For many travelers, airfare is the most expensive part of any trip. Coming in at a close second, however, are hotels. Most hotels charge by the night and charge more if travelers stay only one or two night, making the hotel bill add up quickly. On top of paying for the room itself, travelers often have to pay extra for amenities such as gyms, pools, internet, and food which makes the entire hotel experience hard on the pocketbook. Luckily, there are a few ways to lessen the financial burden of hotels.
Book in advance.
Booking months, weeks, and sometimes, days in advance can often save you money. Booking in advance allows you to get the best deal, as well as to get the room you want before it fills up. Most advanced bookings are non-refundable, but if you’re looking to save a few dollars on your room, advance booking are the best way to go. The closer you book to the date you want to stay, the higher the rate will be, as you’re ultimately being charged for the convenience of such a short notice booking.
Join a rewards program.
Every major hotel chain has a rewards program for loyal customers. Although you can’t expect a free hotel stay upon sign up, you can earn one for a later date. Upon sign up, you’ll usually get free wifi, complimentary breakfast, early check in, late check out, nd variety of other benefits that are both luxurious and a bargain. The more you stay with the hotel that you signed up with, the more points you will earn, and the sooner you’ll be able to claim a free stay.
Sign up for a rewards credit card.
Credit cards can be a nuisance. If used properly, however, they do more than just build credit. By signing up with a travel rewards credit card, purchases you make on hotels and airfare will earn you points which can be cashed in for free stays and other benefits. Most reward credit cards also offer points on everyday purchases, but at a lower rate per dollar.
It can be tempting to book your hotel through a third party agent, but booking directly through your chosen hotel can help save you some cash. Oftentimes, hotels have special promotions and deals that are available only on their website and not through any other sources.
Choose your hotel’s location wisely.
As a general rule of thumb, hotels located within popular areas of cities such as downtown, are more costly than their outskirt neighbors. For example, by staying out of the immediate areas of East End London, midtown Manhattan, and Shibuya in Tokyo, you can save yourself a minimum of 25% on your hotel booking.
Compare prices using a search engine.
Using a metasearch engine such as Kayak.com, Booking.com, or Expedia.ca, you can compare dozens of hotel prices at one time. This saves you time searching and researching, and will also help you find the best hotel for the cheapest price.