Hotel Madness: Expensive parking vs. Tightly tucked-in sheets

hotel madness expensive parking tightly tucked-in sheets
The first round of Hotel Madness continues with #3 seed Expensive parking battling #14 seed Tightly tucked in sheets. Paying for gas and dealing with rental car companies can make trips a real pain in the butt. Add in having to pay an arm and a leg to park at the hotel and you’ll be ready to curse Henry Ford for ever inventing cars. Once you do get to your room, though, going to sleep will be a challenge if you don’t have the upper body strength to turn down your own bed. Hotel sheets are tucked tighter than a pair of jeggings on a hippopotamus. Who’s running the housekeeping department? Sgt. Slaughter?

We break down these two Hotel Madness annoyances below. Vote for the one that ticks you of the most and the winner will advance to the second round of action.

(3) Expensive Parking
Not all cities are conducive to walking. Heck, not all trips are in cities. Perhaps you’re on a road trip or had to rent a car in your destination because everything is spread out and people actually ask you if you lost your license because of a DUI should you even consider walking somewhere (we’re looking at you, LA). Some places just require you to have a car. And some hotels require you to pay $15 a day to park it there. Don’t forget to tip the valet $2 each time you need it, too.

(14) Tightly Tucked-In Sheets
Travelers come in all shapes and sizes from chunky to portly to fit. No traveler, however, is thin enough to fit under the covers once the those housekeepers make the bed. Drill sergeants don’t require blankets to be that tight. You shouldn’t need the Jaws of Life just to get into bed.

This is a tough one. Paying for parking is just plain tacky but your bed can make or break your trip. Which one bothers you more? Vote now!

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More Hotel Madness action:
#1 No free Wi-Fi vs. #16 Annoying hotel TV channel
#2 Bad front desk service vs. #15 Everything about TV remotes
#4 Resort fees vs. #13 Early housekeeping visits
#5 No airport shuttle vs. #12 One-ply toilet paper
#6 No free breakfast vs. #11 Expensive minibars
#7 Bad water pressure vs. #10 Small towels
#8 Room not ready on time vs. #9 Early checkout times

First round voting ends at 11:59EDT on Sunday, March 20.

Follow along with the Hotel Madness tournament here.

Delta SkyMiles Medallion parking lot coming to Braves’ Turner Field

braves medallionDelta’s been Atlanta’s hometown airline for decades, and it looks like the bond between the two is getting a little stronger with the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Delta Air Lines and the Atlanta Braves have announced a partnership that will lead to the opening of a new lot at Turner Field. Or, at least a re-branded portion of a lot. The current Green Park Lot — which is located directly across from the main entrance to Turner Field at the corner of Hank Aaron Drive and Ralph D. Abernathy Drive — will have 500 spots converted into dedicated spots for SkyMiles Medallion members. The upside here is the location; this is one of the closest places to park for the game, and should prove a perfect spot for tailgating activities. The downside is that you’ll still be required to pay the normal rate ($12 as of today) for parking.

In our opinion, Delta could’ve cut those who are Gold, Platinum or Diamond a break — possibly a free or discounted spot in return for their loyalty. As it stands, any Medallion member can show up and occupy the spot so long as they bring along their Medallion card, but there doesn’t look to be any price breaks in the cards. Still, it’s a nice (if minor) perk for being loyal to Delta, particularly for Atlanta-based Braves fans, and hopefully those with higher statuses will see a discount in their future. Hint, hint, Delta.

If you’re looking to take advantage, the SkyMiles Medallion Lot will available starting with the Braves scheduled exhibition games at Turner Field on March 29th and 30th. Their home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies is set for 7:35 p.m. ET, Friday, April 8, 2011.

Photo of the Day (05.24.10)

There’s nothing worse than forgetting where you parked your rental car. Well, perhaps worse is when you forget what kind of rental car you had in the first place. How do you find a car when you don’t even know what car you’re trying to find? I’m pretty sure this guy always remembers where he parked. Security is his big problem. Flickr user u07ch spotted this “motorist” in Belfast keeping an eye on his vehicle because he failed to splurge on a proper alarm system. I guess it beats coming back to your rental car and finding that your GPS has been stolen. Come to think of it, this guy doesn’t even appear to have GPS. How’s he going to find the closest Apple Store?

Have a picture of unusual forms of transportation? Submit your best travel images to Gadling’s Flickr group right now and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

Worst travel mistakes of the 2000’s: Diplomatic Dipsticks


As we take time to count our travel sins of the past decade, I get all teary-eyed and indecisive. Where to begin? Couldn’t we just say “Iraq” and be done with it? And are we including food mistakes? ‘Cuz I got some real doozies: how about shrimp ceviche from a quaint Mexican beach cafe or fresh cut watermelon in India? Uh, those would be travel mistakes, no? But like, since we’re trying to refrain from the scatological (are we?), I choose to relate the following story of which I may or may not have played a small cameo role:

Once upon a time, there were two young men working in Brussels, preparing to embark on a business trip to poor, struggling, deprived Eastern Europe. Filled with kindness and goodwill, the two decided they would add a charitable purpose to their journey by driving across Europe in their vehicle–a beige, 1975 Mercedes with a good 250,000 km under her belt–and filling it with used office computers to give away to the lesser half of the digital divide.

in order to ease their way through the red tape of certain notorious Eastern European countries, the boss of the young men lent them a pair of expired diplomatic license plates, which (in Euro-capital Brussels) tends to grant you permission to do whatever you want: park on the sidewalk, speed a little bit, drive like a maniac, etc. So, the young men screwed on the two red license plates and set off on their grand cross-European adventure.

Feeling confident with their special diplomatic status, the young men parked in the city center of lovely Budapest for a break. They wandered about for hours sightseeing and upon returning, discovered not one, but TWO parking tickets fluttering from the car’s windshield wiper. As they wrung their hands with worry for this small misfortune, a Hungarian policeman approached them, pointing out the fresh car ticket and asking for additional information. Immediately after that, a second Hungarian policeman approached from the rear, pointing to the second parking ticket.The young men stood back and watched with awe as the two Hungarian policemen began to argue with each other. Both policeman had issued parking tickets, both wanted glory for punishing the foreign offenders and yet, upon closer look, they had in fact issued tickets to two different cars. The pair of diplomatic license plates were actually different number plates gleaned from different cars, and each cop had recorded only one of the numbers on the ticket. It was also soon revealed that both were expired plates. The young men could not respond to the policemen’s inquiry as to the actual registration number for their car. This led to the car getting towed to the outskirts of Budapest and a thorough search being conducted during which time, a dozen computers were found stashed in the backseat and trunk of the car.

To make a long story short, it was something of an international incident that required some top-level EU intervention to resolve. Anyone who traveled in Central and Eastern Europe in the early 2000s will remember the huge stolen car rackets that pervaded and made it nigh impossible to rent a car. After this little glitch, it was a miracle that the car was eventually released back to the young men and they were able to drive back to Brussels.

And so the moral of the story is: When in Budapest, make sure your back matches your front. Always.

Five ways to get to the airport

Your bags are sitting in the hallway, and you’re ready to go to the airport. How to get there involves a tradeoff between cost and hassle. A sacrifice is always necessary, and it’s significant: you’ll have to give up something important. But, this is the nature of travel, so the best you can do is understand the good and bad associated with each.

1. Drive
Take yourself to the airport, and you don’t have to rely on anyone else’s schedule. You own your time. But, you may have to deal with traffic, and parking can get expensive. Choose a long-term parking lot to trade convenience for savings.

2. Taxi
This is more an urban option. It’s cheaper than a town car but can still become costly, especially with tolls and tip. If it’s early in the morning or raining, you might have trouble finding a cab.

3. Public transportation
Public transportation is generally the cheapest alternative, but leave lots of time (especially if you live in the suburbs); it can take hours. How much is your time worth?

4. Town car/limo
You’ll pay to play with a town car or limousine, which can be the most expensive (unless you drive to an airport that charges a small fortune for parking … and you’re taking a long trip). But, your car should arrive early and be ready to wait for you (no honking or phone calls until you’re a little late), and it will be clean and comfortable.

5. Find a friend
Convince someone to drive you, and you save a fortune and win some convenience. Do this too often, though, and your friends will hate you.