Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. That means, for many, the shopping has begun and people are nailing down travel plans. If history is any indicator, more than one-third of Americans could take to the skies, roads and railways for the year-end holidays to be with family and friends.
While that means a lot of parties, pies and presents, it also means the potential for inevitable holiday travel woes and hassles of preparing at home (think shopping for presents, finding the best travel deals, hosting guests or being a houseguest who is forced to sleep on an air mattress or childhood twin bed).
To help alleviate the stress and make this holiday season the best yet, consider the below tips and gifts from Hilton on how to survive the busiest months of the year.
- Look for available travel perks early so that you don’t miss out on them: There’s almost nothing worse than finding out about perks that you could have used but didn’t. Possible perks range from room discounts to an online check-in system that allows you to digitally choose your own room before you even arrive.
- Familiarize yourself with all the available perks you can access before, during and even after a trip. At Hilton, signing up for the free-to-join Hilton Honors guest loyalty program and booking directly through the company’s channels (such as online or via the Hilton Honors app) is the best way to maximize benefits, such as room rate discounts for Hilton Honors members, free Wi-Fi and online check-in. You can also earn Points for your stay that can be used towards future free nights and cool experiences, such as exclusive culinary events and concerts.
- Upgrade your accommodations: If traveling to see family, take a break from cramped quarters (and any overbearing relatives) and check into a hotel for some peace and quiet. Or, give the gift of a hotel stay to visiting family members to make sure they’re fully comfortable (or — let’s be real — just to get them out the house for a bit!). You can even use your Hilton Honors Points to book a last-minute room on a budget.
- Make sure you’re getting the best travel deal: The holidays are the time of year when spending can peak, so saving money can be key to surviving the season. Sales or discounts are one way to do that. With Hilton, consumers have access to some seasonal sales and a Price Match Guarantee that stipulates Hilton will match a lower, qualified price if a traveler finds one on another site, plus provide an additional 25 percent off the stay.
- Eliminate the stress of planning or hosting: The hospitality industry arguably knows how to entertain guests better than any, so leave at least some of the cooking, cleaning and entertaining to them. Take advantage of holiday programming like the iconic Teddy Bear Tea at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel or Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton. You can also consider treating the family to dinner or drinks out instead of hosting at home.
- Maintain your wellness routine on the road: The holidays are all about indulgence in everything from gifts to sweet treats, but don’t let that derail you from your commitment to staying fit and healthy. Make time for your workout even while on the road by recognizing potential roadblocks in advance and setting a firm game plan for how to fit in a quick sweat. That could include booking a Hilton Five Feet to Fitness room, conviently outfitted with an in-room gym, or trying these wellness hacks.
- Choose a hotel best suited for your trip: Whether traveling solo, with a significant other or with the whole family, picking the right kind of hotel is key for a seamless stay. Consider your must-haves, such as free breakfast or a hotel spa, and then learn about your options and choose accordingly for the trip you’re taking. Hilton makes this easy with its portfolio of 17 brands that offers something for everyone.
- Give yourself a Lyft — whether you’re traveling or at home: Holiday driving may be more stressful than holiday shopping thanks to heavy traffic, distracted drivers and limited parking. This season, when thinking about how you’ll get to all those holiday parties or the airport for a flight, consider catching a ride with Lyft. Hilton Honors members can automatically earn Points for rides and then use them towards their next getaway.
- Consider the gift of experience: Take the stress out of holiday shopping by avoiding overcrowded malls and hours of internet surfing and gifting an unexpected experience or adventure (a getaway or night out on the town) instead. Experiences are bookable with a Hilton Gift Card or with Points earned through Hilton’s free-to-join Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Some experiences you can buy with points include:
- For the foodie: Italian Cooking Masterclass & Tram Dinner in Milan
- Learn about Italian cooking from a master in a personal, hands-on cooking class with our Executive Chef at Hilton Milan. Then enjoy an exclusive gourmet dinner experience on board one of Milan’s historical trams, with exquisite Italian food and exceptional wines. While dining, sightsee from unique points of view as the tram passes scenic areas. This experience is available for redemption until May 31st, 2020.
- For the thrill seeker: Ski Adventure in the Swiss Mountains
- Take a ski adventure through the beautiful Swiss mountains in Davos Klosters, one of the most renowned vacation destinations in the world. As the highest town in Europe, Davos is famous for its diverse sports, its leisure and cultural facilities and its rejuvenating environment. Enjoy the unique blend of vibrant energy and peaceful mountain surroundings during this trip at Hilton Garden Inn Davos. Ski slopes open on November 21st, 2019.
- For the fitness lover: Ultimate Tuscan Experience: Culture, Golf, Wellness & More
- For a stay packed with culture, golf, wellness and more, consider a stay at La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena, Curio Collection by Hilton. This experience includes a self-guided tour of the medieval town of San Gimignano, admission to a medieval tower and lunch, wine tasting and gelato tasting. Guests will have one-day access to the Royal Golf La Bagnaia, an 18-hole golf course designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and rated one of the best and most beautiful courses in Italy. Guests will also get access to the Buddha Spa by Clarins. This experience has no set redemption date.
- For the entertainment fan: Private Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour
- Take a behind-the-scenes look into the world’s most famous arena with an all-access tour to Madison Square Garden. Visit exclusive parts of The Garden and hear its history from an expert tour guide who knows every legendary story. State-of-the-art virtual reality technology will offer a firsthand glimpse into the excitement of being at a world-class event at The Garden. This experience is for up to 10 guests and available until November 30th, 2019.
- For the wine enthusiast: Full Day Exploration of the Island of Wine
- Take the ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island, New Zealand's Island of Wine, for a full day of exploring and wine tasting at three iconic vineyards. First up is Mudbrick Vineyard, with a special cellar door tasting to learn about Mudbrick's varietals. Relax on the terrace or wander the garden, enjoying sweeping sea views. Then comes Cable Bay Vineyard. Its cellar door area was designed as the perfect space to learn about the winemaking process, with a window into the working winery below. Last but not least is Te Motu Vineyard, which is famous for rich, complex, Bordeaux-style wines and has a rural wine shed where you can sip among the vines. This has no set redemption date.
- For the foodie: Italian Cooking Masterclass & Tram Dinner in Milan
- Only take what you’ll eat, then go back for more: Reduce food waste at the buffet this holiday season by only taking what you will eat and going back for seconds (or thirds) later. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square is reducing food waste by placing signs next to the buffet that encourage its guests to do just that. The hotel has also implemented smaller buffet plates to reduce the amount of food being wasted on guests’ dishes.