Are you planning your next vacation and wondering how to save money on hotels?
Lodging can eat up a big chunk of your vacation budget.
One survey shows that of people who aren’t planning a summer vacation, 60% say the reason is that they can’t afford it.
Finding ways to cut costs on those expensive parts of the trip, such as hotels, can make a trip possible. It can also free up money in your vacation budget for more entertainment and extras.
Check out these nine tips to save on hotels.
1. Choose Dates Wisely
When figuring out how to save on hotels, one of the biggest factors is timing. Rates fluctuate significantly based on when you book.
In some locations, the time of year is a factor. Booking a hotel during the off-season for the location can save you money.
The day of the week can also affect rates. If you’re looking at a hotel that caters to vacationing families or couples, weekends will likely be the most expensive. If you’re considering a hotel that mainly attracts business people, their rates might be cheaper on the weekend when they don’t have as many business travelers.
Being flexible on your dates can reduce your total cost.
2. Consider Location
You likely already have a destination in mind, but expanding your search area for your hotel can save money.
A hotel in the heart of a city’s downtown area will likely cost more than one a few miles away. It’s convenient to be close to everything, but you could save hundreds of dollars by choosing a hotel a little further away.
Consider transportation costs to get to the places you’re going to visit if you choose a different location.
3. Check Multiple Sites
Sometimes booking directly with the hotel is the cheapest option. Other times, you can save money through a third-party site.
Search for hotel rooms through multiple sites to find the cheapest rates. You can get a sense of the average hotel cost in the area for your dates this way.
4. Book Travel Packages
Often times, booking travel packages saves you money on all parts of the trip. You’ll get discounted rates when you bundle your hotel with transportation, rental cars, attractions, and other things you’re booking anyway.
Research the individual costs of each part before you book a travel package. This ensures you’re saving money by using the bundle option over booking each part individually.
5. Join Rewards Programs
Rewards programs through hotels can help you save money on future stays. If you have a particular hotel chain you love, sign up for their loyalty program. You’ll typically earn points toward a future discount or free stay at one of the chain’s locations.
You might get other perks and special discounts for being a part of the program even if you haven’t saved up enough points for a free stay.
The reward programs are typically free, so you don’t have anything to lose by joining. Keep track of when points expire to make sure you use your perks.
6. Use Credit Cards With Rewards
It won’t lower your room rate, but using a credit card with rewards to pay for your hotel stay can benefit you in the future.
You can find cards that earn you airline miles, points for rewards, and other perks based on how much you spend.
A credit card that gives you cash back is a way to cut the costs of the hotel room without spending more money.
When using this method, it’s best to pay off your credit card immediately after the hotel charge hits. Paying interest on that balance will negate the savings you get by using the card.
7. Pay Attention to Fees
You find a great room rate when you search online, but what is the total cost you’ll pay?
When you’re searching, you’ll usually see the nightly room rate. That doesn’t include all of the hotel fees and taxes, which can significantly increase your total.
Before checking out while booking your room, you should see the total charges with a breakdown of the fees. Review this information to see what you’ll actually pay and how those costs break down.
Search through the fine print in the hotel description to find out if the hotel charges other fees.
If you’re staying at a resort with lots of extra amenities and activities, you might pay a resort fee. Hotels in cities often charge parking fees if you’re keeping a car on the premises.
Other fees might be charged for early check-in, late check-out, wi-fi access, additional people in the room, mini bar use, and housekeeping.
8. Consider What’s Included
Hotels often include free breakfast, wi-fi, and other amenities. The grounds might have free entertainment options, such as a workout facility or playroom.
Booking a hotel with these options can save you money on your trip overall. You don’t have to pack your own breakfast foods or go out to restaurants for breakfast if the hotel provides for free. You can squeeze in a free workout or entertainment while you stay.
Some hotels offer entertainment packages that include the hotel stay plus tickets to local attractions. Others might include a romantic package with wine and other items in your room.
Beware of the value of these packages. You might be able to find discount tickets to those attractions that end up being cheaper than the total of your package.
Look at the cost of a hotel room by itself and the cost of admission to those attractions if you bought the tickets separately. Check for possible discounts on the tickets. Total the cost to see if you’re really getting a deal with the package.
9. Look for Promo Codes and Club Discounts
A google search for promo codes to the hotels you’re considering could result in a discount offer. Check social media sites of different hotels for additional discount specials you might not find other places.
If you’re a member of AAA, AARP, or other clubs, check for hotel discounts that you get as a perk of membership. Compare the price with those discounts to the cheapest rate you can find online for the hotel to find the best deal.
Learn How to Save Money on Hotels
When figuring out how to save money on hotels, taking multiple approaches can cut your costs the most. Combine savings and make your vacation even more enjoyable.
Visit our travel section for ideas on where to go and to get more travel tips.