A few days ago I posted some general tips on saving money while on vacation. One of the largest budget items of your vacation can br your lodging so it pays to be prepared and get the best deal available.
As I mentioned in my previous post Cheap Travel Tips, 10 Ways to Save Money on Vacation, my husband and I are planning a mini vacation later this summer. I want to get the best deal possible on our hotel room so that we will have more money for entertainment, food, shopping, etc. In my search for great hotel deals I have learned a lot about different ways to save money when booking your lodging.
1. Check into corporate discounts. My company offers corporate discounts to many hotel chains as well as entertainment tickets. Check to see if your company does the same and compare those rates to others you find online. I have found that the corporate rate is not always the best deal but its definitely worth checking into.
2. Shop around. Check out various travel booking sites and call the hotels directly to find the best deal.
3. Know how to sort your search results. When using hotel booking sites you will see a list of hotels and the hotels that the site wants you to see will be the first ones listed. Be sure to search by price or location or ratings. I always search by price, lowest to highest.
4. Book thru Ebates. Start your booking process through Ebates and earn cash back on your hotel.
5. Call the hotel directly and ask for their best rates. Also ask for discounts for members of various organizations like AAA, AARP, Military discounts, etc.
6. Sign up for a hotel chain’s reward system. Back when I did a lot of traveling for my job I signed up with Choice Hotels for their points system. They reward you with 10 points for each dollar that you spend. These points can then be used for free hotel stays.
7. Travel midweek if possible. Hotel rates are lower Sunday thru Wednesday so if possible book your stay during those days.
8. You can often find great deals through sites like Groupon and Social Living.
9. Book at the end of the quarter or end of the year. Many reservation staff have quotas to meet each quarter so by booking at the end of the quarter you may be able to score a better deal because they want to meet their quota. Even if your trip is several months away, the reservation counts for the quarter in which it was booked.
10. Check out sites like Hotwire and Priceline. I have just recently become more familiar with these sites and how they work. Look for a post soon about how to get the best deals using these two sites. As I’ve mentioned, I am researching hotel prices in the Gatlinburg, TN area. There is a hotel I have stayed at before and have always had a good experience there but the room rates are a little over what I would like to budget for this trip. Just today I looked on Hotwire and was able to use the hotel description to narrow it down to this particular hotel (Hotwire hides the names of the hotels until you book, but later on I will share how to figure out what hotel you are booking). On Hotwire today this particular hotel had rooms available for my specific dates, for $50. That is about $45 lower than if I were to book directly thru the hotel.
Be sure to check back soon for more travel money saving tips.