Most people tend to overspend while on vacation. A survey conducted by Experian, a global information services company showed that about 68% of people overspend on their vacation. What is worse it that 50% of those surveyed indicated that they have accumulated credit card debt even though they don’t have enough savings to cover the payment. These people ended up not just with a depleted savings account but also with huge credit card debt upon their return home.
Aside from the airfare, your hotel costs will take up the bulk of your expenses. Thus, finding the best value accommodation will have a big impact on your travel budget. Reducing your accommodation costs will save you a lot of travel money. It does not necessarily mean however that you have to give up on your level of comfort. You just need to know a few strategies on how to get the best hotel prices for your grand vacation.
There are numerous ways to save on hotel costs:
1. Go to Travel Fairs and Expos
Travel expos are the best place to get the best deals not just for your hotel but all of your travel needs. Because of competitors from other companies in the other booths, exhibitors tend to give special discounts and offers if you buy from them during the travel fair.
2. Buy a Vacation Package
A vacation package means airfare, hotel accommodation and a few add-ons such as transportation and tours all-inclusive in one package. Travel tour operators sometimes charter the flight and most of the time lock in on hotel deals early. Thus, package holidays are cheaper than buying them individually.
To get the best deals in buying travel packages, you can either buy them early or late.
- Buy early. Many travel agencies normally give special discounts to those who book early. Early means nine months or even a year before your travel date.
- Buy late. As mentioned earlier, travel agencies have already paid for the airfares and the hotel rooms. The nearer it is to the travel dates, the more desperate they are in selling remaining available slots. Otherwise, this will mean loss of money for them. The later you book, the more discounts you will get. Buying late means buying a few days before your intended travel.
3. Travel Off-Season
Prices of rooms change based on demand. To get the best deals, consider traveling off-season. Not only will you get a cheaper rate for the hotel, you will also find out that most related expenses are also cheaper like airfare, food and other travel related activities.
However, traveling off-season has its downside. If you travel off-season, be prepared for extreme weathers like heavy rains, severe drought and harsh winters. Expect also that establishments will have shorter operating hours. But then again, you will experience the liberty of enjoying the place without the normal hustle and bustle of other tourists.
4. Choose your Location
The most popular areas of a travel destination are normally the most expensive ones. Staying at a downtown hotel usually cost twice as much. So before you book, research the area. To reduce the cost, choose a hotel that is a few kilometers away but has a good access to public transportation. For smaller cities, sometimes the best location is just a block or two away from the main street.
And remember, more often than not, expensive hotels are located in high-end areas. They appeal to affluent customers so expect the surrounding shops and restaurants to be expensive also. You will end up paying more not just for your hotel accommodation but also for your living expenses as well.
5. Consider the Total Cost
Pick a hotel within your budget. Make sure that there are no hidden charges. Find out what’s included in the price. Does it include breakfast, airport transfers, wifi access, etc. Add the value of all the add-ons then compare.
For example, a room on a club floor (also known as the Executive or VIP floor) may be more expensive than standard rooms. However, take into consideration the benefits that go with it like the complimentary breakfast, free and faster wifi, evening cocktails, in-between meal snacks, liquors, 24-hour free bottled water and other beverages, airport transportation, laundry and pressing not to mention bigger rooms with better views at higher floors. You might end up paying for more if you purchase these things separately. In many instance, the club benefits outweigh the total costs.
6. Book Directly at the Hotel
Before you make your bookings on a third party website, make sure to check the official website of the hotel first. Usually, deals being offered at third party website are being offered by the hotel also.
The main advantage of booking directly with the hotel is that you don’t need to pay any commission charges as opposed to booking elsewhere. There are no hidden fees.
In some cases, if you find a cheaper rate elsewhere, the hotel will be more then willing to adjust the rate to match the price that you saw elsewhere. If you are a member of the hotel’s loyalty program, booking from a third party website means forfeiting points. Only direct booking is allowed for points crediting and availing of loyalty privileges.
7. Join a Rewards Program
Almost all major hotel groups have their own loyalty programs. Ask anybody who is a member and they will tell you that it pays to be loyal to your favorite brand. Benefits vary depending on the hotel chain and the level of membership. An example of some of the benefits include:
- Automatic room upgrade
- Discounted room rates offered only for members
- Earning points to avail of free nights
- Free membership
- Free internet
- Immediate benefits upon sign-in
- Late check-outs
- No black-out dates on free night redemption
- No expiration of points
- Points redemption on partner hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc…
- Priority check-ins
- Spa vouchers
- Use of points to pay hotel meals, spas and other hotel services
8. Consider Alternative Lodging
If you are traveling with a group, consider staying in villas, apartments or home rentals. These alternative lodgings normally have their own kitchens, separate bedrooms, and sometimes even their own washing machine and dryer. With a bigger and better space, there will be more friends and family bonding time. These types of accommodation can also help you save not just on lodging cost but on food as well.
9. Look for Deals or Coupons
Do an online search on money saving sites and look for coupons on your destination. You can also look for them on airports, bus and train stations, rest stops, convenience stores and visitor centers. You can use the coupons or promotional codes to get discounts not just on your accommodation but also to restaurants and other attractions.
10. Use Credit Cards Affiliated with Hotel Rewards
If you have a travel credit card that has a hotel rewards program, use that card to pay for your hotel booking. You will earn points at the same time you can use the existing points to pay for your hotel bills.