Accommodation takes the most significant chunk of planning any trip. You have to decide where you will stay and how your choice will not dent your pockets. Booking a hotel room can be quite a minefield.
But luckily there are tons of ways to score great deals when it comes to finding that ideal place for you. All this is possible with a calm mind, a good cuppa coffee and some quality internet connection.
With these traveling hacks you are halfway through finding a cheap hotel for your next vacation. Shall we?
1. Compare Sites and Deals
Booking sites like Expedia, Kayak or Priceline.com offer the best prices and provide the broadest hotel searches. They give you an overview of the hotels in your geographical location. Sign up for price alerts so that when there are discounts or price cuts, you receive an immediate email notification.
Do not rely wholly on these sites because their data is not entirely comprehensive. Also look out for promo codes and perks such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking.
Visit the hotel’s website to find out what discounts and freebies are on offer. Some hotels give clients who book from their site the best rates. Find the ideal hotel for you with the best hotel guide.
Consider Last Minute Deals
Last minute deals occur when the rates are slashed to sell off a room. Apps like Hotel Tonight and One:Night can help you get last minute deals on quality hotel rooms. For the Hotel Tonight you can book up to 7 days in advance.
One:Night is limited to only 14 cities, and Priceline.com offers “tonight only” discount deals at 11 am every day.
If you plan to attend a significant concert or conference that will attract hoards of people last minute deals are not a realistic option. You will need to plan for accommodation in advance.
2. Subscribe to Membership Discounts
When you join travel organizations, you are eligible for significant member discounts on travel or accommodation.
Organizations such as Hostelling International (HI) offer discounts to members under HI hostels worldwide. CAA/AAA offers discounts to members on car rentals or hotel chains. You need to purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) which is only valid if you are below 35 years of age to save on accommodation and transport charges worldwide.
Once you’re a member, key in the code information on the coupon box when making online bookings.
3. Explore the Sharing Economy
Hotels are not the only lodging options. You can rent out a room, an apartment or an entire villa via sites like Home Away and Airbnb. These are great options especially if you are a budget traveler and more so if you are traveling outside the U.S.
Most of these sites offer cheaper and better quality accommodation options than most hotels. The sharing economy is on the rage nowadays, and accommodation prices range for as low as $28 per night to a couple of thousands per week depending on how tasteful you want the room or facility to be.
Free accommodation options include house swapping, couch surfing, and house sitting. Check out sites like Trusted House Sitters, Hospitality Club, Nomador and Home Exchange.
4. Use Credit Card Reward Points to Purchase Hotel Rooms
To save you hundreds of dollars, sign up for a hotel rewards credit card. Many credit card companies compete for clients and thus offer substantial bonus points for just signing up and spending the minimum required amount of money within a specific timeline.
You can use your reward points to purchase a hotel room before your next trip. Consult your bank on the credit cards that offer the highest bonus.
One of the best cards for hotel deals is the Capital One Ventures Reward Card that gives you a bonus of 50,000 miles worth $500 when you spend a minimum of $3000 on purchases within the first three months following your account opening.
With the Hotels.com rewards program, you enjoy a free night’s stay if you book up to 10 nights. Another card with an impressive sign-up bonus is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. You earn 2X the points on travel and dining with zero foreign transaction fees.
5. Consider Extended Bookings
Longer stay-in rates can significantly reduce your night rates and overall weekly and monthly rates. A 5-night stay can end up being cheaper than a 4-night stay. Why? Extended bookings attract few room changeovers and ultimately fewer costs.
Consider price matching to get you a hotel offering similar dates but cheaper rates. Also, consider volunteering or working in exchange for accommodation. Use reputable sources such as Work Away or HelpX to find opportunities.
Most hotels offer free nights for guests who are willing to stay in longer. Consider road trips or camping to merge your transport and accommodation cost.
6. Book in Advance with Free Cancellation
Hotel rooms that are booked and paid for in advance (around 15 to 45 days) attract a discount of up to 30%. If you intend to take that long-awaited vacation, take advantage and save up on the extra costs.
You can also book a reservation with “free cancellation” policy to secure high rates in advance. And even though most of the hotels have this free cancellation policy, it doesn’t hurt to verify and for how long it is valid.
Booking sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia will offer you even more significant discounts if you book via the non-refundable policy.
7. Get Paid to Write Reviews
Travelers can sign up and write travel and dining reviews for Yonderbound. And the best part is no blogger experience is required. You can also write reviews for other review sites like Trip Advisor.
What’s excellent about Yonderbound is when someone books hotel after reading your travel series about the hotel; you keep 70% of the sales profits. You get paid to share your honest and personal travel experiences with others.
Burning your travel’s budget on full-price accommodation is easy. But with these cost-cutting hacks, you can scout for the best deals online and save up some money for other essential tasks. Happy saving!