25 Hotel Hacks to Save Money While on Holiday
If you want to become an expert in the art of travel, this list is the perfect guide to the greatest hotel hacks to save money.
Sometimes traveling is not just a luxury, but a necessity. Traveling often allows us to relax, and recharge and escape the exhausting daily routine that could cause burnout. Of course, choosing the right home base for your trip is just as important as the destination you choose to travel to. A good hotel can end up being a haven and can definitely make a difference.
There are plenty of hacks you can keep in mind to make your stay more comfortable and lighten your budget a bit. If you want to become an experienced traveler, we’re here to help you learn some handy tricks to save money on hotels and other things during your trip like a pro.
25 Hotel Hacks to Save Money while on Holiday
Like many things in life, traveling also has its tricks, and this applies especially when it comes to getting better deals and hotel reservations. Hacking hotels is actually not that complicated, and you can end up saving considerable amounts of money if you manage to unlock these tricks and take them into account when booking the hotel for your next holiday trip. Here is an extensive list of hotel hacks to save money during holiday travel.
Book the Room and Flight at the same time
Some travel services like Travelocity and Expedia often offer great discounts when booking the hotel room and flight together. However, this comes with conditions like having to pay in advance for both, while cancellations or changes when booking this way can be more expensive. This may affect your trip in terms of flexibility, but if you already booked established dates, it could be a handy hack to lower costs.
Hotels both inside and outside the United States often offer good discounts to AAA members. Having a AAA membership could save significant amounts of money each year, especially if you are a frequent flyer or even if you only travel once a year.
If you want to travel internationally with your car, being part of one of these organizations can also be very useful since AAA offers international driving permits. As such, it makes it simple for you to be eligible to rent a car overseas, although you will probably need your passport to do so.
When you’re staying for moer than a week, ask for a discount. The most effective way to obtain this type of discount is to contact the hotel where you plan to stay directly. While you might have to pay upfront, many hotels will allow weekly payments.
Use Credit Card Registration Bonuses
Most people don’t sign up for new credit cards regularly. So you may not be aware of a new credit card’s advantages. Depending on the amount of credit they have, some credit cards can bring benefits such as free tickets for companions or incredible discounts on hotel booking. To access to this trick, you must request your new credit card well in advance and register to obtain your bonuses.
Get the Most Out of Your Elite Status
Having elite status for one or more hotel loyalty programs can qualify you for nice perks like early or late check-in, free room upgrades, or free breakfast. Of course, guests with elite status often also receive privileged treatment from the hotel staff, who are often more attentive and responsive to their special requests, though loyalty programs might take time to build before you receive benefits.
Get Status Matching on Hotel Loyalty Programs
When you are part of a hotel’s loyalty program, you can call other hotels to see if there is a chance to get matched status, which many hotels will offer. You don’t need to empty your pockets on hotels to gain elite status; since there are mid-range hotels that belong to chains, it may be enough to stay a couple of nights in a hotel to be eligible for this status throughout the chain.
Browse Hotel Websites in Incognito Mode
This may sound strange, but it’s a really simple hack to get a better deal. When you schedule a hotel room abroad, try the following: Open the hotel’s website you want to book using your usual search engine. Then open a second window in incognito mode, or another anonymous search engine option, on the same hotel web page. Generally, you will notice that even considering foreign transaction fees, the rates offered through the foreign website are much cheaper than the domestic website.
Book Directly with the Hotel
One call can save you a significant amount of money. Call the hotel directly when you want to book and you may find a lower rate than other booking sites. This is especially true when scheduling out of season when hotels generally do not have the same number of guests as during the holidays.
Schedule out of Season
Any trip to almost any destination made during the busy season will mean higher prices for hotels and flights than traveling off-season. Traveling in the off season can save you incredible amounts of money. Even traveling in the shoulder season – that is, just before or just after the high season – can also lighten your budget significantly. Though you should consider that you may probably experience less favorable weather conditions in the off season.
Schedule in Business Hotels if You Travel on the Weekend
If you plan to have a quick trip to a big city, staying in business hotels for the weekend can be one of the most convenient hotel hacks to save money. Most business happens Monday through Friday. Therefore, many business hotels tend to lower their rates on weekends when they tend to be less crowded. This hack can also work in reverse. Many hotels in tourist destinations tend to be cheaper during weeknights when tourism is lower.
Accumulate Miles when Scheduling
There are some websites where you can book hotels and accumulate hotel points, similar to frequent flyer miles. This is mostly available when scheduling directly with the hotel or participating in a loyalty program. In some cases it can be a trade-off. There are websites where you can collect frequent flyer miles with each hotel booking, but you may have to pay a little more for hotel bookings this way. You also lose hotel points. However, when you rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles, you may even get free flights at some point, which can end up saving you a lot more in the long run.
Use Hotel Reservation Sites
These aggregators work in the same way as airfare aggregators, comparing different prices from different airlines. You can use hotel booking aggregators like Kayak or Trivago, which compare hotel room rates available on other websites. To use this hack effectively, you just need to have an idea of the destination you want to go to and the approximate date you want to travel.
Beware of Hidden Commissions
At first glance, some hotels may seem very affordable or offer very attractive starting prices. But some hotels have a trick up their sleeve by charging ridiculous hidden fees. You may get charged an early check-in or late check-out fee, child or pet fees, parking fees, peak season fees, you name it. Some hotels may abuse these types of rates, so when you go to book, make sure you read all the reservation guidelines well to avoid these types of extra charges.
Offer to Write a Review of the Hotel
If you’re a travel blogger or active on Yelp or Tripadvisor, mention this to the hotel manager when you call to book. You can also talk to the manager while you’re at the hotel and offer to write a review or blog post about your hotel experience and ask if you can get some kind of discount or offer in exchange for this. Try to be honest about it and don’t offer a positive review upfront as it won’t look good and a reputable establishment may immediately reject the offer. On the other hand, if you get a positive response about writing the review or blog post, try to thoroughly disclose the overall treatment you received during your stay.
Ask for Reimbursement for Previous Unsatisfactory Experiences
You may stay in a hotel with certain expectations and end up having a bad experience. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, you may be able to request a full refund of what you paid for your hotel stay or at least a significant amount of the fee. Let’s say that the television in your room did not work during the whole time you were in the hotel, that the room was a bit messy, you did not have hot water in the shower, the bed was so uncomfortable you couldn’t sleep well – even with the most sophisticated sleep mask – or you had poor treatment from the staff. In any case, you can make a polite, but firm complaint to the marketing department or hotel manager directly. This will usually result in discount coupons or free upgrades on future stays.
Most of the time, one of the best hotel hacks to save money is to go straight to the front desk and ask for an better room. In case you don’t feel outgoing enough to take such a direct approach, you can ask to explore several hotel rooms before finally choosing one. This way, you can avoid being assigned a gloomy room facing a wall or an alley that is probably a similar price as another room with a beautiful view from the windows.
Prioritize Location Over Amenities
It’s a fact that when you’re traveling on a tight budget, you sometimes have to give up certain perks. But when prioritizing, it is better to give more importance to the hotel’s location than to its amenities. A simple but organized room with a strategic area that connects to downtown or a few steps from the beach is much better than a room full of comforts that’s located far from the things you want to do and see. You may even end up spending more on taxi rides than you had planned. Therefore, a good location is better than many unnecessary luxuries.
Bring Your Own Kitchen Utensils, pot, and cooler
Many hotels do not have a kitchen in the room or facilities for their guests to cook. Although most hotels usually have a small fridge inside each room, many others do not offer this. Whatever the case, bringing your own kitchen utensils, disposable plates, cooler, and buying food locally to “cook” in your room can save you a ton of money. If you’re concerned about sticking to your diet, don’t worry, because it’s totally possible to eat healthy while staying in a hotel. Furthermore, room service can add high costs to your hotel rate, so it’s often best to avoid using it. Many hotels have no problem with their guests bringing their own food, but you can ask beforehand to verify if you are not sure.
Avoid “Free Breakfast” Hotels
Ironically, many hotels that offer “free” breakfast actually tend to add a few dollars to the main booking price. Also, it is not necessary to choose a hotel based on whether or not it offers free breakfast. Those “free” breakfasts are often not even good enough to base your decision on. You can equip yourself to make your own breakfast by going to a grocery store near the hotel and getting some bread, fruit, cereal, or whatever you want to start your day on the right foot. In this way, you can also save a little money.
Avoid the Hotel Bar
Rather than buying marked up drinks at the hotel bar, you can buy a six-pack at the nearest store or gas station, fill the sink with ice from the ice machine and hotel water, and use the sink as a cooler. It’s definitely cheaper to have a beer in your quiet room while watching a movie than to hang out at the hotel bar, where the beers are probably more expensive. The great thing about this trick is that it also works for sodas, wine, cocktails, or whatever you want to drink.
Notify the Hotel about Special Occasions
In case you go on a trip or are booking for a special celebration such as a birthday or wedding anniversary, notify the hotel of this. For example, inform the hotel manager if the special occasion happens to be your wedding and your whole family or a large group of friends will also be staying at the hotel. You may receive a discounted rate or some free upgrades to the honeymoon suite.
Ask for Free Wi-Fi
Having access to Wi-fi is an essential requirement, especially when traveling for work. Wi-fi access is necessary even if you don’t plan to check your work email during the trip. Most hotels offer free Wi-fi to all their guests regardless of their status or on a loyalty plan. But some hotels reserve Wi-fi access to their guests in the loyalty program. Whatever your case, try to insist on getting free Wi-fi at the reception or check this on the hotel’s website before you book a room there.
Connect the TV in the Room to Your Computer
Hotel rooms are often equipped with an expensive TV, but cable TV services can be disappointing and expensive. To be prepared for this type of situation and to be able to use this trick, you will probably need an HDMI cable or a casting device like Chromecast or Amazon FireTV. Still, if you have one of these, and the TV in your hotel room has an HDMI port, you can watch your favorite movies or shows from some of your devices.
Avoid the Hotel Laundry Service
Some hotels offer laundry service, which can be very convenient, but they often provide this service at a high rate. You can save some money by washing what you really need to wash in the bathroom of your room. You can rinse your clothes in the bathroom sink and then hang them on the shower rod overnight to dry. You only have to pack a travel-size bag of the detergent that you like the most in your overnight travel bag for this trick.
Book Refundable Fares and Check Back Often
Try to find the best available, refundable rate for the room you want to book and check periodically for hotel promotions or discounts. Non-refundable rates can be much cheaper than the “best available” at first glance, but don’t be put off by this alone. Many of these non-refundable fees can end up being much more expensive than what you could receive.