Thanks to online reservations sites, booking a hotel and other accommodations overseas is as easy as booking a room in the United States. But be alert for some different interpretations of written descriptions. Staff, clients, and friends at Luxury Mansion Rentals have some surprises to share gleaned from their global travels.
The First Floor Is the Second Floor
In many European countries, the first floor is located where we would expect the second floor. Instead of the first floor, they instead have the ground floor, also called the piano nobile. Factor in your luggage and fitness level before booking a room above the ground floor. In some countries, electricity is not as reliable as in the United States so the lift may be out of order when you most need it. In any hotel, staff should assist with luggage, but do not depend on it. Expecting the best, be prepared to tip your luggage handlers. But know what floor you will be on in case you have to manage your luggage yourself.
You May Not Get the Ocean View You Wanted
“Ocean view” is a loosely defined term in the real estate and hospitality industries in the United States and overseas. Sometimes a guest can glimpse the ocean by standing on a chair and assuming a difficult yoga position. Sometimes the ocean can be seen from the balcony by people who can twist their bodies like pretzels. Try to find photos of the room you reserve that include the view. Ask questions if you can. Or, just expect to be pleasantly surprised if your ocean view can be enjoyed from your bed or a comfortable chair.
“Ocean front” can be misleading. An oceanfront hotel often does not have all ocean front rooms. Some rooms may face the parking lot, courtyard, a highway, or an unattractive industrial site. Be sure to specify and get it in writing: ocean front room.
Getting a Taxi May Be Difficult
When relying on a taxi, know that the taxi drivers may not speak English. Thus, always carry a card with the hotel name and address plainly printed. Do not expect the driver to be able to decipher your handwriting. Also, while in the airport, use an ATM or currency exchange to get enough funds in local currency to pay for a taxi because taxis only take cash.
The Desk Clerk May Not Speak English
If the desk clerk speaks English, it may be basic but sufficient for check-in conversations and answers to typical questions. If the desk clerk does not speak English, he will know the usual words used during the check-in process. In any case, miming requests and transactions work well. But be sure you know the word for several helpful phrases that will get you by, such as “hello,” “thank you,” “Do you speak English,” “Where is…” etc.
The Country May Not Accept Your Card
Be sure to check which credit cards the country you’re visiting accepts before you leave home. A guest in a five-star hotel in Novgorod, Russia, found that the hotel accepted MasterCard but not her VISA. She used her ATM card to collect a pile of rubles over several days and paid her hotel bill in cash. When traveling, make sure to bring lots of cash with you in case this happens.
Also, be sure your credit card has a chip as most European hotels, stores, and restaurants can no longer swipe cards. Fortunately, most US credit cards have caught up with the need for chips. Swiping credit cards is not as safe as using the electronic chip embedded in credit and ATM cards.
Stress-free travel is a priority at Luxury Mansion Rentals. And hopefully this article has given you enough knowledge to prepaire yourself for your next trip.