Consumer awareness and the return of hotel discounts

Although the cost of a flight can be significant, the most expensive part of a vacation budget, a weekend away or long term travel is always accommodation. In fact, while most people will try to stretch their budget by eating in cheap restaurants (instead of using restaurant discounts) or cutting back on activities, when actually, the best way to make the most of a travel budget does not require you to cut back on spending money, but rather to use hotel discounts to greatly reduce the largest expense of your trip.

Consumer awareness, rate parity and the return of hotel discounts

Hotel discounts in particular have not always been the answer, for most booking engines have made cheap hotel rooms readily available for the past decade without needing them.

However, the introduction of a new law called “Rate Parity” has had a major impact on the travel industry in that these booking engines are no longer able to offer a range of prices across different distribution channels.

Most consumers are unaware of the above mentioned law, in fact most consumers are unlikely to realize the huge impact it has had on their travel plans already. Truth is, this is news that most travel brands do not want you to know, as it essentially means they can no longer offer the lowest price.

Although there is one exception to the laws of rate parity which come in the shape of travel membership clubs.
Hotel discounts

Travel clubs and hotel discounts

Travel clubs are now the missing link when it comes to finding the best hotel rates or the biggest hotel discounts. Famous in the 1970’s but deemed obsolete with the arrival of the internet, these clubs have returned to the travel industry with vigor since the arrival of the rate parity law, with the main reason that they are exempt from such restrictions.

Hotels Etc is the leading travel club in the US who negotiates huge discounts with suppliers and passes them on to members who pay a small membership fee for the privilege. Not only is it a simple process in getting signed up, but Hotels Etc also makes it extremely easy for members to simply log on, search for the hotel, vacation or discount needed, and avail of it right away.

With a reputation spanning more than 20 years, a membership base of 4 million and the largest selection of discounts online, Hotels Etc is a the first and only place you should ever need to help make your next trip a most affordable one.

Although the major travel brands are unlikely to disappear any time soon, it is only a matter of time until the consumer will learn of this new law and the huge effect it has with regard to online purchases. From this point the options are clear; you can continue to spend more money on hotel rooms at full price, or you can avail of genuine hotel discounts and pay less for the very same products or service.

You can sign up for a free trial with Hotels Etc today.

Top 5 best restaurants in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is one of those rare destinations that feels like feels like a vacation in another exotic country rather than here at home in the US. Diverse and modern, Palm Springs has a wide range of resorts and hotels with high quality comfort, excellent swimming pools and many activities, but a specific attraction of a vacation here, are the endless great food options available around town.

Things is, eating out can be one of the largest parts of a budget when it comes to travel and so choosing the best restaurants in Palm Springs can be difficult when the prices are so high:

In this regard, here are 5 of the best eateries and how to find restaurant discounts for Palm Springs:

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Rooster And The Pig

What may seem like an unlikely choice is actually one of the most quaint and unique dining experiences in Palm Springs. Located close to Palm Canyon and in the unassuming interior of a shopping mall, Rooster and the Pig is a slightly odd yet delightful combination of American-Vietnamese cuisine and the brainchild of a former renowned Hotel director.

Leafy salads, specialized burgers and spicy dishes make up the menu, while the craft beers are predominantly of Vietnamese origin.

356 S Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe
Home fries and food, Wilma & Frieda’s is a little piece of local heaven for the foodie and located in an upscale neighborhood which contrasts from the humble servings on offer.
Although the surroundings are slightly upscale, the hearty food and simple combinations of potatoes, sauces and barbecue ribs are enough to make this eatery a worthwhile trip.
73575 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Ruby’s Diner
Another home food specialist, Ruby’s has a very inviting terrace on the main drag which draws visitors for morning coffee and people watching just as much as it does for the dinner menu.
Chicken wings, French fries and many variety of burgers including the Turkey Caliente Burger; Ruby’s is a fun place to eat where all the staff are dressed in 1950’s attire and everything else you need is right outside on the doorstep.
155 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

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Elmer’s Restaurant

Where waffles, coffee and syrup is concerned, Elmer’s is the best restaurant in Palm Springs to enjoy breakfast in particular.

In fact, the breakfast is so good that many visitors will return time and time again, although this may be attributed to the hugely friendly staff who operate this finely tuned machine. Family run and again, teeming with home cooked food, Elmer’s is a great option for anyone wanting to escape the glamorous sidewalks of downtown.

1030 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill

Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill receives a large number of repeat clients which is testament to the great atmosphere in the restaurant and the excellent variety of home cooked food.

Although the meat menu will naturally be a favorite in any grill restaurant, Sammy G’s serves up a seriously good pesto amongst many other styles of pasta. That being said, the burgers are to die for and the prices are reasonably low.

265 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

You can avail of restaurant discounts for Palm Springs with a travel club membership, for which Hotels Etc are currently offering a free trial.

Tips for visiting Orlando with kids

Incredible theme parks, world class restaurants, sublime weather and endless attractions. More and more Americans are now choosing to stay domestic on their vacations and with an itinerary packed full of the above, who would argue that Orlando, Florida offers the best variety of attractions for kids and one of the best places for vacation in the US.

Here are some theme park, food and hotel tips for visiting Orlando, Florida on your next vacation:

Tips for visiting Disney World with kids

Undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions in the US, a major favorite for the kids and then surrounded by many other attractions; Disney World is a huge draw and with this popularity, it brings huge crowds.

However, why visit when the lines are so long for attractions, when the park is overcrowded and overwhelming? Visit Disney World in the shoulder months of January or September and you will not have to wait in line for hours on end, not to mention how the cost of attractions, accommodation etc are usually much lower, especially if you are using hotel discounts or theme park discounts.

Another great way to save on headaches and confusion is to pick up a Fast Pass which is essentially a reservation system.

Where to eat with kids in Orlando
It doesn’t have to be a celebration, but every visit to Cafe Tu Tu Tango will feel like one for the kids especially. Set up like a giant artistic playground and infused with fun colorful staff, this cafe pulls out all the stops as well as great food to ensure you are having the best experience.
Another great place to eat in Orlando is Press 101 which offers a very healthy option for the family with a range of soups, simple meals and fine gourmet sandwiches. And then there is Dicks Last Resort which is arguably one of the most fun eating experiences anywhere in the world; rude, obnoxious and hilarious, it is not often your server is so amusing. The food is great, the entertainment is even better and the kids will absolutely love it.
As mentioned above, the best way to save on a budget when it comes to eating out is to use restaurant discounts provided by a travel club such as Hotels Etc. These travel membership cards are available to use at most major restaurants and can also be used on hotels, theme parks, golf clubs etc.

Where to find the best hotels in Orlando

International Drive is usually the location for the most affordable accommodation in Orlando, but if you are not on a strict budget, the kids will fall in love with the Disney Properties such as any of the All Star Resorts which can be found at a reasonable price when using hotel discounts.

However, Disney’s Animals Kingdom or Disney’s Boardwalk are two of the absolute crowd favorites with an endless line of attractions on the grounds, along with the finest dining options and world class facilities.

Regardless of where you stay, the hotels in Orlando are generally to a high standard, but where children are concerned, it is always best to cut down on the travel time and stay close to the main attractions. In this sense, it is always best to use hotel discounts, restaurant discounts etc to afford the best hotels and best places to eat.

Hotels Etc is a travel membership club who offer clients hotel discounts and more in return for a minimal membership fee. You can click here to sign up for a free trial with Hotels Etc today.

5 Adventures to take on a vacation in Maui

While its usually ideal as part of an itinerary, not everyone wants to sit next to the pool for their entire vacation or sunbathe on the beach until the sun disappears. In fact, tour operators and suppliers have been forced to make major changes in recent years to accommodate the more adventurous travelers, who enjoy getting into the outdoors just as much as they like to sit back and relax.

In terms of variety and things to do, it would be difficult to find a location more suitable than Maui, from the mountain biking, hill climbing, white sandy beaches, rugged coastline, to the bustling towns and more secluded areas on the island.

Here are 5 adventures to take on vacation in Maui:

Visit Hana for the journey

Hana is a town approximately 5 hours drive from Maui, but the attraction of taking this route is the journey itself. Cascading waterfalls and rugged cliff tops, walking trails and sweeping views across the ocean; the route to Hana is a spectacular coastal drive and the perfect opportunity to get away from the resorts, into the outdoors and find a little secluded pocket of the island for yourself.

Naturally, this option will involve having access to a car but thankfully renting is very affordable in Maui and with car rental discounts, it can cost very little at all.

Climb to the top of Haleakala

Rising early is not an easy thing to do on vacation, especially when given the choice, but had you known the extent of watching a sun rise from the summit of Haleakala Crater, it would not even be an option.

Spectacular views surround the crater itself, but on a clear morning you can also see Big Island or even Oahu. However, as with the previous activity, climbing the crater is where the real enjoyment of this adventure will lie and watching the view become more and more dramatic the higher you climb, is an unforgettable experience.

Mountain bike down the volcano

If climbing to the top is not on your list, then taking a wild downhill mountain bike ride on Haleakala certainly should be. More than 10,000 feet of descending over 40 miles, this is ax exhilarating tour which will delight even the most extreme adventure enthusiasts.

Not only will you get to coast the entire way down the volcano, but you will also get to see the sun rise that morning before setting off, without having to climb, or get out of bed as early as before.

Take a Ziplining Adventure

Located on Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains, this Ziplining adventure offers an opportunity to escape the beaches for an afternoon and feel the rush of adrenaline in the mountains. With unrivalled views of luscious landscape and the surrounding island, Ziplining is both fun, scenic and affordable.

There are 8 different ziplines across 4 valleys, all of the guides are highly experienced and the operator has an impeccable safety standard.

Walk the Pipiwai Trail

Aside from the snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and other things to do in Maui, hiking is the ideal way to explore the island and the Pipiwai Trail is a very convenient, yet highly rewarding trail.

Through Taro fields, dense forests and across peaceful cliff top trails overlooking the ocean, the trail itself is worth the hike, but there is also an enormous reward at the end, a 400 foot cascading waterfall. Pipiwai is suitable for all levels and easily accessed, although you do need to carry all food and water for the afternoon or morning.

Vacation discounts for Maui along with car rental discounts and hotel discounts can be found on Hotels Etc.

5 Reasons you need to visit Memphis, Tennessee

Elvis Presley, BB King, and Jerry Lee Lewis; all legendary figures who defined the music industry of their time and iconic symbols in American history. Memphis, Tennessee is synonymous with music and famous for the above musicians who have all recorded in the town, but regardless of whether these are some of your favorite artists, Memphis still offers a perfect destination for a weekend getaway in the US and unique escape from the predictable nature of the big city.

Here are 5 reasons you need to visit Memphis, Tennessee:

Beale Street: You can finally go walking in Memphis

Bruce Springstein once sang the line about this famous street in the song “Walking  in Memphis” and simply put, Beale street offers some of the most vibrant, musical and diverse nightlife in the United States. Many bars will cater to particular musical tastes, with Jazz clubs next door to Rock n’ Roll on outdoor terraces and modern themed bars in between.

Colorful street artists fill the pedestianized street outside, while many nightclubs will stay open into the early hours of the morning. Expect Elvis impersonators, energetic shows, enthusiastic local bar staff and a headache worth having the following morning; Beale Street in Memphis is a night to remember.

Sun Studios: Immerse yourself in the most iconic studio in America

A young Elvis Presley once walked into these studios to make his very first recording, as too did Jerry Lee Lewis and many more famous musicians over the years such as U2, Van Morrison and BB King.

Sun Studios is steeped in history and while the venue is very small, it offers an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of musical history and stand in the very spot where these artists began recording. With worn black and white photographs adorning the walls and many of the original instruments and devices still in place, Sun Studios certainly makes for a unique experience.

Graceland: Visit the home of the King

Visitor often comment that you need not be an Elvis fan or interested in his music to appreciate the grandeur and importance of Graceland. Elvis truly was the King of Rock’n’Roll and one of the first  celebrities who exuded a huge and overwhelming presence.

Flash cars, diamond clad chandeliers, incredibly intriguing furniture and luxury far beyond anything existing in those times; Graceland is an intimate encounter to a place which has long left a mark on peoples live, even the most famous. When you stand in the living room and realize that Elvis once played host to the Beatles on the very sofa before your eyes, you will need no explaining what is so special about a visit to Graceland.

Food: Enjoy the taste of Southern style cooking

Golden pancakes covered in syrup for breakfast; what better way to start a day than with a hearty Southern styled breakfast?

Memphis is renowned for fine food, great coffee shops and world class restaurants. While coffee may be a good way to pass time in the afternoon, the succulent barbecued meats are a major attraction in Memphis; try Huey’s for an enormous burger or dry ribs at the Bar-B-Q Shop.

No matter what taste you may have, Memphis has a wide range of Southern style restaurants and an endless variety of foods on offer at reasonable prices.

Tip: Click here for restaurant discounts.

American History: National Civil Rights Museum

Forgetting about the music for a minute, Memphis is also the location for a much more important part of history, the Civil Rights Museum.

Highly educational, the Museum is a walk down memory lane to a time when civil rights were largely denied and then overcome. Martin Luther King is naturally very central to this movement and it is a very eye opening account of America’s social history.

While it is sometimes sad and incredibly emotional, the National Civil Rights Museum is another great reason to visit Memphis.

For hotel discounts or any other types of discounts in Memphis, get signed up for a FREE trial with Hotels Etc today.

5 Affordable places to eat in New York

Most certainly one of the most interesting and enjoyable cities in the world, New York is also one of the most expensive, whether it be the cost of hotels, restaurants, transport and major attractions. Naturally, when it comes to food (and all of the above) the best way to cut down on these cost is by using restaurant discounts for New York but there is also the option of searching out some genuinely cheap places to eat.

Here is a list of 5 affordable places to eat in New York:

Joes Pizza

New York is famous for many things, and none less than Pizza. You can find great pizza for ten times the cost in world class restaurants next to Times Square, but searching out a genuine, local pizza parlor such as Joes Pizza in Greenwich Village. Not only do Joes ensure the finest an freshest produce with Italian tomatoes and the highest quality cheese, but they also keep their prices to a minimum and you can easily leave Joes without spending more than five bucks.

7 Carmine Street, @ Bleecker Street, New York

restaurant discounts

Il Bambino Panini, Astoria

Located in Astoria, this is another Italian themed eatery which is a touch of class for under $10. Separating itself from the crowd by serving their dishes in the form of Tapa’s, Il Bambino Panini is known for providing incredible variety when it comes to types of bread and cheese in particular. An ideal place to start the night, with cheap drinks to go with the tasty affordable eats.

34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria

Los Tacos #1

Expect a busy counter with a line up of regulars waiting for their daily dose of Taco heaven. Los Tacos is not only delicious, but an establishment serving generous portions for very low prices. Again, for less than $5 you can enjoy some fresh tortillas filled with the freshest ingredients, from avocado, succulent meats, colorful vegetables and creamy sauces. Not the most famous Taco restaurant in New York, and the many hundreds of satisfied regulars will be hoping it stays that way.

75 9th Ave, New York, NY

restaurant discounts

Crif Dogs

If you are genuinely looking for something quick, cheap and cheerful, look no further than Crif Dogs where the famous American hot dog has never been dressed so well. These may be priced at half the cost you might expect, but Crif’s do not cut corners and every serving is covered in tasty fillings to accompany the juicy dog itself. Several sides are also available including some stringy and strangely satisfying waffle fries.

113 St. Marks Pl ,New York

Amy’s Bakery

Open every day, filled with the kind of food you would expect to accompany the title of the cafe. Amy’s Bakery offers a wide range of home cooked food, tasty sandwiches and an assortment of fresh cakes. Quiet and unassuming, this bakery is a quaint place to enjoy breakfast, coffee or lunch and always with a low price attached to some food of high value.

672 Ninth Ave, New York

Aside from the cheap places to eat in New York, it can still be an affordable city to visit when using restaurant discounts, along with the many other special offers available through a Travel membership club. You can start a free trial for these discounts today with Hotels Etc.

How to spend a weekend in Chicago

Named after the full-of-hot-air politicians in the past, the Windy city is undoubtedly one of the best weekend destinations in the US, from the incredible array of world class restaurants, the fascinating Field Museum, the green and leafy Lincoln Park, to the endless designers stores and enormous shopping malls.

Here are few ideas for how to spend a weekend in Chicago:

Have breakfast at Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen

Both a celebrity haunt and a favorite for the “regular” locals, Manny’s is the best place to have breakfast in Chicago. It may very well look like a old rundown taxi rank coffee shop but this is certainly part of the appeal with Manny’s and strangely, one of the reasons it does so well. Expect huge corned beef sandwiches, pastrami on rye and hearty soups.

Take a photo with “the Bean” aka Cloud Gate

On a summers afternoon on weekends, this unusual sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor can feel like the centre piece of a major concert. Abstract art at its best, Cloud Gate is situated on AT & T Plaza in Millennium park right at the foot of some towering skyscrapers. It’s not just an unusual site, the reflections and trick photography opportunities make it one of the great free things to do in Chicago.

Visit the Zoo in Lincoln Park

Few cities around the world can claim to have a free Zoo in a luscious leafy park like Lincoln. Located a short bus or train ride from the city centre, Lincoln Park is a spacious green haven in the city suburbs of Chicago. One of the most amazing attractions at the Zoo are the giant polar bears, which you can view from side windows around the enclosure which can almost feel as though you are in there with them.

Have lunch at the top of the Hancock

The John Hancock is arguably the most recognizable sigh in Chicago and not only can you reach the top for amazing views, but you can also have lunch in a world class restaurant while you are up there. A reservation is required during holidays or peak times and prices can be a little high so make sure to have restaurant discounts with you before you go.

Watch the Chicago Cubs or even just visit Wrigley Field

If you are lucky enough to visit during the baseball season and manage to get your hands on a ticket, make sure to take in a game at Wrigley Field. Alternatively, it is possible to take a guided tour of the historic stadium which is not only a great chance to get an insiders view to the home of Chicago baseball, but also a way of finding out about an integral part of this city.

Have dinner at Alinea

Okay it may be the most famous restaurant in Chicago, but when you have restaurant discounts and the experience is this good, it’s hard to ignore. Alinea is akin to walking into an art gallery where everything is edible, the chefs make an art out of cooking, literally and food has never tasted so good. Do yourself a favor and try this sublime eatery out at least once in your lifetime.

Catch a sunset at Navy Pier

What better way to end a weekend in Chicago than to watch the sun go down at Navy Pier. Although it is admittedly a little more spectacular to watch the sun rise in the east, this happens pretty early in the morning, and we are assuming you will want to check out Chicago’s notoriously fun nightlife, for which you need only enter the nearest downtown bar, and you will know all about it.

You can avail of restaurant discounts with Hotels Etc who are currently offering a FREE trial which provides access to travel discounts, car rental discounts, hotel discounts and more.