If you’re planning a vacation in the near future, odds are you’re going to need to book a hotel room. Rather than looking for the nearest budget motel, why not get creative and find ways to stay within your budget while sleeping in the luxurious accommodations you desire? Read on to discover 5 easy ways to book hotels on the cheap.
Timing is everything
Prices for hotel rooms fluctuate on a daily basis, so checking in multiple times will give you an idea of what the lowest rate is. If you’re headed to a particularly touristy area, you may be able to wait until 24 hours before your stay to book a room, when hotels drop prices to fill vacant spaces.
There are plenty of websites that can help you work out your timing to get the best price on a hotel room. Many predict room availability as well as pricing fluctuations based on past behaviors of the particular hotel you’re looking at.
Look for discounts
If you’re a member of AAA, AARP or any other organization, you may get a significant discount for your membership. You can check online at your group’s webpage or just ask when you call to place the booking. Certain credit cards also offer discounts and perks on various hotel chains, so always ask about any discounts that your preferred lodging offers.
Use reward cards to book
When you finally put in your credit card info to book the room, make sure you use the right card. Use the rewards card with cash back or special perks on hotel stays to maximize your benefits. You can also use cash back websites to double your rewards.
Negotiate your upgrades rather than paying for them
When you book your room, don’t ever choose the nicest room in the place. Instead, choose an affordable room and then ask for an upgrade when you arrive. If you are traveling during the off-season, the odds of you getting that upgrade increase significantly.
There are other methods to getting an upgrade. If you’re traveling for a special occasion such as a wedding or birthday, be sure to mention that. Also, show up right at the check-in time to better your odds of the room booked not being available. You can also try tipping in advance while nicely asking if any upgrades are available. Again, with upgrades your credit card may come in handy. Certain cards offer tools to find room upgrades, credits and other perks.
Watch the prices, even after you book
Once your hotel is booked, your work isn’t done. Keep checking on the rate to see if it has dropped and if it does, seek a price match. This of course will only work if the hotel isn’t booked for an event or function.
Finding ways to book hotels on the cheap can help you make the most of your travel plans. Often, the best deals and discounts require a little leg work, so don’t be afraid to get involved in hunting down the lowest prices available.