Planning a vacation can be notoriously stressful. There are so many hotels and accommodations to choose from, it's hard to know if you are getting the best price or not. However, traveling doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, you can find plenty of incredible deals that will make your next trip an affordable one.
Are you spending more than anticipated while planning for an upcoming trip? Keep on reading to discover 8 of the best real hotel booking tips that will save you time and money while you're planning your next vacation.
Learn How to Find the Best Deals
When you're traveling on a budget, it is especially important to find the best deals possible on hotels and flights. Because of this, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the best online tools, search strategies, and little tricks that will help you find the cheapest hotel deals no matter where you're traveling.
Some of the most effective methods for finding budget-friendly accommodations include using hotel price-comparison sites, mystery hotel deal websites, exploring special offers on the global chains' official sites, and looking for discount deals on major hotel booking platforms.
You can even consider travel alternatives, such as hostels, vacation rentals, housesitting, or CouchSurfing. On average, these are significantly cheaper than traditional travel methods.
Use an Online Booking Engine or App
One of the most convenient ways to find deals on hotels is to use an online search and compare tool for making your reservations. This allows you to become your own travel agent for your next getaway. Using an online booking engine grants you access to great deals from hundreds of different hotel options just with the click of a button. You'll have the option to search for the best hotels by price, location, and preferred accommodations.
These search apps are well-loved for their ability to sort through hotels, compare prices for you, and show you which amenities are available at each hotel. But the fun doesn't stop there. Most booking engines offer memberships or benefits for returning customers which ensure that you are getting the best prices that they can offer.
While online booking engines or search apps are the best places to do some research on hotels, there are a few noteworthy negatives. Keep in mind that not all of the nearby hotels show up in search results. The hotel must be working with the engine. In many cases, this means that the hotel pays a commission or fee to the engine itself. This brings us to our next negative. Since the hotel pays to be listed on such services, it is likely that prices will be higher on the search engine than they are when booking directly with the hotel. Make sure you do your research and avoid hidden fees in order to get the best price possible.
Always Use Legitimate Sites
The best way to avoid scams is by using only legitimate hotel booking websites. Dishonest, fraudulent, and misleading travel services may look good at first sight, but once they've got your credit card info, you'll find that they quickly disappear, leaving you without your money and a place to stay.
Do your research before booking with a travel website. Have you heard of the site before? What are other people saying about the site? Finding answers to these questions can help you determine if a site is legit or not.
Hotel Loyalty Programs
Did you know that many of your favorite hotels offer loyalty programs to reward their returning customers? Using a hotel rewards program can help you score better prices and free items, earn points to be used towards bonus items or upgrades, and even earn free stays. Most of these programs only require a name and email address to sign up and doing so can save you time and money while you're booking your next vacation.
Some hotel loyalty programs allow you to build up points when you book stays with them. These points can be cashed in for things like free breakfast, spa access, or room upgrades. Other hotels offer a buy some get one free program which allows you to earn free stays at their hotels after a number of purchases. Cashing in your hotel rewards can be one of the best ways to earn free stays on your next vacation.
It is most common for customers to pay for their hotel room reservations with their credit or debit card. However, at some establishments, paying in cash can offer you a cheaper price than if you pay with a card. This is the case at many smaller hotel chains and independent properties. If you are looking for the best price possible, make sure you ask if they offer discounts for cash payments when you make your reservation.
Some travelers prefer using alternative payment methods, such as PayPal, cryptocurrency, bank transfers, prepaid gift cards, or even miles or reward points.
If you prefer to pay in a certain alternative way, make sure the hotel or booking website actually supports it. Otherwise, you may need to find other accommodations or a different form of payment.
Book Directly Through the Hotel
More often than not, you can save the most money by booking directly through the hotel. Hotels can offer cheaper prices because they don't have to pay a commission or booking fees to an online traveling service. It is more likely for hotels to offer you discounts this way, too. This is one of the most effective tips when it comes to saving money on hotel booking.
Free Trial Offers
Premium travel services are some of the most incredible ways to take the stress off of your vacation and your wallet. Signing up for a premium travel service can help you obtain the cheapest flights, hotels, and upgrades. What's even better is that most of the premium travel-related services offer a free trial period that lets you see what it's all about without paying a cent, for a limited time.
If you're planning to take a trip soon, it's the perfect timing for testing such services that may offer cool and useful things like VIP treatment, upgrades on your flights, and special privileges at hotels. Travel services can even offer expedited airport security screening, travel club membership, and many other options that will help you enjoy a stress-free vacation or business trip.
Book Your Hotel in Advance
The earlier you book your reservation, the cheaper the price for hotels. The trick to this tip is to book a hotel with a free cancellation policy and book it as soon as possible. Then, as your trip approaches, do an additional search to see if you can find a hotel for a cheaper price. If so, cancel your first reservation and book the other one. It's as simple as that!
This tip can help relieve a lot of the stress that comes with booking a hotel. Since you already have a hotel booked for a great price, you don't need to worry as much about finding a cheap hotel for your vacation. However, you are still free to search for a better rate as you please. Just make sure that the initial reservation you make has a free cancellation policy, so you can avoid any additional fees.
On the other hand, if your dates are set and you know which hotel you would like to stay at, you can opt for a non-refundable room rate. This will allow you to pay the lowest possible price for your hotel room accommodations. Keep in mind that you will not be able to cancel your reservation after booking, so you will want to make sure that your dates are set.