The search for a cheap hotel room has only gotten more difficult over the years. But that definitely doesn’t mean you can’t find deals to save money on a hotel room.
Don’t hotels always seem to account for the largest portion of your travel funds? Even if you’re not booking a four- or five-star property, a few days stay in a hotel can easily set you back by thousands of rupees, if not more. While you may be able to justify a splurge now and then as a luxury hotel room can make a vacation really memorable, when you are on a budget, you want to make sure you have enough after airfare and lodging to actually enjoy your trip – have good meals, go sightseeing, and do a little bit of shopping too.
You might want us to tell you that there are one or two apps or websites that will always find you the best deal on hotel rooms. But it’s just not that easy. What worked for last Dashain’s family vacation to Goa may not work for your next summer vacation to Singapore. The reason for this lack of consistency is hotels are always in flux. The price of hotel rooms changes daily, often times hourly, based on demand. Sometimes one site has the best deal for the hotel you want, and sometimes another site does.
The internet, however, is a good place to start. The first thing you want to research is location. Before you can look for hotels, you need to know which neighborhoods you’re willing to consider and how you’ll get from those neighborhoods to the places you’re going to visit. After all, expensive taxi rides can quickly create a dent in any savings on lodging.
However, the search for a cheap hotel room has only gotten more difficult over the years. But that definitely doesn’t mean you can’t find deals to save money on a hotel room. There are many savings tricks that you can use to tame the wildest of hotel bills. Find out how to get hotel rooms on the cheap with these basic tips and prevent travel accommodation from eating into your budget.
Surf the web for deals
The internet can help you save money on virtually everything, including hotel rooms. It takes a bit more confidence to book your vacation online, but there can be big payoffs.
Sometimes booking through hotel booking websites can cost a lot less than booking directly at the hotel. Another tactic is to check the hotel websites directly for seasonal deals and promotions.
Many websites also provide promotional codes that can be used for discounts at hotels and motels. Also, when you don’t have the time to keep a close eye on prices, sign up for alerts through websites like Hotels.com and Kayak. They’ll take care of the work for you, emailing you when the prices start to drop while ensuring that they don’t flood your inbox.
Compare prices online
Expedia, Kayak (an aggregator of other search engines), Orbitz, Priceline (an auction style site that allows you to name the price you are willing to pay) and Travelocity are just a few of the places to start your search. If internet access is key, check out HotelChatter, which rates the quality of access in thousands of hotels around the globe. Websites don’t always list the tacked on fees and regulatory surcharges. Call the hotel and ask before you book, or the good bargain you thought you got might not be all that good.
Consider hotels that don’t appear on major search sites
Many small hotels don’t want to pay search site commissions, and therefore they don’t participate. When you call them, you’re often talking to an owner or manager who is empowered to offer a discount. TripAdvisor is a good site to use to identify these small hotels, but you should go directly to the hotel to make reservations.
Don’t hesitate to negotiate
Hotels with vacancies are often willing to negotiate to fill a room. Don’t be afraid to ask for a free breakfast, internet, parking or use of the workout facilities. Hotel managers would rather make a little less on an occupied room than leave it empty for a night. Sometimes you just have to ask to get a really good deal. Don’t be shy in this department.
Ask for a price match
Although they might not advertise it, many hotels will match a competitor’s lower price if you ask. That goes for third-party sites as well. Hotels.com offers to price match any competitor or hotel’s price. Just book, and then submit the cheaper-priced link. By doing this you can also earn a free night through their site after 10 stays and that’s an added bonus. Be careful with advanced payments though. If you book with a service that requires payment in advance, read all the fine print and make sure you know how much it will cost if you have to cancel.
It’s not always easy to avoid weekends while traveling, but if you can avoid staying in hotels on Fridays and Saturdays, you could save some serious cash. Most hotels also offer a significant discount on rates starting on Sunday through Thursday. As an added bonus, the pool, restaurants and spas will be less busy and sometimes offer deals too.
Choose a business hotel
Business hotels might not offer all the flashy amenities a resort does, but they could help you save enough to bolster your vacation with more fun in the sun. Parasailing or scuba diving can make up for a smaller pool in no time. During the summer months and on weekends, business hotels are typically slower and you’re more likely to get a good deal at these hotels if you book a room during those off-peak times.
Travel a la carte
It might be assumed that any hotel will have minimum features, such as a queen- or king-sized bed, towels, private bathroom and more. But that’s not always the case and it could work to your advantage. Many hotels allow you to pay less for a “single” room, which often means a twin bed or a shared bathroom. There are even budget hotels where you pay a low base price and a la carte for add-ons, like daily housekeeping, towels or an in-room TV. If you’re open to bare minimum accommodations, then you stand to save a bundle.
Wait till the last minute
Yes, you heard us right. Sometimes procrastination can work in your favor. Same-day booking apps such as HotelTonight (free; iOS) and Booking.com (free; Android, iOS) yield up to 70 percent off regular rates, if you’re willing to wait until the last minute. Thanks to their popularity, there’s plenty of inventory to choose from daily. Pro tip: The deepest discounts surface on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and right after holidays.