One of the most frustrating things about vacationing is how complicated and irritating, not to mention ridiculously high hotel rates can be. While going through your options sometimes you might find yourself lifting an eyebrow or scratching your head. Nevertheless, you don’t have to think about breaking a bank or counting cards to be able to afford your vacation. Here we will give you 10 tips and tricks to cut your hotel cost when traveling.
1. Be selective about when you travel
It is all good and fun to travel in the high seasons, but this inevitably means that prices will be higher and less negotiable due to a high demand. At this points hotels have the advantage and will indirectly be telling you, “Pay what we ask or stay somewhere else.” Try traveling in the off seasons or off the beaten path to get better rates.
If you cannot avoid that, then plan your trip in advance and book refundable rates in the off season. High season rates go up closer to that season, so get an early start.
2. Start a bidding war between hotels
This is a trick I learnt back in college. Book a hotel that you can cancel without losing any money, then call a nearby hotel you would prefer and see if they will offer you a better deal. Try saying something like, “I have a reservation for (the hotel name) in deluxe room for (tell them the price), but I much prefer your hotel and so I am having second thoughts. Is there any chance you can offer me a better rate for the same room or a better room for the same price?”
Now, if you are calling a chain hotel, be sure to dial their front desk directly, because their workers do have the ability to make deals on their behalf. Avoid their toll free reservation line, you won’t get a deal there.
3. Be sure to join rewards programs
Whether you are a frequent traveler or not, rewards programs are very beneficial. Majority of the best hotels- chain and independent- have a free rewards program of some sort. These programs will allow you to accumulated points when you stay with them or even so much as shop with their partners. The more points you earn the less you will have to pay out of your pocket. Some hotels even allow you to trade your points for free nights, as opposed to other that allow you to use your points to subsidize your stay.
4. Ensure to make your expenses into bundle
Using various travel websites, you can book hotels, airfare and even car rental together in a bundle. Think of this like a wholesale price- it’s the cheaper option and allow you to save hundreds of dollars. Most of these sites also have rewards programs that allow you to use your points as well, so make use of them.
If you prefer to book individually, STAY AWAY FROM TRAVEL AGENCIES!!!! Travel agents often add their commission or service charge to the cost of whatever you are booking. Don’t believe me? Try calling a travel agency for a quote and then call the hotel for theirs- you will be amazed.
5. Entertainment packages are a scam
Just don’t even go there. Many hotels will attempt to sell you a lower room rate but for that you must purchase tours and packages. Sometimes the talk a good talk, but if you were to check out the individual price you would realize that there really is no discount. What they might have taken off the cost of the room gets added to something else in that package. Don’t be duped, you really aren’t saving a penny.
6. Use all the discount you are entitled to
Most of us know nothing about these discounts at all. Let me enlighten you darkness, the way I wish that someone had enlightened mine years ago. There are several membership programs that save you money on hotels. For example, for the broke college student struck with wanderlust, most hotels will offer you discounts. If the programs are not widely advertised, just ask when you call the hotel. The same goes for teachers, alumni, repeat guests, military personnel, AAA & AARP members and even government employees. Be sure to ask about them and have the identification proof ready to send off to the hotel.
7. If you are travelling alone, book independent hotels
Most chain hotels will quote you prices for two people to a room even if you are travelling alone. They won’t even consider offering you a discount. Smaller independently owned hotels and even a few boutique hotels here and there, will be far more willing to negotiate a price with you- some eve offer a third/ fourth night free and that kind of thing.
8. Keep your location, drop amenities
If your budget is tight and you really don’t want to change your location, try dropping amenities. Unless you are hell bent on a 5-star experience, you really don’t need a million amenities and service, most of which you wont use anyway. Drop the extras. A plain clean room that is walking distance from the beach or all that is happening, is far better than an expensive hotel where you have to take a cab to get to around. You want to be a traveller anyway, not a tourist- tourists have very little fun. Yes, my friend there is a difference.
9. Be a repeat guest
If you frequent the same place, then try staying at the same hotel. Even big chain hotels reward loyalty. When you are booking your room be sure to mention that they already have you in their system due to how often you have stayed there- watch your hotel room get a 25% discount just like that.
10. Always keep an eye out for coupons and deals
This one is pretty simple and works almost every time. Most people will wait around to be told of a deal of a coupon instead of searching online for them. Don’t leave for your trip without searching out those hidden deals and coupons. Most of these deals and coupons you can use when you are checking in, so its never too late to search for them. Even the morning before lift off is good.
Sometimes it can seem like quite the hassle when you are booking your trip, but doing the extra legwork can really leave you with a couple hundred dollars extra for more activities or even an extended trip. Use these tips and watch your dollar stretch a little bit further.