Once you've learned the ins and outs of how to find cheap hotels, you can plan your vacations with the satisfaction of knowing you're saving money.
Set a Goal
Before you begin searching for hotel deals and discounts, take a moment and consider just what you want to accomplish. Do you want a really nice hotel for the cheapest price possible, or do you just want the cheapest place you can find regardless of its appearance and amenities? Take a look at your budget. With gas prices that are over the top, you may want to cut corners any way you can. Consider how much money you'll spend on gas, food, and incidentals, then decide what accommodations you can afford.
Figuring out how to find cheap hotels is much like searching for any type of bargain. You'll need to comparison shop before you commit to buy. There are numerous online sites that let you compare hotel rates. Some of the most popular ones include the following:
- Travelaxe allows you to find hotel specials and travel deals all across the country, including Florida, California, Hawaii, and more. This website searches other travel sites and compares hotels side by side, making it easy to find the cheapest hotel.
- TravelPost and UpTake hotels let you search multiple websites at once to find the best hotel deals.
- HotelPriceBot bills itself as the hotel price comparison website. It searches all the main hotel reservation sites such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, and more for the best hotel rates.
Make sure you look at the "extras" when calculating the cost of your hotel. If the rate includes a meal such as complimentary breakfast, that may save your budget substantially. Does the hotel offer a shuttle to and from the airport? If you will have a car, how much do they charge for parking? Many hotels add "resort fees" and other costs to the bill, so factor in all these charges when you are hotel comparison shopping. Also, determine whether a more distant location is worth cost savings if you have to drive or pay more to take transportation for your day trips.
Contact the Hotel
If you already know what hotel you'd like to stay in, don't overlook contacting that hotel directly. If you have a similar hotel that offers a better rate, ask the hotel staff if they will match that rate. You can also inquire as to whether they have any deals. If you call the same day, they may offer a discount simply because they want to fill up their rooms. Sometimes hotels will offer discounts for stays over a certain length. Always check online first, however, so you know what discounted prices are going for.
If you really want to stay as cheaply as possibly, then there are a couple of other options you could consider. Hostels can save you big bucks in comparison with hotels. You'll forgo many of the amenities that are associated with hotels, however. For example, depending upon the hostel you choose, you may actually have to share a room with another traveler in dorm-like accommodations. Even if you have your own room, you'll still probably have to share a bathroom with several other guests. Still, if you are looking for a cheap way to travel, this is a good option. To find out more about hostels, contact sites like Hostels.com, Hostel World, and Hostelz. Another option is to stay at a YMCA. Not every city offers accommodations at a local YMCA, so be sure and plan ahead before you travel.
If you are driving to your destination, finding a location that is outside of the city in which you are visiting may save you some bucks as well. While you may have to drive several miles into the city each day, the amount you pay for a hotel may make it well worth your time. However, if you are flying into a city and you don't plan on renting a car, this probably isn't a good option. If you stay within the city, you may be able to use public transportation, which may not be available several miles outside of the city limits.
Finally, travel can be expensive, but there are deals to be had if you know where they are and how to find them. Do your research beforehand, and you could come up with an excellent hotel deal that saves you money.
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