Are you planning a vacation or business trip? Aside from airfare, the cost of lodging can easily be the highest expense of any getaway, especially for longer stays. Hotel rates tend to fluctuate often, and depending on when and how you book your next hotel room, you can save a lot of money. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the following tips can help you save on your next hotel booking:
Book at the right time
When it comes to booking hotel rooms, your best bet is to usually book as far in advance in possible. Not only can this help you get the best rate, but if it’s a popular property that tends to fully book up, you won’t have to worry about getting a room.
On the other hand, if you’re into spontaneous travel plans, booking the very last minute can sometimes mean big savings. Although it may be difficult or impossible to book a popular hotel at the last minute during its peak season, available hotels will sometimes lower their rates drastically in an attempt to fill any remaining vacancies. If you’re looking into booking a room the day before or the day of, check different hotel websites for last-minute deals. The HotelTonight app is also a great tool for finding last-minute hotel deals.
Redeem credit card rewards
If you use a credit card that offers rewards for purchases, check to see how many points you have and if you can redeem them for travel. Many credit card reward programs work with major hotel chains, and allow customers to redeem points for hotel stays. You may have enough points to receive a discounted rate, or even free nights!
Don’t travel during peak season
If possible, avoid traveling to certain destinations during their peak seasons. Not only will hotels be crowded, but they will also be their most expensive during the season. Instead, opt for off-season, depending on the destination you’re visiting. If you’re planning a trip that relies on good weather and the weather is notorious for being awful during off-season, traveling during shoulder season—the time period between off-season and peak season—can be a good compromise.
Work with a travel agent
Most travel agents won’t charge upfront fees for using their services, as they make their money from commission, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to find out what rates they can get for you. Even if they’re unable to beat any other rates you found on your own, they can sometimes offer exclusive perks for booking through them—such as free breakfast or discounted spa packages.
Look into all-inclusive options
Many popular vacation destinations—tropical destinations in particular—offer several different all-inclusive resorts to choose from. While the base rate of an all-inclusive resort might be a bit higher than you were hoping to spend, you have to consider that this rate includes all food, drinks, and certain activities. Depending on how much time you plan on spending at the hotel, this may or may not save you a lot of money on your trip overall. Compare costs of non-inclusive options and crunch some numbers to determine what would be the most cost-efficient.