Booking a good hotel cheaply can be done, but most likely not in-season, when rates are at their highest because the hotel will know it will have the demand.
It’s easy to blow your travel budget on full-price lodging. But these tips can help you save money on your hotel room so you can spend your hard-earned cash on something more memorable.
Compare sites and deals
Start with sites like Kayak, Expedia to get an overview of hotels in your desired area, but don’t rely on them to give you the full picture. Go on to research those hotels on your own. Search for promotion codes and perks such as free parking, breakfast or WiFi. And don’t neglect a hotel’s own website. Some chains promise the best rate when you book via their site.
Negotiate your rate
Once you know the lay of the land, select a few favorites and pick up the phone. Tell the hotel the price you found via other sites and see if they can beat it. Bargaining directly with the hotel yielded a better room or rate nearly 80% of the time, according to a survey by Consumer Reports.
Look for last-minute deals
Apps like HotelTonight can help last-minute travelers score low rates on quality hotel rooms. A recent search on the app turned up The Swissotel Chicago for $314 for two nights, with taxes and fees. That was more than $100 cheaper than the prices listed on other popular sites for booking hotels.
Bid on a room
Bidding on a room can yield solid savings, but you need to be OK with leaving things a little to chance. visit the website Priceline. “name your own price” feature lets you select neighborhoods and star levels when you bid, but doesn’t reveal the name of the hotel until your bid is accepted.
Explore alternative accommodations
Hotels aren’t your only lodging option. You can rent a room, apartment or entire house via sites like Airbnb and HomeAway. And hostels are a great option for budget travelers, especially those venturing outside of the U.S. Don’t worry — you don’t need to share a dorm-style room with a mass of 19-year-olds (unless you want to). Most hostels offer a handful of private rooms with en suite bathrooms.
Pick a different neighborhood
Staying in the heart of the city typically costs more. Save a few bucks by staying away from the city center, but near public transportation for easy downtown access.
Use your affiliations
Seniors, government employees, students, members of the military and AAA members may qualify for discounted hotel rates when traveling. Ask the hotel before booking or look for deals via websites such as AARP, Military and Veteran Benefits, News, Veteran Jobs.