07/23/2014 06:34 pm ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

Staycation or Vacation: How to Get the Best Restaurant or Hotel Service

Whether you're heading out for a special dinner or taking a well-earned vacation, you want to get the most for your money. Here are some tips for getting the best service:

Call ahead. If you'd like to sit at a specific table or in a particular part of the restaurant, let them know well ahead of time. Also, call if you're going to be late for a reservation-they may not hold your table.

Be patient and polite. If you must wait a few minutes for a table, do so without kicking up a fuss. Even if you have a reservation, give the restaurant 15 minutes before asking again.

If you have a complaint, talk to the top. The hostess is usually the gatekeeper, not the decision-maker, ask to speak to a manager.

Jot it down. If the restaurant is one you frequent or plan to return to, write a letter commending the service, the food, whatever. After even a few visits, they'll remember you.

Go on record. When you make a hotel reservation, be specific. Write down your preference in advance -- a corner room, nonsmoking floor or a room with a view, for example.

Set priorities but be flexible. If you can't get the view, maybe you can be compensated with a reduced room rate or free parking.

Arrive early. If you check in at the end of the day, you'll get what's left over. Arrive before check-in time and you can usually stake a claim to a better room. But be prepared to wait -- the best room may not be available until later.

Remember -- you never get more than you ask for!

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