Previously we posted on ways to save money on hotels. This article from Penny is in line to that one with putting more emphasis on tricks to choose cheapest yet better budget hotel in your destination. Hope you’ll enjoy the post! Are you planning a trip, but are you worried about the cost? One of the best ways for you to stretch those vacation dollars out is to be smart about your sleeping options. If you research a little before you book, getting budget accommodation is easy. Read on for ideas on how to find a low-cost hotel room that suits your travelling style.
Research the Area
Before going on your vacation, research the average price of hotels in the area you’ll be travelling to. Once you know the average, decide how much you can afford to pay. However, just because a hotel meets your price range doesn’t mean you should book it immediately.
Because cheaper hotels are often farther from a city’s main sites, look at the transportation options that you’ll have in the area. Factor in the cost of getting to and from your hotel. For example, if you search for hotels near New York City, you may find some lower-priced options in New Jersey or areas other than Manhattan that will help you keep costs down while still being close enough to public transportation.
(Related – Getting ready financially for vacation travel)
Can You Self-Cater?
Our biggest expenses when travelling are usually transport, accommodation and food. If your budget hotel has a kitchenette in the room, a shared kitchen on one floor or even just an electric kettle or a microwave, you’ll save some money on breakfasts or light meals.
Even if one of your main goals while travelling is to try local food, if you can save money on one or two meals a day, then you’ll have more money to spend on the third meal. Another thing to check is if breakfast is included in your room’s price.
Does It Have a Curfew?
Very low-priced budget hotels, in some parts of the world, may have curfews. If you’re not usually a night owl, this may not bother you. But, for some travelers, having to be home by a certain time sounds more like high school than a holiday.
Read the fine print on the booking website and in reviews by other travelers to see if the hotel you’re thinking of staying at will allow you to come and go as you please.
(Related – Best travel advice I ever received, Walk)
Consider Customer Reviews
As mentioned, reading customer reviews is a great way to get a feel for whether it’s “your” kind of place or not. What aspects of the hotel are most important to you? If you don’t care about the view in your room because you plan to stay out all day sightseeing, then “bad” reviews that complain about this can be disregarded.
On the other hand, if you’re hoping for convenient access to a bus or subway line and the “good” reviews mention it’s a 20-minute walk from the hotel and that taxis are scarce, you’ll know it may not be best for you.
Select Your Season
Some times of the year, you can stay in upper-tier hotels for budget prices. Many locations around the world have high and low seasons. If you choose to visit in the low season, you may be happy to find rooms are on offer at hefty discounts. The time on either side of a high season is called “shoulder season,” and prices may be better then as well.
(Related – How to save money on airline ticket)
Book in Advance
Hotel managers like to know their establishments will be full enough to cover their overheads, so they want to attract customers who book early. They may do this through discounted room rates, if you book several months in advance.
This works best in locations that have busy high seasons — these places often have more rooms than tourists the rest of the year and so they make their rates competitive. Not all travel arrangements can be booked early, but if you can do so, it may save you more than a few dollars a night.
About the Author: Penny Martin is a software designer by day — and a travel-booking guru by night.
SB’s thoughts: While these are all awesome advice. My technique is to bid for hotels through Priceline.com. I select an area which is slightly on the outer side of the main city area. But, before I bid for a room, I do check the current prevailing rates though other sites. I generally saved 30 – 40% through bidding.
My friends argue with me saying we do not control the hotel we will be booked through bidding. ure, that’s one of the disadvantages. But, if you put a minimum star category, you’ll surely get one of the better hotels.
In our experience of using bid to buy hotel room of 7 years, we rarely got a room we didn’t like.
Readers, what do you think the best way to save money on hotel cost? Do share your opinions and thoughts.
Getting stuck with a hotel or hostel that has a curfew is a pain if you planned on being out late. With small places, it’s always good to ask ahead of time.
even in a bad locality, without curfew, it’s a problem. I would book a hotel in a better locality rather than going absolutely cheap
Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo says
Great tips!! Thanks for sharing. I’ve found transportation to be the most important thing to consider when booking my hotel. I’ve found low and reasonably proced lodging but the cost to travel to and from the airport and then to other destinations on my itinerary to be more expensive than the savings. Location location location, as they say in real estate.
Can’t agree more. I value walking in a new city to know the place better. In that case either I had to book hotels in the downtown area or near public transportation. Once you book a hotel on a busy street, for example, “International Drive” in Orlando has all sorts of transportation to go to parks and even downtown.
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
When traveling for business or pleasure, I always ask for an additional discount or room upgrade at the front desk. If a hotel has a lot of vacancies, they just may be willing to give you something extra. I have found this to work about half the time.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Yes, definitely figure cost of transit to and from hotel into total cost and read reviews. I had NO IDEA some hotels had curfews. I would not be happy if I was locked out for an evening I paid for.
Connor Harley says
Whenever I book myself in a hotel, I don’t just go for the cheap ones. I do research also on the hotel I will be staying and customer reviews are very helpful.
Management Training says
One should check the reviews before moving in. A bad hotel can spoil your holidays or weekends. Also, try to book the hotel in group to get some additional discount.
[email protected] says
I use a website like Priceline when I need a hotel room and read what others who have stayed at the hotel have to say in the reviews. The hotel might advertise one thing and then not be able to deliver the level of service they thought they could. I am easy though, if the room is clean and basically roach free (one visible roach is my limit) I am basically good for the night.
Nice tips, thanks for sharing.. Transportation is very important to me. I always research the place before I book for a hotel…