We all have vacation budgets. A big chunk of that usually goes to our hotel stays. If you can save big on your next hotel stay, you can have more for food, souvenirs, attractions, or even go somewhere you didn’t think you could afford! Let the vacation planning begin!
It seems like I have been cooped up in this house all winter long. I am ready to go somewhere warm and sunny and just sit in a hammock sipping a margarita all day long. Anyone want to join me? We have to stick to a vacation budget so I try to save as much as possible on our hotel so that we can do more things and not have to worry about skimping on going out to eat. Here are some of the ways I try to save.
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Travel Sites: I always check sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity to compare prices and see when the best time to go would be. You can find some great prices, usually up to 30% off. You can really save the most when you bundle hotel, airfare, and rental cars all together. Just make sure you do your research and see what each would be separately to make sure you are getting the best deal. If I am looking for just a hotel, I just do my research on these sites. It is best to book from one that offers a “price guarantee” so that if the price goes down after you book, they will honor that price. To actually book the hotel, I follow the next tip.
Call the Front Desk: You have the best chance of getting a good deal if you book directly through the front desk and speak with a manager instead of calling a toll free phone number or booking through the website. Ask if they are having any specials, specifically for “nonrefundable rates” to get the best deal. You can also mention the rate you found doing some research online and ask if they will match it or beat it. You can also ask about the amenities, if they are going through construction, or if they will be really booked.
Use Ebates: Did you know that you can use Ebates to save even more on your hotel stay?! They have a whole Travel category where you can get cash back if you book online. For example, I saw the following options: Priceline (13%), Travelocity (7%), Clarion Hotel (3.5%), Holiday Inn (4.5%), and so much more. They even have options for airfare, attraction tickets, and rental cars.
Know When to Go: Every city or country will have an off season. This is the best time to go. My fiancé and I went to Orlando one May. It was less crowded and we got some great prices on our resort stay. Plus, it is better to book during the week instead of a weekend to save even more. Hotels may even offer more free amenities to get you to book a stay. If you want to try and get a free upgrade, don’t check in until around 6:00 pm. This is when most hotels will know which rooms will be empty for the night.
Groupon: Don’t underestimate Groupon when it comes to travel deals. They have a whole Groupon Getaways section where you can save over 50% on hotels and full packages. They have deals for the US and abroad. They list all of the hotel names so that you can do some research on them before you book. Make sure to read the full policy and fees so there are no surprises.
Use your Membership: If you are a member of AAA, AARP, military, government, etc. Make sure you let them know when you book your stay. You may be able to get better discounts then you will find online. Some corporate companies offer discounts to their employees. Check with your HR department to see if your employer is a part of this. The company I used to work for was and we got discounts on hotels, appliances, movie tickets, etc.
Also sign up for a hotel’s rewards program. They are usually free and when you stay there a certain number of times, you get a free night’s stay. There are several hotels and airfare chains that have come together and you can even earn miles during your stay.
Look for Coupons: If you don’t want to do a lot of searching online, you can contact the state tourism office where you will be staying and ask for a free vacation or tourism guide. This will usually have bunch of coupons and discounts for things like restaurants, hotels, attractions, rental cars, and more. You can request it online.
Use A Vacation Rental: If you have a large group, like your extended family, don’t even bother with a hotel. It would be much cheaper for everyone to split the cost of a vacation rental. They have kitchens so that you can save on food costs as well.
Don’t Stay in the Heart of it All: A really easy way to save big on your next hotel stay is by choosing one that isn’t really close to the attractions or beach. Instead of staying at a Disney resort, stay at a hotel that is just a few miles away. Their rates are much cheaper. This works best if you are already driving and won’t need a rental. Just take into account the cost of parking if you can’t walk to your destination. You can also ask if the hotel provides transportation to and from the airport and major attractions, some do!
These are the ways I have saved on my hotel stays throughout the years. It does take a little bit of research and patience but it is worth it when you don’t have to stress about money when you are on vacation. What are some ways you save on your hotel stays?