The Year’s Best Hotel Perks, Expert Hacks, Travel Apps, and More

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Whether you’re looking for the best way to upgrade your trip or the best site for booking it, here are the must-know travel tips, apps, and more to make the most out of your next getaway.

How to Score Cooler Hotel Perks

A Gear Garage

The complimentary gear garage at Denver’s Halcyon Hotel feels like a mini REI, stocked with everything you need in the city (scooters, longboards) and the mountains (snowshoes, backpacks). They even have GoPros.

A Record Store

At Austin’s Hotel St. Cecilia, rooms are outfitted with Rega turntables, and if you don’t dig the house selection of vinyl, the concierge can arrange a private shopping excursion to indie store Breakaway Records.

A Costume Closet

Jackson Hole’s Caldera House boasts North America’s largest ski lockers, tricked out with phone chargers and boot dryers, plus drawers stocked with candy and champagne. It also has a costume closet, in case you really want to go all-out on the slopes.

A Loaner Guitar

The Pendry San Diego’s partnership with San Diego–based Taylor Guitars gives guests complimentary access to a koa-wood GS Mini-e guitar.

 

 

How to Upgrade Your Getaway

Air: Emirates Air Business Class

The Dubai-based airline has a chauffeur to drive you to the airport, where you’re brought to a VIP lounge. Onboard, your seat comes with its own mini-bar, and meal service feels like fine dining, with multicourse dinners on request.

Car: Silvercar

This Audi-owned car rental service lets you book an A4, Q5, or A5 for only slightly more than most full-size rentals at a place like Hertz, and picking it up at the airport is a breeze.

Credit Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Card

It’s cheaper than most rewards cards ($95 annually), and it offers 10x points when booking on Hotels.com, an $89 credit for TSA PreCheck, and $3,000 in lost-luggage reimbursement.

 

How to Hack Your Getaway

Flights: skiplagged.com

This app finds you wildly cheaper flights by booking less-traveled, less-expensive routes that are preceded by a layover in your desired destination. By skipping the flight’s final leg and staying at your layover, you can save more than 50 percent. Just be prepared: It only works one way and you’re limited to a carry-on.

Airport Lounges: Loungebuddy

Provide your itinerary, credit card rewards program, and frequent flier status, and the free app spits out a list of the closest eligible lounges in proximity to your gate. You can book day passes for as low as $25.

WiFi: Skyroam Solis Global

For $9 a day, this creates a mobile hotspot that works with multiple devices in 130-plus countries. It also doubles as a power bank for charging. You can buy it for $150 or rent one as needed.

 

Best Dubious App: BuckleUp

There’s no shortage of dating apps these days, and now there’s one for in flight, too: BuckleUp. It uses your phone’s Bluetooth connection to let you match and chat with others nearby—up to a 230-foot radius—without WiFi or cell service, perfect for airplane mode at 30,000 feet. The proximity limit means the pool of candidates is, well, limited. But if you can’t sleep on a long-haul flight or are bored with the airline’s selection of movies, we can’t argue against at least trying it. A “ghost” mode allows your profile to be visible only when you want to, so there’s at least some privacy. Which is more than you’ll get if you do manage a mile-high hookup.

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