Who doesn’t enjoy a few days away from home? It’s a chance to escape and enjoy some downtime by yourself or with friends or family – but the cost of accommodations can eat at your vacation budget.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have friends or family in their destination city. And even if you know people in the city you’re traveling to, you might prefer staying in a hotel. Rather than let hotel rates limit how much fun you can afford, here are eight simple hacks to help you preserve cash.
- Book your hotel and flight together
Many travel sites offer a discount if you book a vacation package, or your hotel and flight together. It’s not a huge savings, but even if you only save $75 or $80, the savings can go toward an extra excursion or help with your food costs.
- Call the hotel directly
The Internet and travel apps make it super easy to book reservations because you don’t have to speak with an actual person. But convenience doesn’t always save money. Many people use their favorite travel sites or book a room through a hotel’s website, but these sites may not offer the latest promotions and deals. Call the hotel directly and ask about last-minute weekend specials or unadvertised off-season specials.
- Find an offsite parking garage
Hotels in large cities are not only more expensive, the garages aren’t always easily accessible and you’re typically required to pay a valet surcharge ranging anywhere from $25-$50 per night. If you don’t mind walking, see if you can locate a nearby 24-hour parking garage. The garage might charge less than the hotel’s surcharge.
- Bring your own cooler and hotplate
Some hotels are clever and they don’t place microwaves or mini-fridges in the rooms unless requested. Even if you request an item, most hotels have a limited supply. So, you have no choice but to eat elsewhere or order overpriced room service. To save money, bring a family sized cooler to keep food items cold, and a hotplate to prepare simple meals in your hotel room. Just make sure you check with the hotel first. Some hotels are cool with the idea, but others don’t want guests cooking in the rooms.
- Write a review
Call the hotel manager in advance and let them know you’re interested in writing a review of the hotel. As a courtesy, the manager might authorize a discount. Understand, however, the discount isn’t a bribe for a stellar review. Inform the manager that you’ll write an unbiased, honest review based on your experience.
- Bring up special occasions
If you’re visiting a hotel for your honeymoon, anniversary or birthday, mention the special occasion when booking your night. Some hotels offer discounted rates for special occasions, and you might enjoy other perks as well. Who knows? You might show up to a bouquet of flowers, a complimentary bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries. Or maybe just some complimentary snacks. Either way, free stuff!
- Ask for a price match
Hotels are competitive and they want to retain as much business as possible. So, if you book a hotel and find a rate slightly cheaper at a comparable chain, call the hotel that has your reservation. Ask the hotel to match the nightly rate charged by the other hotel. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. In other words, don’t ask a four-star hotel to discount your rate based on what a three-star hotel charges.