10 booking hacks to score the cheapest hotel
Hotels are the traditional travel retreat – classic, cozy . . . and often expensive.
Luckily, there are many ways to score great deals on hotels for your next trip. Today we’ll dive into some of my favorite hotel booking hacks + tips to save you time and whole lot of $$$.
But first, let’s not forget our #wherewillisleepweek giveaway! If you missed the memo yesterday, be sure to check out this week’s special series + giveaway to earn yourself an AirBnB giftcard. (Psst! You must be subscribed in order to be eligible for the giveaway, so take care of that here). And don’t forget about the Twitter chat on budget accommodations tomorrow, Wednesday March 16th at 12pm CST – I’m excited to see you there 🙂
Earn more entries for the giveaway by answering the Daily Question of today:
#wherewillisleepweek Daily Question #2:
Share the best value deal you’ve ever scored for travel accommodation. Where were you?
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #wherewillisleepweek
(The more questions you answer the more entries you earn, so go back and answer yesterday’s #wherewillisleepweek Daily Question #1 if you haven’t already)
Now, back to hotels. 😉
Speaking of hotels, I’ve gotten the feeling from some travel blogging circles that “hotels” (along with classic “tourist sites”) do not hold the same level of epicness as they once did. With the rising popularity of hostels and other accommodation styles, I suppose can see where the idea stems from. However, I’d like to politely say that . . . hotels are freakin’ amazing if you know where to look for epic locations and major deals.
“We don’t usually splurge on hotels because we don’t spend much time in the room while traveling, but when staying in Phuket, Thailand, I think you’re missing out on part of the luxury experience if you don’t splurge for a top-end resort. We stayed at the Sri Panwa Resort in Cape Panwa, Phuket and were blown away by the private villa we stayed in. It was by far the most romantic and beautiful place I’ve ever stayed.”
– Laura from Savored Journeys
“One of my best hotel experiences was in Thailand a year ago. At that time, I was on a long term traveling journey so trying to save costs. I found a bargain online at a boutique hotel in Koh Lanta. I paid around $12 for a single room that costs $35 in high season. I arrived there and although room was as described, it was full of mosquitos and there were big cockroaches in the toilet. I’m sure this was because the windows had been kept open for the whole day and the toilet door was closed, making it full of humidity. Then I remembered the saying “you get what you pay for”. No matter how much I had paid, there was no reason to be in those conditions so I complained to the staff and they upgraded me to an executive room which much nicer furniture, decoration, and clean. The price was about $50 a night but obviously they didn’t charge me the difference. So I’m glad I complained and the bad experience turned out to be the best because otherwise I can’t afford to pay $50 a night when I’m traveling long term!”
– Carmen from Carmen Everywhere
Ready to score some epic deals? With a nice cuppa tea and a good internet connection, these travel booking hacks should have you on your way:
1. Get price alerts from Kayak
Kayak allows you to sign up for price alerts for particular hotels or dates you’re interested in, so when the price drops, you’ll get an immediate email notification.
2. Snag other traveler’s unwanted rooms
3. Check for hotel coupon deals
4. Use airline miles to purchase hotel rooms
Nope, those miles don’t just count towards flights. Use your airline rewards or miles when making your next booking.
5. Use credit card points to purchase hotel rooms
Many credit cards offer huge bonus points just for signing up or spending a certain amount of money within a set time period (like Chase Sapphire Preferred). Did you know these points can often be used to purchase hotel rooms? Before your next trip, call your bank to see what credit cards they recommend to score the highest bonus.
6. Subscribe for membership discounts
Joining travel organizations can get you major membership discounts. Join AAA for hotel (and car!) deals, and purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) (if you’re under the age of 35) to save on accommodations worldwide.
7. Snatch last minute deals with Priceline
Search Priceline’s Express Deals for super last minute hotel rooms. Though deals like this can save you major $$$ (up to 60% off) there’s no guarantee you’ll get the room you need if you wait until the last minute. If you’re okay playing it on the risky side, give it a try.
8. Check for more last minute deals on Hotel Tonight
Hotel Tonight is an app that lets you book last minute, open hotel rooms at amazing prices. Download the app here.
9. Get paid to write hotel reviews on Yonderbound
No travel blogger status required. Travelers can sign up to write accommodation reviews for Yonderbound as you would for any other review site (think Trip Advisor). The difference is, with Yonderbound, when someone books a hotel after reading about it in one of your “travel stories” you earn 70% of the sales profit. So you’re actually being paid to share your honest travel experiences with others – win win!
10. Ask for deals
Before booking online, call or email the hotel (or a direct person if you can find a name) and simply ask (in your sweetest voice) if they happen to have any deals they can offer you. At the very least, they’ll repeat the same deals or specials you saw online. In the best scenario, they may very well offer you a free room upgrade or a price reduction. This is a must if you’re planning a longer stay (a week+) as hotels are often most eager to offer deals for longer stays. It never hurts to ask.
How do you score on finding the best hotel deals? Let me know in the comments below!
And don’t forget to answer today’s Daily Question on Twitter and Facebook to enter in the #wherewillisleepweek giveaway.
The globetrotting wordsmith behind Take Me With You, Sierra specializes in sustainable, smart blogging strategies for part-time travel bloggers. Her wanderlust has taken her across 3 continents and 11 countries. She is the creator of the free ecourse, Travel Blog In 5.