How to Find a Clean Hotel Room

wwwwwYour hotel room is your home away from home, with a few exceptions — hundreds of strangers from every corner of the world have slept there, and the hotel staff may not have the same standards of cleanliness that you do at home. It’s nice to have someone fold up your towels and make your bed while you’re out exploring the world, but in terms of sanitization, a neatly made bed does not equal a germ-free room.

Studies have shown that germs frequently lurk in places like light switches, television remotes and telephone keypads, even in hotel rooms that otherwise appear clean — disturbing evidence of what might be waiting when you wheel your suitcase into a suite.

Are you prepared for a dirty bedspread, a scummy toilet or even a bed bug infestation? It’s highly unlikely that a slightly soiled bathroom floor will put your life in danger, yet an unclean hotel room could affect your health; the most common afflictions are colds or stomach viruses. Try the following tips and sleep more soundly on your next adventure.

How Do I Make Sure My Hotel

Get in Shape While Traveling The World at These Fitness-Friendly Hotels

indexaaThese hotel and fitness brand collaborations will help you keep your beach bod long after summer ends.

Bikini season may be coming to an end, but that’s no reason to shelve your ab-aspirations until next summer.
Hotels around the world are teaming up with the hippest, hottest studios and trainers to offer group fitness classes, personal training, and locally inspired exercise activities.
If you thought you were going to relax on your next vacation, think again. Hoteliers are serving up sweet incentives (think Heartbeet juices, housemade power bars) to make sure you sweat it out.
Check out the coolest new ways to stay in shape on your next trip out of town. Best of all? Many of these programs are open to locals eager to participate, too. So grab your padded shorts and your ’80s-inspired sweatband, tighten your laces, and get ready to work.

CyC at Row NYC
This summer, the Row NYC hotel got a shiny new spinning studio, home to Cyc (pictured above): a 45-minute beat-based ride that incorporates strength training and movements inspired by volleyball and swimming. Individual rides start at $28, but you’ll want to

10 Essential Family Travel Hacks

indexzzzHaving kids definitely slowed my husband and me down. When you’ve got a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old, it’s can be hard to get to the grocery store—forget horseback riding in Patagonia or partying all night on a houseboat in Paris. Still, we’ve managed to keep traveling without resorting to, um, resorts. This year we took a road trip through the Pacific Northwest (admittedly, in a minivan) and spent nearly three weeks winging it around Europe. The key to being intrepid with small children is being willing to go with the flow—but smart travel strategies help, too. Here’s what a travel editor has learned from flying, driving, pushing, carrying and sometimes dragging her two children around the world.

Remember the essentials
We try to pack light, but when you have kids there are some things you simply do not want to be without. I start my packing list a week before we leave, because the everyday items can be the easiest to forget. I have no desire to repeat the Vancouver Car Seat Incident, which was made infinitely worse by the fact that we had run out of baby

A Business Traveler’s Guide To Luggage and Packing

You’ve got your meeting notes completely memorized, you know your company’s game plan and now there’s only one priority left to tackle: packing. While this task may seem rather trivial, what you pack or don’t pack can have quite an unexpected impact upon your business travel. The amount of luggage you bring could potentially lead to unforeseen costs at the airport gate, and forgetting a few essential items can only add to the stress of navigating an important work-related trip. Take a look at some of these luggage and packing tips to make the most of your business travel:
Never check your luggage
If you need to fly for a work-related trip, there’s rarely ever a reason that justifies checking your luggage. Odds are you don’t need to bring that much stuff with you, and checking luggage only increases your risk of running into obstacles. Besides saving you or your company money by sticking to one carry-on bag, you don’t want to have to deal with the nightmare of having an airline lose or damage your checked luggage. And once you arrive at your destination, you can simply grab your bag and be on the go.
Don’t overpack

14 Things You Might Not Think to Pack — But Should

For months I had been preparing for my eight-week trip to South America. As I bought new gear, I would toss it into my backpack without a second thought. It wasn’t until the morning of my flight that I dumped everything onto the living room floor — with less than six hours to determine what would make the final cut.
Space was at a premium because whatever I chose, I’d have to haul around on my back for two months. I’m typically a light packer, used to asking myself, “Is this necessary?” The items below answer that question with a resounding yes!
When you find yourself without electricity (Cabo Polonio, Uruguay), without street lights (San Pedro de Atacama, Chile) or simply in a situation where you want to be a considerate roommate (someone WILL be sleeping before you set out your toothbrush and pajamas), a headlamp is worth its weight in gold. Mine proved its worth by day three (of 60).
Hooded Silk Sleep Sack
My silk sleep sack, which folded up into itself and fit inside a quart-sized zip-top bag, felt luxurious … especially in hostels and budget hotels where the alternative was a sheet that was

Smart Tactics to Get More from Your Hotel Points

A while back, I wrote about becoming a member of ahotel rewards program and the revelation it was to me — and I interviewed a number of frequent flier experts who all recommended hotel programs over airline programs for most travelers. At a time when airline awards are getting more difficult to obtain, hotel programs are getting better all the time.
It turns out that actually using hotel points is also much easier and more consumer-friendly than trying to use airline points — just another reason to put your points into hotel programs. Most hotel websites simply have a checkbox allowing you to search for a reservation using points. Then when your search results come back, instead of showing you room prices, they show you how many points you need for each hotel. From there, you sign in and make a booking using your points.
Talk about simple and straightforward — many of the hotel programs really have it together on this score. But as I learned when making a recent points booking at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South in New York City, there are still some tricks to know and pitfalls to avoid. Here are my tips for