Whenever you travel, your hotel and airfare are going to be the two biggest expenses you incur. We all know you can save on airfare by using credit card points or being a frequent flier but there are also a few tricks for staying in hotels for cheap without sacrificing your style or safety.
Here they are below:
Travel During Non-Peak Times
Traveling over the holidays and during weekends will make your hotel rates go up because people generally don't have to take as much time off from work, but if you're able to, try to travel during the week. You might have to use an extra vacation day, but it will be less hectic to travel and cheaper too.
Also, watch out for popular events at your destination. Hotels generally mark-up rooms during peak events such as college sports games, local fairs, and large tradeshows. If you're not interested in any of those events, then don't travel at a time when they're occurring.
If you must travel during peak times, try to go to somewhere off-season, like going to a popular summer location during the fall or winter and vice versa. For example, you can travel to the beach in Florida during the winter months for very cheap. You still get to go to sleep listening to the relaxing sound of waves; you just won't get to take a dip in them!
Strategize Your Hotel Choice
When you travel, try to stay in the same hotel for more than one night since lots of hotels offer discounts the longer you stay. Conversely, if you're flexible and don't have a lot of kids or luggage, you can also look for quick 1-2 night deals at hotels on Groupon or another travel site. Think about it: if you get a few 1-2 night deals and string them together you can hop from hotel to hotel. Sure it might be annoying at first, but then you get to experience a range of amenities and possibly get to see different parts of the area you're visiting.
Another way to strategize your hotel choice is to look for hotel coupons or discount codes in travel magazines or buy hotel gift cards on online auction sites like eBay. These sources can help you score a fancier hotel for the price of a lower quality motel. If you use eBay, just make sure your seller has a good track record and is legitimate. Also, if you travel often, consider joining a hotel chain's frequent visitor program.
Find Out What's Included
Once you've decided on a hotel, be sure you understand what is included with your room charge and what isn't. The worst thing you can do is get to the hotel and take advantage of their breakfast, Wi-Fi, and bottled water in the room only to find out that all of these things are extra charges on your bill upon checkout. One of the worst offenders is parking. Many hotels in urban areas will charge really high fees for parking so be sure to read the find print.
Look Into Discounts You Already Have
Lots of clubs, organizations, co-ops, and businesses have membership cards with great discounts. Being a student, a teacher, a government employee, an AAA member, or having your insurance through a certain group can help you obtain a discount for shopping, dining, or on hotel stays. It never hurts to ask a hotel if they offer discounts for any groups that you belong to.