Every year, guests spend over 1.1 billion nights at hotels across the United States. More than five million hotel rooms speckle the country. There’s no doubt that you’ll rely on a hotel sometime in the future.
And when you do, are you prepared to get the best price? Oftentimes, traveling can seem like a luxury. But if hotel prices are limiting your vacation opportunities, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are plenty of ways to save money on hotels.
The vacation of your dreams is in reach. Pack your bags, because these hotel hacks just made traveling way more affordable.
1. Pledge Your Loyalty
From airlines to grocery stores, it seems every business has its own loyalty program. This includes most hotel brands.
Generally, becoming a member leads to immediate rewards. These might be small bonuses, such as free Wi-Fi or lower rates.
But in addition to sign-up incentives, you’ll also earn points that will lead to offers such as free nights or access to special deals and prices.
2. Don’t Want to Commit?
Hotel accommodation providers like Expedia or Travelocity don’t always have the cheapest rates, but many have loyalty programs of their own. If you don’t want to pledge yourself to a single hotel, then take advantage of some of these alternative offers.
These can mean lower prices, members-only perks, and even free nights.
3. Avoid the Food Bar
Everyone loves a free breakfast, but it isn’t always available at certain hotel chains. Although a paid breakfast may be a special treat, the price can add up.
So instead, pack your own food. Even if your room is lacking a kitchen component, you’ll still have a coffee maker. Heat up some water to make a simple and filling oatmeal.
This advice is true for the minibars as well. Want to know how to save money on hotels? Don’t buy their alcohol. A common hotel hack is to fill your sink with ice and use it as a refrigerator.
4. Schedule in the Off-Season
During the most popular travel and vacation times, airlines and hotels will raise their prices. You know the deal: supply and demand. If your schedule can accommodate, you’ll save big by booking a hotel room during the off-season.
Not only will you score a lower rate, but many hotels have special deals to try and encourage guest attendance.
5. Be Direct
How do you find a hotel room? If you’re like most Americans, you probably use a hotel accommodation provider like Expedia. While these are convenient, they don’t always lead to the best deals.
Once you choose a hotel, contact them directly. Many hotels try to offer the lowest prices on their personal websites. Or you can take it a step further and call the hotel to price match or ask about hidden special offers.
6. Look for a Bundle Deal
Some travel providers allow you to book a flight in addition to the hotel room. Depending on the deal, you could save hundreds of dollars. Just be aware that you need to pay the fees upfront and cancellation might not be possible.
7. Extended Stays Mean Extended Deals
Will you be staying at the hotel for a week or more? Many offer special deals for extended stays. But these deals are specific to the hotel and not likely to be found online.
Contact the hotel and inquire about extended stay discounts. Keep in mind that these discounts tend to require advanced pay.
8. Hotel Hacks? Think Hotel Credit Cards
Yes, you read that right. Just like loyal programs, hotel-specific credit cards offer a variety of travel incentives. Some sign-up bonuses include things like free nights and room upgrades.
Some of these cards require annual fees or purchase requirements, which means you’ll need to use the credit card to earn your rewards.
9. Skip the Laundry Service
On-site laundromats or laundry services are a luxury no matter where you are. Thankfully, you won’t ever need them. If you’re having a short stay, you could have enough clean clothes to avoid washing entirely.
But when you need to clean your clothes, just use your room’s sink or bathtub. Add in a bit of detergent, and you’ve got your own washing machine! You can hang your clothes on the shower rod.
Be sure to put some towels down to avoid spilling water everywhere.
10. Snatch Domestic Rates
Of all the hotel room hacks, this one feels the… hackiest? Both airlines and hotels offer you rates and deals based on your location. If you visit a foreign page with an incognito browser, these websites will allow you to book with domestic rates.
You’ll have to pay foreign transaction fees, so make sure the savings are worth it!
11. You Only Need Your Computer
Every modern hotel room has a flat-screen television. Instead of paying for the hotel’s cable or movie package, hook your computer to the television with an HDMI cable.
You’ll be able to stream the contents of your computer directly to the screen. Don’t forget to bring your DVDs or download the movies ahead of time!
12. Hotels Love to Accommodate
If you’re staying at the hotel for a special occasion, such as a wedding or honeymoon, let the hotel know! Most staff will go out of their way to decorate your room for the occasion and include complimentary gifts.
While the gifts are nice additions, you might also snag an upgrade to a honeymoon suite, especially during the off-season.
Enjoy a Guilt-Free Vacation
A vacation is supposed to be a fun time to unwind and experience some rest and relaxation. With these hotel hacks, stop worrying about hotel prices or paying more than you should. You’ll keep the cost down, snag some great deals, and enjoy some delightful freebies.
So what are you waiting for? Get searching! An unforgettable vacation is just around the corner.