The more affordable you make your vacation, the more fun you can have and the more things you can see and do. How do you make your travel more affordable? By bringing down the costs on the major expense heads, such as travel, hotels and food. Here are 15 ways you can cut costs on your hotel expenses.
1. Get into the Hotel Rewards Program
Some hotel reward programs award free nights and free amenities to patrons. Check out reward program reviews and talk to other members before signing up. Check out programs from Holiday Inn, Choice Hotels, Caesar’s and so on.
2. Use Priceline.com
Priceline.com is a fantastic bidding site for hotels. You specify what you want and how much you are willing to pay and Priceline puts up the options. However, you cannot cancel a reservation once made. Use Hotels.com to study regular rates for the time period and see if Priceline is really offering you a good deal before booking your hotel.
3. Make A Budget and Stick To It
Determine how much you are willing to spend on hotel. Base this figure on actual research. After all, you need a hotel room just to sleep at night. Budget a reasonable figure and stick to it.
4. Stay During Off Season
If you are willing to be flexible, you can stay at good hotels during off season and still get a darn good deal, at literally 50% down from seasonal deals.
5. Stay Away From Attractions
A hotel smack at the heart of town will cost much more than a hotel that’s a bit away. Use local transport to get to the city whenever you want and stay at a cheaper place a distance away from major attractions.
6. Use the Same Hotel Chain
Using the same hotel chain wherever you go benefits you in several ways. For one thing, signing up for the rewards program will benefit you. Secondly, as a regular patron you can get better rates, upgraded rooms and meal deals just by mentioning you’ve stayed there before.
7. Opt For Travel Packages
Look for travel deals on sites such as Expedia.com where your airfare, hotel reservation and car rentals can be clubbed. Be sure to enter your rewards program information in Expedia and maximize your savings as you travel.
8. Consider Other Types of Hotels
Look up inexpensive hostels at Hostels.com; be sure to read reviews in detail. Think about camping at campgrounds, or even toting along an RV if you’re on a road trip. For an extended trip with a large group, renting an apartment or furnished vacation home is a good idea. You can also check out home swapping sites such as HomeExchange.com and trade your home for another’s.
9. Check with Your Credit Card for Hotel Credits
Some credit cards have affiliations with hotels; check if your reward points can earn you a free hotel stay, even if it’s just for a day or two. You might even get a good deal for the remaining part of your vacation by using the same card to pay up.
10. Look for Hotel Credit Cards
Some hotels actually issue credit cards to patrons with free nights on first purchase; the Choice Hotels Visa credit card is a good example. Also consider the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card as well.
11. Factor In Other Money-saving Advantages
Factor other money-saving advantages into your hotel room cost, such as a complimentary breakfast, fitness center, kitchenette where you can cook your own meals and so on. If there’s a grocery store or supermarket nearby, that’s an additional money-saving factor. Look for free shuttle service, free snacks, spa discounts, gasoline gift certificates and complimentary drinks.
12. Check out Hidden Costs and Fees
Be sure to check for any hidden costs. If your room has a large water bottle in it, don’t use it till you know it’s free. Check out costs for parking, phone and internet use and use of the in-room safe.
13. Leverage Coupons and Deals
Sign up on sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Look up deals-of-the-day in local city pages. Check out coupons and codes for attractions, hotel and restaurants from free tourist guide books. Look for coupons at restaurants, gas stations, stores close to major highways, tourist attractions, airports, train or bus stations, rental car companies and so on.
14. Leverage Existing Discounts
Check what discounts you already have, such as student discounts, AAA discounts, and AARP membership discounts, military personnel discount and so on.
15. Get a Church or Temple Membership
This one is often ignored. The Iskcon temple network of India is spread around the world. Members are allowed to stay for free at any of the temple hotels overseas. See if your church or temple affiliations can offer you free stay at monasteries or the like.
Teena writes for adventure gift idea Company with over 2,000 adventure filled gifts for men across Australia and New Zealand.