The Ultimate Travel Hack: BookSmart Submitted On August 27, 2014 So you want to be the MacGyver of travel: build epic vacations from everyday materials, stick to a budget, and hit the road home with memories just a little too good to be true. Step inside, young grasshopper. It can take years of dedication and perseverance to become a true travel guru, but there is one trick you can learn from the masters in mere seconds, the travel hack of all travel hacks, and it will never fail you. Are you ready? Here it is. BookSmart. Make your reservation directly with your hotel, resort, or inn. Use whatever means necessary. A rotary telephone. The resort’s website. Hop out of the helicopter on your way back from saving the world for a rendezvous with a front desk agent. It doesn’t matter if you think you’ve found a better rate from an online mega travel site. Most hotels guarantee their best rate for direct bookings, and are often happy to match that lower rate if you find it. Your intrepid decision will immediately start to pay dividends. Remember that big travel websites are middlemen. Their reservations are incredibly difficult for your hotel’s staff to revise should you need to change your plans. On top of that, they take up to a 30% commission on each reservation — money that would otherwise stay local to help your hotel offer a better experience. When you make a reservation directly with a hotel online or over the phone, you make a personal connection with the people who will take care of you when you arrive. Your chances of getting a room upgrade or a free breakfast go up. Your chances of someone 2,000 miles away at a mega travel site doing a little something special stay the same: zero. Anxious to test out the newest addition to your arsenal of travel hacks? You can BookSmart with over 250 New England inns and resorts at NewEnglandInnsandResorts.com. Search lodging types, rates, and availability the same way you would on a mega travel site. We’ll show you to the property’s own reservation system to book your stay and get your vacation off to the best possible start.