When you travel on vacation, it’s easy to overspend and to forget about your budget. Paying too much for lodging is one surefire way to bust your budget. Hotels can exhaust your travel funds more rapidly than most other vacation expenses, including airline tickets. However, before your next trip, realize that there are numerous ways you can save money on hotels.
First determine how much you want to spend on your vacation. Then, decide what comforts, conveniences, and other variables you desire from your lodging.
If you plan to engage in costly activities and dine at expensive restaurants, choose a less luxurious place to stay. On the other hand, if you do not want to stay in a budget hotel or other cheap accommodations, you may need to consider cutting your trip short to save money. Is this a worthwhile trade-off to sleep in a more luxurious room? That’s for you to decide.
If you have a flexible schedule, consider staying at a hotel during the off-season. Traveling during the off-season costs less, and allows you to avoid contending with crowds, which makes sightseeing easier. Even staying in a hotel midweek instead of during a weekend can save you money.
Clearly, everyone can realize that staying in the heart of downtown cost twice as much as staying at a hotel just a few miles away. Fortunately, even if you don’t know the area, many travel websites offer maps so you can easily expand your search area and find lower prices for hotels. On the other hand, choosing a hotel far away from the attractions you plan to visit can result in high transportation fares and parking costs. Investigate the area’s public transportation system, and find out if you can walk to attractions from your hotel before you book your room.
You can score great deals when you stay at the same hotel (or the same hotel chain) each time you travel. If you visit the same place every year, you can become acquainted with the managers and reservations personnel. When you book your room, mention that you’ve previously stayed at the hotel. Places of lodging want your repeat business and may offer you a better rate – or, at the very least, an upgraded room.
In addition to hotels and motels, most vacation destinations also offer a variety of other lodging options to explore:
- Inexpensive hostels have improved considerably over the years, and many offer conveniences that rival budget hotels.
- You can have a memorable experience camping. Most campgrounds have showers, pools, play areas for kids, and other amenities for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
- If you plan to travel for an extended period of time or are planning a group vacation, consider a furnished vacation home rental. This inexpensive option also helps you save additional money because you can cook your own meals.
A vast majority of hotels, especially hotel chains, have free rewards programs. You can accumulate points by booking hotel rooms or shopping with a hotel’s partner companies. Once you accrue points, you can earn a free hotel stay.
Keep in mind, earning points for a free hotel night by racking up credit card debt and accruing interest won’t help your travel budget. If you decide to get a travel rewards credit card, always use your credit card wisely.
Factor the hotel’s amenities into your travel budget. For example, a complimentary breakfast saves the cost of your morning meal and coffee. A pool, game room, and fitness center offer hours of free entertainment. Free shuttle service or the ability to walk to nearby destinations reduces your reliance on taxis and public transportation. Some hotels may offer free snacks, complimentary drinks at the hotel bar, discounts at the hotel’s spa or restaurants, and gasoline gift certificates.
Don’t underestimate these free perks. They can significantly impact your travel budget.
After you pick the best hotel and travel dates to fit your budget and you have researched the lowest online rate for a hotel, consider calling the hotel directly to book your room. You may get a better deal or get a room upgrade if you call and speak with a hotel employee.
When you call, you can also find out about items that might impact your stay. For example, you can ask if the hotel will be under construction or if they have a large convention or group visiting during your stay. If you originally called the hotel to check on price and availability, check online for a lower rate and look for online promotional codes before booking a room.
Many hotels offer golf packages, free tickets to local attractions, spa services, and romance packages, but these package deals usually don’t really save you any money. Research the prices of hotels and visitor attractions to see if it makes sense to purchase everything together before you buy a package deal.