How to Get Better Travel Deals

Have you heard the saying, “Act like you’ve been there?”

What does it mean?

Admittedly, I hear this most often in a sports context. It essentially means to not be overly exuberant about your small victories.

Score a touchdown? Hand the ball to the ref instead of orchestrating an elaborate celebration ceremony.

Hit a home run or score a goal? Accept it and move on to the next task.

Celebrate on the inside and don’t show up (embarrass) your opponent.

In other words, Act Like You’ve Been There.

Way back in my competitive baseball days, I practiced every day with a friend—I will call him Jackson. Jackson was five years older than I but he pretended he was my age. One day a former major leaguer, a friend of a friend of Jackson, showed up. After that workout, in which I was trying to help Jackson look good, the big shot asked me if I wanted to play for his friend (another former MLB player) in Japan. He said that he could tell that Jackson was older than he acted but that my “vibe was right.”

Another Jackson story. We practiced at various parks in Southern California. One time we met at Compton High School. I arrived about 15 minutes early. Oh yeah, this was around 1987, when Compton was not an ideal place to be hanging around. A couple of local guys approached me and I, in hindsight, should have had every reason to fear for my life. Calmly and confidently I just said that I was waiting for Jackson. One of them recognized his name. Jackson soon drove up, jumped out of his car, and told them to leave me alone (probably said something like, “he’s down.”). No doubt, I could have made the situation much worse, mostly for me. By acting like I belonged there, it WAS down.

What does it have to do with travel and getting travel deals?

Travel is better when I act like I belong.

Recently, during a long and hot walk around Key West, I went into a private resort’s pool area and filled my water bottle with cold water from a pitcher sitting on the bar. I said Hello to the bartender. While pouring the water, another person came in and asked if they could use the restroom. She said that property amenities are for guests only.

Perhaps she would have told me the same thing if I asked.

I used to settle for a stinky rental car or substandard hotel room. Many people will tweet or bash the supplier on TripAdvisor or Facebook, rather than simply ask for a better room, car, or cabin.

Whether traveling in questionable areas, getting cold water, or asking for a better room or car, I am comfortable with different travel situations. I feel like I have a right to be there or deserve a better deal, and often ask for it.

More than once, I have requested a better seat and have been given a first class upgrade. It does not hurt to ask.

You deserve better travel deals. To get them, act like you have been there.

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