If I ask you, “What is travel really about?” I might receive a wide array of answers. Some people may say it’s all about making wonderful memories with the people you’re with. Others may think it’s a chance to explore new cultures and have adventures in the world. And then, there are plenty of “travelers” who just want to take photos of themselves and post them on Instagram, competing for attention with the Wonder of the World sitting behind them (we all know those people!)
So, what do I think travel is really about? It may not be flashy, romantic, or even fun, but I think travel is essentially about getting there and then staying there; airfare and hotels. As you can see, I tend to be practical after traveling all over the world and even living abroad for years and years.
Without getting there – or airfare (usually) – and staying there (hotels), travel is impossible.
Today, I’m going to give you some tips on how to save money on the latter, hotels. In part one of this series I covered my first five ways to reduce your total cost of hotel stays, and here are five more:
1. Shop around
This may seem obvious, but it really pays to take a few minutes to shop around for the best rate on hotels. Since most hotels are booked online these days on sites like Agoda.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia.com, and more, you should research and find your ideal hotel on one site, but then do a quick Google search or go to a site like Trivago to see if there is a better deal on a different site for that same room and nights.
2. Ask for an early check-in and a late checkout.
You have 24 hours in each day (no kidding?), but the growing trend is for hotels to make you check in later and check out earlier. I actually stayed at a hotel two weeks ago that had a 3pm check in and 11am checkout! So, always request a late checkout and early check-in when you book it online, and then again at the front desk. If they don’t have it ready for you, they may offer a discount, an upgraded room, a coupon for your next stay, or a free meal while you wait.
3. Fill up your water bottles in the lobby or the gym.
Yeah, I’m getting really cheap here, but my goal is to reduce your total cost for staying at a hotel, not just the cost to book a room. And if you delve into the minibar, instead, when you’re thirsty, you might save double digit dollars.
4. Look to book it as a package when you book your airline flight.
People still aren’t catching on that there are great deals to be had if you book your airfare AND hotel stay together (and rental car, as well). When I’m using a flight and hotel site to book online, I like to open several windows for the same flight and hotel so I can compare my options. You may even find that booking your hotel together with airfare saves you 10-25% total!
5. Travel at night.
The best way to save on hotels is to not book them at all! If you’re facing a long flight to a foreign country, or a long bus ride/boat ride within your destination, why not arrange for overnight travel? Not only will you avoid paying a hotel for that night, but you’ll have less traffic/crowds and still be able to catch some ZZZs. Just bring a comfy pillow and earplugs and an eye mask and you’ll sleep like a baby – and save!