Do’s & Don’ts: Staying In Hotels

Whether you travel boujee or frugal, you’ve most likely stayed in a hotel or motel before. While staying as a guest in a foreign place it is sometimes easy to lose sight of common courtesy or general “rules” to look out for. Here are some of our top Do’s and Don’ts for staying in hotels.

DO – Get a safe box, especially if you are staying for a long period of time. Most hotel staff will respect your belongings and room, but unfortunately for those few who do not, we need to take extra precautions. Most rooms come with a safe.

DON’T – Abuse room service. I’ve literally never rung room service. It is a nice luxury to have, and if it is offered at your hotel feel free to use it. However, keep in mind that the servers and hotel staff are people too and should not be treated as a servant. Room service can also be quite costly.

DO – Tip the cleaning staff. Depending on where you are vacationing, the staff may get paid minimal wages or less to work at the hotel you are staying at. For some workers getting tips could mean being able to afford their rent or not. Even just a few dollars can show your appreciation for their help and can go a long way.

DON’T  – Throw a rowdy party. You’re on holidays, go out to the club or a bar and drink and dance all you want, as loud as you want without disturbing anyone’s sleep. People are literally paying to sleep there and will be displeased if your shenanigans get in the way of that. The last thing you want is a noise complaint, fine, or angry vacationers.

DO – Try to clean up after yourself as much as possible. Whether I am on vacation or not I also want to minimize the amount of work others need to do. Things like making the bed or taking out the trash are things you aren’t obligated to do because you do not have access to clean sheets nor a garbage disposal, however, you can clear clutter, fold your clothes and hang your towels.

DON’T – Steal hotel property. It’s ok to take the shampoo, body lotion and hand soap, but do not take the towels, bed sheets, or anything else that is not up for grabs. Not only is this not right, but hotels do inventory checks after guests leave and if anything is missing you will be paying for it!

Agree? Disagree? What was the craziest hotel experience you had? Share with us and drop us a comment below! We would love to hear from you!

What We Did In Less Than 24 Hours In Toronto

Sometimes you just want to go somewhere but may not have all the time in the world to do so. For us, Toronto is 5 hours away from home so making a short trip needs to be worth it. It was Marco’s birthday this past weekend (Happy Birthday!) so I decided to treat him to a weekend getaway.

Saturday 12:00pm – 5:30pm
On Saturday morning, the day of Marco’s birthday, I surprised him by telling him to pack a bag and hit the road with me to Toronto. We dropped off Poco (our dog) at my parents house and began our journey! The traffic was a bit heavy when entering Toronto and took us a while to find the hotel but we made it in great time!

Saturday 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Medieval Times! I had never been and neither had Marco. He absolutely loves medieval everything and I thought he would find it enjoyable – he did! I did too! We absolutely loved it. It can be slightly corny but overall was a great experience and the food was actually really good. For those who don’t know, Medieval Times is a spot in Toronto where guests eat with their hands and watch a show of knights riding on horses and playing games to claim victory. Guests are assigned a coloured section which corresponds to that of one of the knights and this is the knight you cheer for (you also get to boo the opposing team sitting across from you).

They also address you as “My Lord” and “My Lady”, which is super cool. We got some super awesome drinks from the bar prior to the dinner and show and purchased some AWESOME light-up cups that we got to keep. These will surely be a party favourite at home!

Sunday 10:00am – 12:00pm
The next day we decided to check out the Ripley’s Aquarium. It was absolutely incredible. Again, another attraction we had not seen but were really impressed by. It surprisingly was not overly busy and we were able to snap some great photos (keep an eye on our Instagram for more!). We learned a lot about fish and other sea creatures and made some great memories in record time.

Pro Tip: We purchased the tickets online ahead of time and bought the “timed” ticket (you check in at a certain time). You save some money and it gives you a little more structure to your day as well. I also added these to my “Wallet” on my iPhone. I’ve never used the wallet app before but found this incredibly handy as I did not need to sift through emails for a confirmation nor wait in line to purchase tickets onsite. If you have an iPhone I highly suggest doing this whenever it is available.

Sunday 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Arepa’s for brunch! We make arepa’s at home quite regularly but we heard of this arepa place and had to check it out. It was only a 5 minute drive from the aquarium and incredibly delicious! For those who don’t know, an arepa is a Venezuelan dish made of corn flower and whatever you want to put inside it. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner (desert even!) and literally put whatever fillings, toppings or sauces you desire.

Photo 2017-09-10, 11 54 44

Sunday 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Home trek back to Ottawa! The drive back was a bit better. We wished we could have stayed longer but time was not on our side and well, we have responsibilities to report to tomorrow (yuck!). We tried to squeeze as much as we could into such a short trip for Marco’s birthday, but I believe the best gifts to give are experiences and not items (or both!).

Although it was a short little trip we really enjoyed ourselves and needed a little break from the usual scenery we are surrounded by. I highly encourage you to take small getaways every once and while. They may not be five star luxury holidays but the little trips will surely give you some lasting memories.

Have you taken a short trip lately that you absolutely loved (or absolutely dreaded)? Where is your next small travel going to bring you next? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear from you!

What We Learned From Staying in the Heart of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Because of the cost-effective folk that we are we opted for a Hotel, not resort, in the heart of downtown Playa Del Carmen. We decided on a breakfast plan instead of all-inclusive and chose the cheaper dates to fly out on. We had an amazing time and I would not have done our trip any other way and I’ll tell you why. Here are the things we learned while staying right amidst all the action.

All Inclusive, What?
At first when you see a vacation package that offers “All Inclusive” you think you are getting great value and a great deal, and this may be the case for some, however we actually much more enjoyed the breakfast plan! We were able to eat our breakfast at the hotel prior to leaving on a bus for the day to our excursions (we had a lot of excursions and lunch was always provided and included in the cost). At night when we got hungry we could go venturing into Playa Del Carmen and check out a new restaurant every time. There were many options to choose from and many different varieties (there was even an Irish Pub!). We found we probably saved money and had a more authentic experience of the city.

The Hustle Is Real
Playa Del Carmen, being a tourist destination, tourism is what the locals here rely on for their main source of income. There are many shops, restaurants, products and services that they will offer you. Some of these people are very friendly and polite, but beware as the competition is high and many will say things to your that are untrue to get your attention. We had multiple people say very similar lines including “Remember me from the Hotel?” or “I was your waiter at the restaurant!” or simply “remember me?”. Like any other business they are doing their jobs, so don’t be rude to them – but it is best to be short and just smile and say “No thank you.”.

Rain and Shine
This may not come to a surprise to you if you’re from a climate where this occurs, however in Ottawa this is definitely not the case. We were amazed by how short the rain falls were in duration and by how quickly things were able to dry up following an afternoon shower. Here in Ottawa when it rains it pours and stays wet for hours afterwards – so this was a real treat!