Greetings from the Country Inn and Suites in Lumberton, North Carolina! I’m doing the I-95 drive from DC to Florida AGAIN and wanted to dash off a quick PSA before I forget. Check in last night, well this morning, was a lot more painful than it needed to be because I’ve now made the same road trip mistake twice.
The East Coast slog from DC to Orlando can take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours depending on the traffic. Because of this I tend not to make hotel reservations en route as I don’t know how far I’ll get or when I’ll get too tired to drive.
The first time I made my mistake was in June returning from Orlando with Deal Girl. We pushed until after 1AM and I pulled over and grabbed my cell phone to take a look at what hotels were nearby. I saw a Hampton Inn that had rooms listed around $80. (Hilton was even having a 2x points promo, bonus!) Exhausted, I tried to make a reservation online.
See my mistake yet?
Well, online systems didn’t understand why I wanted a room YESTERDAY. The room I saw was actually for the next night. Fortunately the hotel did have one room left when we pulled in but I could have saved a bunch of worry if I’d booked at 11:59 PM.
This time I left DC around 6:30 PM and made it almost to the South of the Border and its folksy racism. Remembering my mistake, I pulled off north of Fayetteville around 11:45PM. Surveying my options, I found a Club Carlson property that only cost 15,000 points 90 minutes down the road- perfect.
Except for two things.
- The clock on the dashboard was 5 minutes slow- so it was actually 11:50.
- I had to reset my #$@@#$%@ Club Carlson password. Note to Club Carlson: Why do you need a CAPITAL LETTER, a lower case letter, a number, & a symbol in your password? Your points just aren’t that valuable!
So by the time I got the password reset email it was 12:01AM. Crap.
Sure enough, the flummoxed overnight desk clerk and the club carlson rep (who was a gem) needed 20 minutes to work through how to book points in the past. 20 minutes I could have been sleeping.
So I hope you learn from my mistake: book your last minute hotel room before Midnight EST.
Or at least I hope I do.
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