Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it’s often challenging to stick to your budget as the expenses add up.
Hotel accommodations are one of the most costly reservations you will need to make, sometimes with a higher price tag than airfare. Travel experts agree: it’s worth the extra effort to find a fantastic hotel rate that can help lower the overall cost of a trip and free up funds for other expenses.
Not sure where to start? No problem.
Check out these insider tips to get the best deal on a hotel room so you can be mindful of a budget or upgrade your dining and entertainment plans!
1. Consider the Off-Season
While you may have a specific location in mind for your next getaway, consider every season there and find out if it would still be fun to explore at a less popular time of year.
Very often, some of the most popular vacation destinations offer a beautiful location, recreational activities, attractions, and dining experiences that won’t disappoint regardless of whether it’s sunny or snowing.
2. Wait for the Best Time to Book
Booking accommodations for your next adventure can be exciting. When you view photos of an inspiring hotel or location, you might be tempted to book right away to avoid missing out.
However, you might be paying more depending on the time of year you make reservations.
To avoid higher rates, try planning ahead for future trips and booking your hotel rooms when fewer people are doing the same thing (think late summer and right after the holidays).
3. Be Flexible
If you’re not tied to a specific date range for events like weddings, conventions, festivals, or holidays, you can find excellent hotel rates by being flexible with your timeline.
Take some time to notice if your hotel stay will cost less on certain months or days of the week. It’s also smart to check event listings for your destination and avoid paying a premium when hotels are expecting a large influx of guests.
4. Compare Prices
Sometimes, discount booking apps and websites can be essential for finding the best hotel rates available. But that’s not always the case, and they don’t always offer the same deals.
First, research rates at different discount booking sites and take notes on hotels with the most affordable rates.
Many websites use your search data to determine the price they offer. If the algorithm determines that you’re set on a particular location, hotel, or timeline, you may see higher prices when you search more frequently. If you plan to check back later for a lower price, be sure to use a private browser and clear cookies.
5. Reap the Rewards
If you prefer booking with a particular service, take a few minutes to register for their rewards programs to earn and redeem points for free hotel stays.
Most memberships are free, and they’ll usually send promo codes or early access to travel sales directly to your inbox.
Before you commit to a booking, though, double-check the cancellation policy on that discounted rate. You may need to pay slightly more for a free or flexible cancellation option, but it’s worthwhile if you may need to reschedule the trip.
6. Use a Travel Credit Card
Never underestimate the money-saving power of a travel rewards credit card if you’re smart about utilizing it.
How it works: use your credit card to pay for daily expenses like fuel and groceries to earn a certain percentage of your purchase in travel rewards points. You can redeem points to cover travel costs, including hotel stays and airfare.
Some travel credit cards come with added benefits such as exclusive deals and rates, complimentary upgrades, or VIP access to popular events.
Note: Typically, you’ll need to pay the entire card balance each month to avoid interest and save money with travel points and perks.
7. Bundle Up
Booking travel one step at a time? You could be missing out on significant discounts for bundling flights or transportation, accommodations, and even your activities in a single-price package.
You can work with an agent to customize a family or business travel package that works best for you. Some travel apps and sites also offer deals on bundles, particularly during off-peak tourism seasons.
8. Watch for Scams
Hunting for deals can be fun and enable you to maximize your travel budget. But don’t let the excitement of discovering a remarkably low hotel price affect your discretion. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Sticking to trustworthy websites and apps or working with a professional agency is the best way to avoid losing your precious travel funds to a scam. Look for honest reviews on third-party sites that feature a reasonable balance of pros and cons.
Saving money on your hotel room removes some stress from planning a trip and can help make it more enjoyable with the extra funds available for exploring your destination.
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re researching hotels, and you’ll be booking like a pro in no time. Enjoy your stay!