If you’re a frequent traveler, you may have noticed how those hotel bills can really add up. A stay here and a stay there might not seem like a big deal. But lodging isn’t cheap, so if you can find a way to cut costs without cutting corners, the savings will add up big over time.
Here are some of our top travel tips for saving more money on hotels to keep your expenses down this vacation season.
#1 – Cut Out The Middleman
It can be much more convenient to book your stay through one of those websites that consolidate multiple hotels in one place. But, oftentimes you end up missing out on savings by doing everything online.
Instead, use these sites to compare prices and then call the hotel directly. Sometimes, you can haggle prices down by letting them know what the other guys are charging. Or maybe you can get upgraded to a better room at the same price or get some sort of freebie as part of your stay.
#2 – Pick a Reward Program and Stick With It
If you are constantly staying at different hotel lines, you are missing out on some serious earnings. Most hotels have generous reward programs that encourage repeat business by offering valuable gifts. These may come in the form of free nights, upgrades, or other goodies.
#3 – Understand the Hidden Costs of Hotel Stays
The nightly price that’s advertised online isn’t necessarily the total cost to you. There are a lot of other hidden costs that add up. Can you save on city tax by staying a few miles further? Is WiFi free? Does your stay include complimentary breakfast?
Questions like these are all worth asking so that you can be aware of exactly what you’ll be paying for and if there is any way to avoid it.
#4 – Know The Cost of The Area
Along the same lines, be sure you know how much you’ll need to spend to get by in the nearby area. If you think you are getting a deal on a hotel, but the only decent food nearby is out of your budget, odds are good that you’ll be spending more in the long run. Likewise, if your hotel isn’t within walking distance of wherever it is you are headed, you might need to pay additional for parking every day. In a big city, this can add up really quickly.
#5 – Time Your Booking Right
Savvy travelers know that there is an art to booking hotels at just the right time. Often, you can get much cheaper rates by calling the hotel at the last minute. They are often happy to schedule the room for a fraction of their normal fee rather than let it go vacant.
However, you have to know the location. Some hot vacation spots are always booked up. So if you wait till the last minute, you could end up without a place to stay. For a common business trip the tactic might work fine, but don’t count on it if you are heading to see a year-round national monument.