—Cities have myriad name-brand hotels like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Holiday Inn, but be aware that places like New York and London may have dozens of properties of one name. When you check in, pick up a card with the hotel’s name, address and phone number. If you get lost, don’t speak the language, or just need to call the hotel, the information is at your fingertips to give to a cabdriver.
—Always request two key cards, even if you're by yourself. Keep one away from the other, not only in case you lose one, but also if your cell phone zaps it clean. You then have a spare without having to go all the way back to reception, which can sometimes be a long walk along endless hallways and wings of places like Opryland Hotel or the MGM Grand.
—Save a ton of money by opting for a room without a view. Just get a regular room and enjoy spending the extra money you save, sometimes hundreds of dollars for a room sans view, for activities and dining options. After all, you're only in the room for a short time, and at night it's too dark to see the view anyway.
—Ask for a hotel room away from the elevator or stairwell, both of which can be noisy sleep thieves, or one that’s in the middle of the hallway and not facing the street. Stuck in one anyway? There's an app for that. Search for terms like white noise, sound machine or nature sounds, then it’s on to sweet, quiet dreams and an all-around better vacation experience.