Should I use a debit card or a credit card when checking into a hotel?

Should I use a debit card or a credit card when checking into a hotel? Blog Entry Image

The answer to this question all depends on how you prefer to have the transaction processed.

It is common practice when you check into most hotels and resorts that a security deposit, or hold, is immediately charged to your debit card or credit card. The security deposit covers any possible incidentals and protects the hotel from people skipping out on their bill. The deposit will be refunded minus any expenses charged to the account during the stay. However, it is important to note that it may take several days for your bank or credit company to release the hold.

This means that either the money in your checking account, if using a debit card, or your available credit on your credit card will be temporarily unavailable to you until the deposit is released. This usually isn’t a problem unless you need access to these funds in your checking account, or if your credit card is near its limit.

So, if you prefer for the cash in your banking account to not be held, it is recommended that you use a credit card.

How to save on summer airfare

How to save on summer airfare Blog Entry Image

Summer is the busy season when it comes to travel. Although planes are more packed and rates tend to go up, you can still achieve some savings when booking your flight. Here are a few tidbits of information to help you get the best deal.

• Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are generally the cheapest days to fly (unless it is a holiday).

• You should try to book about four to six weeks ahead of time. If trying to travel around a holiday you’ll want to book three months in advance for the best rates.

• Search for low fares based on flexible dates within a travel window. Choosing one day before or after your original selection could save you $100.

• If your itinerary is complicated use a travel agent. It could help you avoid an airline-fee surprise or two.

• Keep an eye out for promo codes from the airlines. Some recent ones from a few major carries have offered up to $300 off.

• Flying Internationally? Find out which international carriers fly directly to their home country from your nearest international airport.

• Follow your favorite carriers via social media. More and more airlines are posting special sales deals via their Facebook pages and Twitter.

• Early Tuesday is a good time to check rates as that is when low-cost carriers generally announce their sales.

• Check the flight-prediction tool on Bing Travel to see if prices are expected to go up, down or remain the same, based on historical data.

• Always check the fine print on any special offer. You may not be able to use your savings during key travel periods.  A saving is useless if you can’t use it.

Five Houston Area Spring Festivals To Enjoy This Weekend

Five Houston Area Spring Festivals To Enjoy This Weekend Blog Entry Image

Spring in the great state of Texas equates to outdoor fun and festivals, and this weekend is shaping up to be a gorgeous one. Here’s a sampling of six local events to keep you entertained and enjoying the outdoors all weekend.

The Woodlands CrawPHish Festival at Town Green Park
The Woodlands CrawPHish Festival was created to raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension, hence the “PH” in the name, and money to find a cure.  The Festival is hosted annually in Town Green Park for a day of family fun with live music, kids activities, authentic Louisiana crawfish, BBQ (for those that do not care for crawfish), networking and more. Texas singer/song writer, Kyle Park, will serve as the headliner performer. (888) 695-0888

Tomball German Heritage Festival in Downtown Tomball
Every year, on the last weekend in March, festival-goers break out their Lederhosen and Dirndls and "Go German" for the area's largest festival celebrating the heritage of the original German families that settled this area around 1840. (281) 379-6844.

Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park
An arts and entertainment destination for the entire family, the Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park offers a fun filled day of art, entertainment, food, wine and beer featuring the popular Green Mountain Energy Children’s Creative Zone, the Art Heist – a fundraiser within a fundraiser, as well as fine and festival fare offered from some of Houston’s most popular food trucks, restaurants and hotels with libations from top-tier sponsor Stella Artois and Barefoot Wines. (713) 521-0133.

McDonald’s Houston Children's Festival in Downtown Houston
The McDonald's Houston Children's Festival, presented by Baker Hughes and benefiting Child Advocates, Inc., is set for MARCH 29 & 30, 2014 and promises to be the very best EVER. Over 50,000 families, friends, volunteers and sponsor partners will gather together in beautiful downtown Houston to play, create, explore and learn. (281) 363-0900.

Festival of Wine, Music & Food at Wild Stallion Vineyards
Come celebrate wine, food and great music at Wild Stallion Vineyards in The Woodlands with The Fab 5. A desire to recreate the spirit & enthusiasm of the British Invasion and America’s subsequent retaliation led to the formation of The Fab 5 in 1990. The Fab 5 is a Houston-based tribute band performing the greatest hits of THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, and many more! 281.803.WINE(9463)

Travel games to keep you entertained on a road trip

Travel games to keep you entertained on a road trip Blog Entry Image

“Are we there yet?” is a question all road warriors have endured at some point.  While entertainment gadgets can help fill some of the travel void, it is inevitable that boredom will raise its weary head. That's why we've compiled a list of road trip games that require only your passengers’ minds and the open road. There’s something for every age.

I Spy
One person chooses something they see either inside or outside of the vehicle. They then give one clue that starts, “ I spy with my little eye something that is_________.” The clue for the spotted object can be a color or first letter of the object. Keep in mind the object you choose should be something that can remain in eyesight while the other passengers are guessing. 

The Alphabet Game
The alphabet game consists of trying to find letters on various highway signs, license plates, billboards, etc., which you can locate outside of the car. The first person to find all the letters in the alphabet wins. 

Guess the Rhyme
Think of a two-word rhyming phrase, such as "fat rat." Then give a two word clue in which each word is a synonym of the words in the rhyming phrase. In this instance you might give the clue of, “overweight rodent.” The first person to guess the correct rhyming phrase wins.

Going on Vacation
This is an add-on memory game. The first person starts the game by saying, “I’m going on vacation,” and then adds something they want to pack. For instance,  “I’m going on vacation and I’m going to pack a toothbrush.” The next person adds on their item by saying, “I’m going on vacation and I am going to pack a toothbrush and a bathing suit.”  Passengers keep adding on items that they would pack, until someone forgets an item. Then that person is out. The rest of the players continue the game until there is a winner.

20 Questions
One person thinks of an animal, vegetable or mineral. The other passengers then try to guess the object by asking twenty questions or less. The first question asked is always, "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" After that the passengers take turns asking questions that will help them guess the answer, noting that the answer to the questions can only be “yes,” or “no.”

Geography
Start by choosing a geography topic such as cities or states. The first player names a city, and the next player has to name another city that starts with the last letter of the previous player's city. For example, if the first player names “The Woodlands,” the next person would have to name a city that starts with the letter, “S,” such as “San Antonio.”

Tips for unplugging while on vacation

Tips for unplugging while on vacation Blog Entry Image

You’re going on vacation with the best intentions to go off the grid. You’ve promised yourself that you’ll only use your digital devices when absolutely necessary. But sometimes when our electronic devices have replaced so many of our former vacation convenience items (watch, guide books, camera, etc.) it’s not so easy. So why not truly unplug with a few of these tips?

• Depart with a full battery, but leave all of your chargers at home.  You’ll be more apt to be conservative in its use if you know the battery may run out.

• Delete the app you are most tempted to use or check in with from your phone and reinstall it when you return.

• Bring a camera. Having a separate camera will make you less apt to spend time uploading your photos to social sites, check emails, or surf the web.

• Bring a book. If it’s an electronic reader, see the bullet above – you may want to bring a paperback.

• If traveling in a group, create an “off the grid” box that everyone deposits their devices in as an agreement that it will be an electronics-free vacation.

• Wear a watch. Or better yet, don’t. The point of vacation is to unwind. 

• Plan ahead. In this new generation we’ve become accustom to being available for our bosses, clients, colleagues and others 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  When you make a point of giving plenty of advanced notice to everyone that you are going on vacation and plan to be off the grid, you’ve now created a fair expectation that you won’t be available. You’ll be surprised how many of them will encourage you to enjoy your time sans digital device.

The Benefits of Booking Direct

The Benefits of Booking Direct Blog Entry Image

There are hundreds of online options when it comes to booking travel, but nothing beats booking direct. Why? You remove the middleman. Booking direct can benefit your pocketbook and your overall experience.

Get the Best Price
Many hotels now offer best rate guarantees. At The Woodlands Resort, our best-rate guarantee means you won’t find a lower rate for our rooms online anywhere. If you find a rate that is viewable and bookable on another website for our property for the same room type, same dates and length of stay, we will verify it, and match it.

Receive a More Personalized Experience
Early check-in requests? Celebrating a special occasion? Speaking with the hotel staff while making your reservation creates an automatic personal connection and gives the resort a better understanding of how to make your stay more enjoyable. Speaking directly with the source can help you make the most of every moment.

Experience Greater Flexibility
Things happen in life that may require you to change your travel plans.  A general rule of thumb is the more parties between you and the service provider, the more difficult it is to resolve an issue. Booking directly with the resort will enable you to easily speak directly to a person in charge to help facilitate any changes.

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