Chances are that if you’re a regular cruiser, you also spend a fair amount of time in airports. And you probably dread doing so. Especially if you’ve just had the most amazing cruise, and now your post-vacation buzz will immediately be killed because you have to sit at the airport for six hours waiting for your flight home.
That’s exactly the prospect I was facing recently after a great cruise out of Miami. I’d gotten a great deal on a flight home, but it wasn’t departing until 5 p.m. Since we had to be off the ship by 10 a.m., I had a lot of time to kill.
It’s worth noting that I was up pretty late the night before, like many people do. So, sitting in the airport all day was not appealing. Instead of renting a car for the day or looking for an excursion, I turned to Google to find a hotel that offers day rates.
And that’s when I discovered Day Use, a company that lists hotel properties that offer day passes. While you don’t have to download the app to use it, I prefer apps over smartphone browsers, so I opted to download the app… especially since it seemed like the kind of thing I’d get more use in the future.
Finding My Hotel
While you can easily use the app to find a room the day you need it, you risk nothing being available. Instead, it’s probably smarter to try and find something in advance. Once you’ve booked your flight and know when you’ll need a room, it’s a good idea to try and book your day pass at a nearby hotel to make 100 percent sure you have a place to relax.
The app is about as user-friendly as it gets. Simply type in the city you want to find a room in and the date and various options are presented. They’ll typically give you the time range during which the room is available (for example, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which is pretty common) and the price.
In this case, I went with the Homewood Suites by Hilton. For $69, I could access the hotel room from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which was a great deal, especially since this particular room was a suite with a kitchen, living room, and a large bedroom.
My flight was at 5 p.m., and the hotel was only about 10 minutes from the airport, so I could check out at 3 p.m. and still get there with time to spare.
Notes on the Booking Process
- Once you enter in the name of the city you want to find a room in, you’ll be presented with a list giving you the name of available hotels and prices. You can also click to see where they are on the map.
- Search options allow you to look at the choices based on which is nearest, which are the site’s top picks, which are priced lowest to highest and which are priced highest to lowest. (Although, really, who asks to see the highest-priced first?)
- To find out more about a specific hotel, click on it. You’ll find a lot of information, including what amenities are offered and which aren’t. For example, some will show they have a shuttle to the airport, which is a great perk.
- If you’re picky or want to do something specific – like maybe get in a workout or sit by a pool – make sure to see if the hotel has the facilities you’re looking for!
- When it comes time to book, you’ll be given the option to either create an account (which will make it easier to make future bookings with fewer steps) or do so as a guest.
It’s important to note that no credit card information is required to use the app. Once you find the hotel you want, you’ll be prompted to enter your first and last name, email, and phone number. You’ll then get a text and email confirmation.
Arriving at the Hotel
If you poke around the site a bit, you’ll find that at most hotels, the earliest check-in time available is 10 a.m. If the hotel you selected has a hard-and-fast 10 a.m. check-in time, it’s probably worth staying on the ship and enjoying breakfast rather than rushing among the first people to disembark. Some do offer the option of letting the hotel know what time you plan to arrive, so if you want to check in earlier, it’s worth seeing if that’s an option. But once, having gotten off the ship earlier than I should have, I tried checking into a room at 8:30 a.m., and none were ready.
Checking in is exactly the same as if you were staying for the night. You simply tell them you’ve rented a room for the day, and they’ll look up your information. It’s always a good idea to have the email or text confirmation available in case they don’t have the paperwork yet, especially if you booked on the same day you are arriving. They will take your credit card for incidentals. Like any hotel, they will temporarily hold your card and then release it a few business days later. The amount they hold varies based on the individual hotel’s policy. When I stayed at the Homewood Suites in Miami, they placed a $75 hold on the card I presented them with.
What I Liked Most About Day Use
There’s actually a lot to like about this app, even aside from the fact it means you don’t have to hang out at the airport all day! For one thing, the app does not require you to input any sensitive information when holding the room. In this day and age, when it seems as if we’re hearing about data breaches on a regular basis, that’s a real plus. The simplicity of them texting and emailing you the confirmation is great because it gives you what you need immediately.
If you decide to create an account on the app, the functionality improves even more. For example, it allows you to bookmark your favorite hotels, look at your past history and, as I mentioned before, it really streamlines the process the next time you want to use the app. All in all, the app (whose website can also be accessed on your laptop at dayuse.com) is one I’d definitely consider a must-have for all cruise travelers.