s rules with regard to smoking.

You should be aware that early check-ins to hotels are not always possible. Plan your time accordingly unless you want to wait in a hotel lobby. Hotels usually need this time to clean and prepare your room. If you can’t avoid being early, ask the desk clerk if it’s possible to check in early, but don’t expect that request to be honored.

Not all hotel chains do offer these and those that will be able to accommodate you. Talk about these issues as you make your reservations.

Don’t open bottled water! You are very likely to be tired and thirsty when you check in. You may decide to reach for that bottled water beckoning on the mini-fridge. Hotels are aware of this and charge more for bottled water significantly. You might be able to get a bottle of water for free in the hotel gym. A better idea is to bring your own bottles.

You can get better hotel if you don’t book during peak tourist seasons. This is the time that hotel rates are highest. You can get a much better price.

Try to get a hotel upgrade without paying for it.You can be sure of this by arriving on time. Sometimes, your room is not yet clean, and the hotels give them better rooms for no extra charge.

If you need to book a room while driving, check rest areas, prices, and great discounts. This will give you an opportunity to book in advance and reserve the room that’s right for you.

Some rooms offer good views while others do not. If it isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg to get a nice view, try to get a room with a nice view. These little things that make your hotel experience. It won’t hurt you to ask them if they can get you a room with a better views.

Check out online sites like Expedia to find great prices. Some may require you to bid, while others may give you a price and the star rating but not tell you the name until you decide to buy, so watch out for that.

If you want to enjoy your hotel stay, avoid making bad choices. So go online or start calling, and find the room that is right for you. There is a perfect hotel room just for you, if you know how to find it.

Heavenly Accommodations Right Here on Earth

Boutique accommodation Sydney offer a delicate balance between luxury interiors and intimate (and often innovative) spaces. The tropical island of Bali is an amazing place. If you have never been there, you owe yourself the experience of a lifetime. This mystical and magical island is home for a unique culture that historically combined Hinduism, Buddhism, Javanese religion and ancient indigenous animistic beliefs with customs that differ distinctively from the Hindu practices in India. Those religious and cultural features form the foundation of the Balinese culture. It is a culture that celebrates life; where there is no word can describe the art because art is an integral part of the daily life of just about every person. Nearly every Balinese is an artist of some kind or another. Their crafts and artistic skills are learned at early ages and taught by parents and fellow villagers, who spend most of their free time creating spiritually oriented embellishments and decorations that are then placed at many temples and shrines in public areas, in rice paddy fields or in the their own yards and places of business. Anyone who has ever visited this paradisiacal island goes away with a deep-seated desire to come back again and again if and when they can manage to do it.

Bali attracts visitors from around the world ranging from backpackers to jet-set film artists and wealthy business personalities. For this reason, there are accommodations ranging from cheap backpacker hostels up to five-star hotels, and well beyond. If you have ever visited Bali, you must have already known what the mainstream accommodations are like. While the best hotels give you so much in the way of comforts, they still represent an isolated enclave for other tourists who cautiously venture out to sample the sights and experience Bali’s cultural richness. Yet something is terribly lacking when you stay in a hotel, no matter how exclusive it is. That thing is a more direct contact with the people and the culture. When you stay in a big hotel, you only get a sampling of the true Balinese life in guided tours or individual forays into markets and main attraction villages. To really experience the dynamics of Bali, the vibrancy of its rich culture and get so much more out of your holiday, and perhaps even save some money, there are many exclusive villas that you can rent to help you enjoy an experience that is even more exclusive than the unique yet ubiquitous and monotonous experience.

Many of these exclusive villa rentals offer a wide variety of superb accommodations which are scattered all over the island ranging from popular spots near crowded tourist attractions to several locations quite away from the mainstream. You can select the idea spot for a romantic retreat with your partner or select a villa that can accommodate your whole family, including children. A villa rental agency will assist you in locating the exact Bali villa that matches your personal tastes and requirements, one to give you an exclusive vacation experience instilled with peace and serenity. By selecting and renting one of the many exclusive villas, you will be able to live and breathe in a genuine Balinese milieu and better feel and even absorb the tranquility of life that underscores the Balinese people’s daily lives.

As you have probably known, Bali is favored by tourists because of its beautiful natural scenery and cultural richness. Therefore, if you are going to look for the most suitable place for your temporary residence during your visit to Bali, finding a place that can combine those two attractive features should be taken into your consideration. There are a lot of attractive places that are located in many beautiful regions of Bali, and each place is adorned by beautiful villas. However, for both domestic and foreign visitors, there is no place in Bali that is considered more attractive than Ubud. This art center is famed by its magnificent ravine with its scenic settings. Spending the whole vacation in a villa in Ubud can be a good option. There are a number of attractive villas in this region, but to get the best view of the beautiful surroundings, choosing one which is located on the ravine is worth considering. There is a villa which is seemingly precariously perched above a ravine overlooking the mystic Wos River.

Long ago, mystics from Java discovered the health-promoting properties of this spot and settled here to practice meditation and the arts of healing. This villa is an ideal secluded location for a couple of lovers or a small group of vacationers. Anyone who is on a vacation to escape the pressures of the modern and busy urban life will value the peace and serenity found here as the recharger for their spiritual and emotional reserves. This villa is located in the middle of a charming, traditional village named Payogan, which translates as a place to do yoga. You can enjoy the fragrance of the frangipani trees whilst watching the birds and butterflies flit about in the gentle tropical breeze. The morning mist that rises from the sacred river below will give you renewed spiritual energy. You won’t really want to rush off to popular tourist spots until you’ve really absorbed the ambiance of this tranquil setting. Some people have remarked that this is the closest that they’ve been to heaven on earth. Why not try it out yourself, since it seems that there aren’t many places left that can be described that way. This villa is next to the town of Ubud, whose name means health-restoring, and a place frequented by movie legends, rock stars, artists and international royalties since the 1930s. If Bali has an abundance of artistic expressions, Ubud is the focal point for the arts, especially painting. The nearby scenery of fresh green rice fields, cascading ravines and century-old temples continuously draws visitors from all over the world. Your villa retreat nearby will be an unforgettable adventure.

If you prefer to choose a villa which can be accessed fairly easily, choosing one which is located near the Bali International Airport is worth considering. There is actually a villa which is located just a short hop from the Bali International Airport in the locale named Seminyak, now Bali’s most fashionable area. This extremely private area is a few minutes jaunt from Bali’s lovely white sand beaches. It is also quite close to the chic boutiques, trendy nightlife and delightful restaurants of Seminyak. Villas in this area are set inside a walled compound for privacy and surrounded with the most tranquil landscaped garden that overall produces an ambiance of luxury. You can relax to soothe your mind and calm your spirit. It includes a pool and Jacuzzi with a first class service and a butler on call to take care of your whims around the clock. This will present you with a truly memorable experience.  

So, you see that a Bali villa rental will have so many things to offer to you that are far and above the corralled experience in a big hotel. Here you can be yourself alone to absorb the power and magnificence that this tropical paradise offers. Visit Bali and look for Bali villas for rent so that you can preview the many different villas that are available for your vacation pleasures.

Andre Ramayadi is a marketing for Bali Home Paradise which specializes in Bali villas rental and Ubud villas for rent.

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10 Ideas to Get Children Involved in Charity

As I was running from store to store picking up presents for my family yesterday, I started noticing collection boxes and signs for charities who are in need of donations and volunteers at this special time of year. Charitable organizations are a kind of business that fits within the nonprofit organization (NPO) category.

That got me to thinking… this might be the first year that all of my children are old enough to really understand the importance of giving.

With that in mind, my youngest two and I talked through charitable ideas that we could do as a family to help others.

Their input was invaluable, as they gave insight into what would be fun for children to do, yet meaningful to them at the same time.

This is a list of 10 ideas that we came up with to get children involved in charitable activities.

1 – Decorating Cookies for Elderly Neighbors –

In keeping with the jolly theme of the season, we decided to turn this fun little task into a small party.

Here’s how: Invite 3 or 4 of your favorite friends and their children to participate and assign each of the families an item to bring.

For example, one can bring jars of sprinkles, while another brings cans of frosting.

Make sure that every family has an assigned item, so that they feel like they are an important part of this project.

The host can supply baked cookies, serving trays, plastic wrap, and a light lunch with drinks for party guests.

Once all of the cookies have been decorated, split up into 2 or 3 groups and deliver the cookies to elderly people who could use a special treat.

2 – Kid’s Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt for a Care Package Organization –

These worthwhile charities send warm holiday wishes through care packages to deployed troops.

To ensure that the project really makes a difference, include a large number of people, such as a neighborhood.

To do this: Gather a group of kids and parents from your neighborhood, then divide them up into teams by which street they live on.

Using the organization’s wish list, each team runs from house to house asking people if they have items on the list to donate.

To get maximum benefit, fliers can be circulated throughout the neighborhood the week before which include items to donate as well as the pick up date (day of party).

People can even leave bags of goodies on their front porch with a note for you, if they are not planning to be home.

Use the Neighborhood Association, Book Club, Bunco group, Wine Club, and Mom’s group, to spread the word and get people to join in on the scavenger hunt fun, as well.

Tastefully decorated signs and neighborhood newsletters are also a great route to get participation and donations.

Once the items are collected, have Santa make a surprise visit and take pictures with all of the kids.

3 – Decorate a Homemade Christmas Tree for a Nursing Home –

One of my kid’s most memorable Christmas activities was decorating a tree with nothing but handmade decorations.

We made (construction) paper chains, strung popcorn garland, made (construction) paper snowflakes covered in silver glitter, dried gingerbread men and women cookies, and reindeer candy canes.

To put a special spin on this, make these items for a nursing home and take them up one afternoon to decorate their Christmas tree.

You can even take extra supplies and work with the elderly to make additional ornaments, using yours as examples.

Then everyone can decorate the tree together.

Don’t forget to take Christmas cookies and a beautiful poinsettia plant for their living area.

4 – Volunteer at a Holiday Charity Event –

Sometimes it is just impossible to plan a charity project during the season, or even months before.

However, with a little bit of online research or asking around, there are many charity events that would love last-minute volunteers.

Don’t let the overwhelming thought of adding another party or project stop your involvement with charities during the holiday season.

In many instances, the work has already been done for you… just show up!

5 – Plan a Neighborhood Toy Drive –

Every year in our neighborhood Santa drives down the streets on a fire engine, while the kids clamor with excitement.

What better way to greet Santa at the street than with a brand new toy in hand for a less fortunate child?

Just pick a charity that you want to donate to… Toys for Tots is a great one to consider, then circulate fliers much like as described in #2 – the Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt idea.

As the child hands the present to Santa, snap a picture, then send it to their parents by email.

Nothing like teaching children the gift of giving, as they give to the very jolly man who has made their Christmases so bright year after year.

6 – Caroling, Candy Canes and Christmas Cards for a Nursing Home –

One day after church or the school’s choir practice, gather a group together to make reindeer candy canes and cards while practicing Christmas carols for a local nursing home visit.

Then, the following week, wear your merriest holiday attire and take your show on the road!

There is just no better way to make an elderly person smile than to have children singing songs while they read warm holiday wishes and enjoy a sweet treat.

Make sure to stop by everyone’s room, though.

Sometimes the people who most need the Christmas spirit are not able to join in the festivities in the main gathering area.

7 – Food Bank Shopping Trip –

This is a wonderfully easy project for a family, but it touches people’s lives in incomprehensible ways.

When I do projects like this, I want to get as much as I possibly can for the money I have budgeted.

If you have a few minutes, cut or print coupons and compare local grocery store’s ads.

Then gather up your family and make an evening or Saturday morning out of it.

Canned and boxed food items that don’t require the addition of many ingredients to complete the dish are generally preferred.

If at all possible, drop off the donated items as a family to the food bank.

This is an invaluable lesson, as most of our children can’t imagine going without a meal.

8 – Adopt-A-Family –

From one family to another, this might be one of the most unforgettable life experiences that will touch both your and your children’s hearts.

Find a family through your school, church, or an online search of reputable charities that is truly in need and will allow your family to personally donate items.

Then do what you can to make their holidays a little brighter.

A very small, lit Christmas tree would be wonderful to have, but if it takes away from what you are able to give them, then only presents and food would be recommended.

Families in need have much different priorities than those who are not.

Name brand toys are probably not even on their Christmas lists.

They will be happy with what you have to give. Give from the heart.

Even ask your extended family for small donations, if they are able to help out.

9 – Christmas Cards for Hospitalized Children –

Making holiday cards full of warm wishes is a perfect project for a class, a grade or even the whole school.

With some basic supplies, children can cheerfully decorate and add personal messages to cards that will help brighten the day for the most deserving of children.

Since sweets are often not allowed in the children’s ward of a hospital, a brightly decorated card from one child to another may just be what they need at this time of year.

If you can gather small stuffed animals in tandem with the card project, that would make the gift even more special.

10 – Make Treats for your Local Home that Supports Families of Hospitalized Children –

While hospitalized children often can not enjoy homemade treats, their support systems that live in these homes across the country welcome them.

After a long, hard day sitting next to their children’s hospital beds, these families return to their home away from home often looking for some glimmer of happiness.

Making trays of homemade treats for these large numbers of families will be much appreciated.

Our family’s Dreamy Christmas Cookies recipe has worked out for us on more than one occasion. You might want to give them a try, too.

By the end of our conversation, my children wanted to participate in each and every activity.

Inspired Note: While that might be quite a bit for my plate during this holiday season, I decided to immediately do one of the simplest projects I could think of.

With a budget set, we ran over to our favorite store and scoured the toy aisles for extremely good deals on great presents.

They carry a “Let’s Play” brand that is more than reasonably priced for children who would just love to have presents under the tree.

With two very excited kids in the car, we merrily made our way home to find the best place to donate these toys.

I hope that some of these ideas were able to inspire you and your children, as well.

Here’s to another Inspired Minute!

Please visit [] for more articles about ways to save time, maximize money, creatively organize, craft, gift, parent and decorate and humbly volunteer.

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Where to Get Charity Auction Items

Ready to launch a charity auction? If you’re new to the process, you might not realize all of your options when it comes to securing auction items to sell. Leaving a legacy is an important part of your life’s work.

1. The traditional way is to ask friends, family, and businesses to donate an item.

This is the most common approach and generally garners you the greatest returns. The donor might give you a product from their place of business or agree to let you sell a one week stay in their vacation home. Of course, you can always ask for a cash donation instead, but some volunteers find it more comfortable to ask for a donation in-kind than to ask for cash.

Advantage: These items are completely donated. If you sell an item for $500, your non-profit keeps $500.

Disadvantage: Your crowd might be willing to spend more on a more unique item, but your procurement team might lack the personal connections to secure those items.

2. Consigned items might be used to supplement your donated items.

A consignment company offers hundreds of ready-to-sell items for a reduced price.

Typically the charity pays only for the items that sell. If your charity opts to use 20 consigned items, but only 10 sell at the auction, your non-profit will pay for those 10 items purchased.

The difference between the consigned price and the sale price is what your charity keeps. So if the consignor offers you a signed painting for $500 and you sell it for $700, your charity keeps $200. You pay the consignor $500.

It’s not uncommon for consignors to specialize in their offerings, such as Hollywood or sports memorabilia, art, jewelry, exclusive packages to unique events (like the SuperBowl or an anticipated concert), or unique vacation packages.

Advantage: It’s easy. With a phone call, you can have your auction filled with fabulous items that could “uplevel” your event with one-of-a-kind experiences and products.

Disadvantage: You might “miss the mark” and select items unpopular or too expensive for your crowd. Although you won’t need to pay the consignor for this blunder (remember, you pay for what you sell), you missed the chance to sell a 100% donated item.

Let’s borrow a term from economics: opportunity cost. Precious time and space that could have been spent showcasing and selling a 100% donated item was foregone in order to promote the consigned package… which earned you nothing (if it didn’t sell).

There is also some controversy about whether bidders should know whether an item is consigned. Some bidders become irate once they learn that $500 of their $700 donation was going to pay a consignor. We’ve heard comments like, “I would have rather just written you a check for $700.” This is a discussion for your auction committee.

3. Another strategy for procuring auction items is to rent access to a database of proven donors.

Soliciting items is time consuming. A chunk of that time is spent on research. For instance, you’ll get a higher response on your solicitation letters if you address your letter to a real person… not “To Whom It May Concern.” But tracking down the right person, their title, and address takes time.

Additionally, people change jobs frequently. The contact at Company ABC who sent that great donation last year may have left her job. Now you need to find out who the new contact is and re-submit.

If you rent a procurement database, the company who owns the database is responsible for keeping the names and addresses current. And because the database is enormous, you can can target the right businesses for your crowd.

Do you think your guests will love bidding on spa packages? Use the database to send out letters to 500 international spas and see who sends you a gift certificate. Is golf a crowd favorite? Send 1,000 letters to golf courses and merchandisers. You can lean heavily on businesses you think your crowd will like.

Once your letter is crafted, the owner of the database will mail your letters. At that point, you sit back and wait for the items to pour in.

Advantage: It’s easier. Rather than spending time calling different companies and tracking down each person in charge of approving donations, the research has already been done for you. Your time can be spent writing a compelling letter.

It’s also likely that the items you secure may be more plentiful and of higher quality than what you could have achieved using your personal connections. And because items are 100% donated, the full value of the item’s sale price remains with your charity.

Disadvantage: There is a cost associated with renting the database. And to a great extent, this is a numbers game. The more letters you send out, the more donations you’ll receive. You can’t skimp on price, buy a small portion of the database (such as 100 names), and expect to hit a home run in your procurement. This is about scale — you must commit to renting enough of the database so the law of averages will kick in and you’ll get the donations you seek.

Called the “Queen of Benefit Auctions,” fundraising auctioneer Sherry Truhlar, CMP, BAS has been featured in national publications (The Washington Post Magazine… AUCTIONEER) and on cable television programs (E! Style… TLC) for her trend-setting work with auction fundraisers. In addition to servicing clients through an elegant and playful auctioneering style, she specializes in a variety of popular online classes to teach volunteer auction chairpersons the simple steps for improving the financial bottom-line of their charity auctions. Her free or nearly free auction ideas are used by hundreds of charities, and her popular, FREE Auction Item GuideTM is downloaded by dozens each day who seek auction procurement help. GET YOUR OWN FREE GUIDE (listing the 100 top-selling items you can sell in your auction) AT

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