When it comes to travelling, trying to keep everything - including your accommodation - within budget can be tricky. These nine saving secrets, from finding 'big hotel' alternatives to booking bundles, are good to know before you jump in and spend your dollars!
1. Compare Costs
If you've found a hotel you love and just have to stay at, make sure you shop around and compare the rates being offered. You might just find the same room (or a similar room) for a much cheaper rate through a booking website or similar. Rate comparison sites can also be incredibly helpful, pulling together various offers/costs so you can see them all on one page.
2. Dodge the Big Hotels
Big hotels can be fancy, but also expensive. Think: Is the price worth it? Or are you more interested in the travel experience itself? If so, other options like boutique hotels, lodges, B&Bs, hostels and motel accommodation can all save you lots, while still giving you a comfy place to sleep.
Do your research and have a look at what other accommodation options are available in your destination. You might just find something great for half the price of a big hotel.
3. Re-consider Your Location
Staying in the heart of a destination is great, but it's also a hot zone where accommodation prices are highest. If you really need to save, look for accommodation outside of he main city or town area.
Rates will often be much lower, and the hospitality can be just as wonderful. You'll also get a glimpse of what life and living is 'really' like in the destination - and you might even meet some locals!
Just make sure there's an easy way (bus, train, bike?) to get you from your hotel to the city or main attractions.
4. Sign Up for Deals!
Accommodation and booking websites frequently offer deals to their subscribers with the goal of getting them to visit their site and buy. If you know what you're looking for, try signing up to the hotel/brand/website newsletter or similar. You'll end up on their email list, hopefully with some good offers landing in your inbox.
Following the company on social media is also a good way to get a heads up about offers and deals!
5. Go for Free Cancellation
This is a great money-saver if you're unsure of the accommodation you're booking or if there's a chance you might have to cancel later on. Free Cancellation (which is usually offered up until a certain time before check-in; e.g. 72 hours) means you won't have to pay any fees if you cancel. And if you find a cheaper hotel - you'll save even more!
The only catch with many rooms that include Free Cancellation is that you have to pay up front.
6. Change Your Dates
This may not be possible for everyone, but if you can be flexible with your travel dates, it can help you save all around. Accommodation rates commonly go up on Friday and Saturday nights, but for the rest of the week they can be much cheaper.
Similarly, travelling in the off-season can help too - you'll see hotel rates go down significantly outside of the peak travel season.
7. Get (and Use) Rewards
Most hotels and chains offer rewards programs, so if you're going to be travelling fairly frequently, it can be a good idea to sign up and start earning points. Some rewards programs are point-based, while others might offer you something like one free night after you've racked up a certain number of nights.
8. Book a Bundle
Bundled packages can be a good way to save money, too. Bundles will combine flight and accommodation costs into one package - and often the accommodation can be much cheaper than if you were to book it separately.
If you go for a bundle, just double-check the details of the hotel and the room you'll be staying at. Is it reputable? What type of room/amenities/facilities are on offer? Does the hotel have any construction going on? Are there any additional fees?
9. Check the Price is All-Inclusive
Most of the time, this applies to hotels and other accommodation options when booking overseas. The first rate you see on the site may or may not include things like taxes and fees, so investigate further before you book.
In the US, for example, many hotel costs can be displayed without tax, and in Mexico, some resorts also tack on a 'resort fee' that isn't included in the base price.