How To Save Money on Hotels Anywhere in the World, Any Time of Year

Rear view of tourist in hotel looking through the window.
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Travel always sounds like a good idea until you run the numbers. Staying in a hotel alone can run hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on amenities, region, length of stay, time of year and many other factors. And while you might not even spend most of your time inside your hotel, comfort and convenience are important factors when staying away from home. Here, experts weigh in with some tips to help you get the best deals on hotels no matter where you’re traveling.

Helpful: The Top 10 Best Travel Hacks To Save the Most Money
Find Out: 35 Things Your Hotel Will Give You for Free

Hotels With Free Meals

While you won’t necessarily save money on the hotel itself, finding hotels that offer complimentary meals does save you money, said Shawn Richards, expedition coordinator at Ultimate Kilimanjaro. “Many budget hotels offer free breakfasts to attract weary travelers,” he said.

Student Discounts

Another way to get a good deal is to be a student, according to Jeremy Scott Foster, CEO and founder of TravelFreak, a professional travel and adventure guide. “If you’re a student, there are some specialty sites to browse accommodation at discounted rates with proof of student ID,” he said. “Some providers offer a third night free or even $30 off the total price.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Voucher Extensions/Cash-Back Plug-Ins

Foster also recommends checking out sites such as Honey or Pouch, which help you find promo codes quickly and earn credit at the same time. “Even signing up for Groupon can help you earn vouchers such as 25% off at a Hilton stay or a complimentary breakfast,” he said.

Owain Powell, a travel agent and travel consultant for Ocp-digital-marketing.co.uk, said, “Use cash-back sites and install the Honey Chrome extension. Someone looking to book a stay can effectively earn cash back for landing to a website such as Holiday Inn, Accor Hotels and countless others.”

Helpful: 13 Insider Secrets From Travel Agents That Will Save You Money

Book Direct Rather Than Third Party

Powell also recommends that rather than booking a hotel through a third party site such as Booking.com or Hotels.com, if you find a rate you like, call the hotel directly and ask if they will offer a better rate, or at the least, book directly to avoid paying fees. “The hotel will at least match the price, or offer an incentive to book direct,” Powell said. “It’s in the hotel’s best interest to gain the booking direct.”

Sign Up for Cards With Rewards and Bonuses

Another way to save money is to sign up for a credit card that is offering sign-up bonuses in the form of free cash, miles or points when you spend a certain amount of money, said Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert, writer and bestselling author. “Plan ahead and open a new card before your trip so you can use those bonus rewards to cover your hotel stay.” She said you can compare sign-up bonuses and cash-back programs through sites like CardRates.com.

Book Nonrefundable Rooms

Another little trick if you are pretty confident that nothing will throw your stay off track, Woroch said, is to book rooms that are nonrefundable, such as through a site called RoomerTravel.com. “[The site] enables people to book hotel rooms from travelers who can no longer use them, at a discount. Each hotel listing features user reviews from TripAdvisor, so you can select among properties with the highest reviews.”

Make Your Money Work for You

See: 30 Locations With the Priciest Vacation Rentals

Stay Off-Season

Perhaps the best way to snag a good deal is to stay off the usual travel dates. “Hotels are typically more expensive during busy holiday seasons, so try to book a stay during slow times of the year,” said Brian Donovan, CEO of Timeshatter. “Look for hotels with a free cancellation fee and consider booking a room way in advance to lock in that rate. If you end up finding something better, you can easily cancel.”

Book Last Minute

If you’re not a book in advance type, Woroch said that procrastinators can actually get major last-minute discounts on hotels and airfare through such sites as Priceline’s “tonight-only deals.” These are typically 35% less compared to published prices found elsewhere, she said. “Meanwhile, the HotelTonight app will show you hotel options based on your location for up to 70% off on same-day reservations.”

Use the Right Sites

Try to avoid the big name booking sites such as Booking.com or Hotels.com, where the prices are probably going to be higher. If you’re willing to put up with a little risk, Lanie Vanderhorst of Make-More-Adventures.com. recommends sites like Hotwire.com. “Their hot rate hotels are often much cheaper, especially when I want to stay at a four or five star hotel that I would not normally be able to afford.” These are not always refundable or transferable, however, but if you’re looking for a good deal, that’s what you’ll find.

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Last updated: Sept. 2, 2021

About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

 

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