So one of the biggest expenses we all face on vacation is lodging. How can you score the lowest fare on a hotel room?
Here are my best suggestions:
- Book directly with the hotel. Do not book online or call the 800# as goes to central reservations and they have NO authority to negotiate rates. However, an individual property has lots of wiggle room, so it is best to call the hotel or motel directly. This is when belonging to a loyalty program is a really good thing. In addition to having sway with management, it also entitles you to all kinds of perks, such as free upgrades and free nights.
- Book early or late. If booking at the last minute using an app, such as Hotel Tonight or Booking Now. It’s all about supply and demand and a hotel would rather give the room away than have vacant rooms. Of course, the flip side is that at popular places during popular times, there may be no rooms. For those who don’t like to take chances, no worries. Book early and you’ll have a guaranteed room and the lowest rate. If you book using Tingo (app) then they will refund the difference if the price goes down after booking assuming that is BEFORE your stay date.
- Try to bundle. Buy a vacation package from an auction site or online travel agency like Priceline or Expedia. They offer all kinds of possibilities, such as flight+hotel package or a flight+car rental package. Speaking of bundling, consider buying a CityPass that covers most major attractions and saves you lots of money. Also, you may want to consider a package that includes parking. In many U.S. cities, parking is $10-$25 a day. Things like this can blow your budget! A great resource is www.parksleeepfly.com.
- Go mid-week if possible. You will always pay less Monday – Friday (checking in on Monday and out on Friday) than on weekends. Plus, attractions are less crowded during the week. The exception is when there is a special event, such as the Olympics or Mardi Gras.
- Try alternatives. There are lots of other lodging choices, such as vacation rentals, camping, cabins, home exchanges, and AirBnB.