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