Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Using The Day Before a Trip as Insurance

Note: Stupid Tip of the Day is a not-so-new regular feature of The Gate which will not be featured regularly — if at all — after today…or maybe not; but I am thinking of changing the name of this series; which depicts advice that is so well hidden in plain sight that it may seem too obvious to impart and that everyone probably knows about it, leading the person giving the advice to think that someone else might think it is actually stupid — and have second thoughts about giving it after all. Suggestions for changing the name of this series are welcomed; so please post them in the Comments section below.

“I  have on a few occasions spent the night at the EWR Marriott because I had a 6AM flight out the next day. When I am looking forward to a trip to Hawaii for 6 months, the last thing that is going to derail that is a missed outbound flight because my car decided not to start, you get flat tire on the way to the airport, construction, or a car service that forgets to show up. When a trip is costing several thousands of dollars (or using valuable hotel points and air miles) a $150 room at the airport the night before in my opinion is ‘insurance’ well spent.”

The paragraph you just read is a great piece of valuable advice pertaining to using the day before a trip as insurance as imparted by Captain Kirk, who is a reader of The Gate; and I have allotted a spare day myself with an extra night in a hotel room to mitigate — or even eliminate — the potential jeopardization of an overall itinerary threatened by any unforeseen anomalies or irregular operations which could throw the plans of an entire trip out of whack and ruin it. A delayed flight or inclement weather are two of the many possibilities which could “throw a wrench” into what would otherwise be a well-planned trip designed to be executed smoothly.

Some people do like to “live on the edge” and not want to spend an extra day wasted on travel — perhaps to get that extra day of work in; or to spend more time with family — and will time their itineraries close with little room for error. I know I have done that at times and fortunately rarely have I been burned; but that depends on a number of factors — including just how important it was to me to protect the itinerary from going awry; how well I know all of the components of my itinerary; and the alternate plans I have available to me should the itinerary go sour from some unexpectedly unavoidable interruption…

…but there are times when arriving a day early and staying at a hotel property at a destination before embarking on something important which has been scheduled the next day — or arriving at a hotel at the airport of the origin of your trip the day before an early morning flight — gives that insurance about which Captain Kirk speaks; which was the result of reading this article I posted yesterday pertaining to 6 reasons why I usually prefer to stay at hotels near airports.

The nice part about that “insurance policy” is that it significantly lowers — or even eliminates — the chance of a trip gone awry; and you can simultaneously earn frequent guest loyalty program points for staying that extra night in a hotel room. The cost of the hotel room, parking an extra day at the airport if you drive there, and the purchase of any meals will add to the cost of your trip — but as Captain Kirk stated, it “is ‘insurance’ well spent.” It also potentially gives you peace of mind as you relax that extra night away from home.

By the way — one more thing, Captain Kirk: I do not have a photograph of the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott hotel property; but I do have a photograph of the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott, which is what I used at the top of this article…

…and thank you for your advice, which I hope helps other fellow travelers.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. great tip. Also when you arrive the evening before you can travel after rush hour, and/or you don’t have to get up ridiculously early to catch the early morning flight.

    1. Ah, yes, Hans. “Rush” hour. What a misnomer if there ever was one.

      Beating rush hour in many cities elevates the value even more for this tip…

  2. The other cool thing is many Airport hotels offer a park and stay option. So in addition to the “insurance” you can also save on parking. I stayed at the Intercontinental near O’Hare and the savings in parking fees alone, paid for the room.

    1. That is absolutely true, Trever S. I have taken advantage of that as well. Some rental car facilities located near airports will also offer discounted or free parking if you rent a car from them, as has happened to me at LaGuardia Airport some years ago when I suddenly had to schedule a trip within a trip.

      In fact — on a separate note — many hotel properties located near airports usually participate in programs where they offer parking on their lots for a discount, which competes with airport parking facilities. I intend to write about this in a future article…

    2. Good point! The EWR Marriott actually does offer that option. I haven’t taken advantage of it since I take the train to EWR as I don’t live all that far from the airport and NJT can get me there for a few bucks. That way, on a week vacation to say Hawaii, I can avoid that awesome easily $200+ parking bill when I get back.

  3. Thanks Brian for the post! I never imagined it would be featured in one of your articles. I think your column is one of if not the best blog on BoardingArea! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Captain Kirk — and thank you for the story idea. I truly appreciate them!

      I am catching up on responding to the Comments now; so please accept my apologies for not responding sooner.

  4. I have found the need or desire to do this on occasion flying from TPA with early flights. The Marriott at TPA is super convenient as it’s attached to the airport and also offers parking deals. I live about 45 minutes (on a good traffic day) from TPA so for very early flights it’s a must at this point especially as I am not really a morning person.

    1. I am glad that has worked out for you, Graydon. Thank you for sharing.

      On a completely unrelated topic, my problem is that I am a night person — but I do like the mornings; and I prefer not to take naps.

      Other than not sleeping, what do I do?

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