18 Simple Tips to Save Money on Hotels

Now that we can travel again, everyone wants to know how to save money on hotels. With prices going up in just about every industry, it’s important to save as much as you can on your hotel stay so you can keep traveling.

Fortunately, it’s not as hard as it seems to get the best deals on your hotel stays. Here are 18 ways to save money on your hotels.

1. Travel in the off season

Avoid staying at hotels when demand is high because that means higher prices. Instead, book when attendance is low and you’re more likely to score a good deal. Each destination has different busy and slow times. Do your research on the area and find out when the area is the slowest. 

Even if the advertised rates aren’t low, you’ll have a better chance at working out a deal when you call to make your reservations if it isn’t peak travel time there.

2. Use comparison sites, but don’t book

You have many options when comparing hotel prices from sites like Expedia, Kayak, or Travelocity, but only compare prices. Use the site to get the best pricing, read reviews about hotels, and choose where you’ll stay, just don’t book it yet.

Instead, hop on the phone and call the hotel directly. Tell them the rate you found online and ask if they can do any better. If they can’t discount the rate anymore, they may throw in an upgrade or free breakfast. 

3. Stay during the week and not the weekend

If you’ve ever looked at the difference between weekday rates and weekend rates, you’ve seen the vast difference. If you can be flexible, make your stay during the week, avoiding Friday or Saturday night stays since they can be the most expensive.

4. Avoid common tourist areas

Even if you’re traveling to a ‘touristy’ area don’t bunk there. Choose a hotel that’s 20 to 30 minutes away and you could save hundreds of dollars on your trip. Staying amidst the hustle and bustle of the area comes at a premium. By staying further away not only do you save money, but you’ll have a quieter stay.

5. Use a hotel app to book last minute deals

Last-minute deals can be a great deal or wildly expensive depending on your destination. Don’t take a chance. If you have a last-minute trip, book it on Priceline Express. While you won’t know the name of the hotel you’re staying at until you pay, you’ll save as much as 60% off the hotel stay using Priceline Express.

6. Look for package deals

If you’re traveling by plane or will rent a car, consider booking a package deal. Many sites offer better deals when you book accommodations together. Expedia or Booking.com are both great sites to get package deals, but you can even get them on the airline’s website or when using a travel site, such as Costco.com

7. Join the hotel’s loyalty program

Many hotels have loyalty programs that earn you points for every stay. You may also have access to exclusive deals by being a member. Either way, you can redeem your accumulated points for savings on your hotel stays and sometimes even a free night.

As a bonus, you may get free perks, like free continental breakfast or free WiFi just for being a loyalty member.

8. Check prices right before you travel

If you book early (and you should), recheck prices periodically. If rates drop, you may be able to cancel your original reservation and book a new one at a lower rate. Just make sure you know the hotel’s cancellation policy. Most allow you to cancel with no fee up to 48 hours before your stay but every hotel is different, so read the fine print before doing this.

9. Check for discounts provided by any of your memberships

If you’re a member of AAA, AARP, a credit union, or any other organization, you may get a discounted rate at certain hotels. If you aren’t sure, call the hotels in the area you plan to stay and tell them what organizations you’re a member of – they may have pre-selected deals ready for you.

10. Consider an Airbnb

If you can’t find affordable hotels in the area, check out Airbnb. You may find cheaper and more comfortable accommodations than a hotel room going this route. Most Airbnbs are full-size houses you can rent and have the comforts of a real home versus just a room.

11. Sell your non-refundable hotel stays on Roomer Travel

If you booked a non-refundable hotel room and you can’t travel anymore, sell it on Roomer Travel. Most sellers offer the stay at a discounted price, but you’ll at least get some money back. If you’re looking to stay somewhere, check the site for what’s available where you’re traveling and see if you can save a few dollars on your hotel stay.

12. Choose an extended stay hotel

Extended stay hotels are supposed to be more like a studio apartment versus a hotel room because you’re staying longer. While they have a not-so-popular reputation, extended stay hotels have come a long way and offer everything you need. You can save money on the stay, especially if you stay when the business professionals have gone home, and money on dining out since they have kitchenettes or sometimes full kitchens in them.

13. Follow your favorite hotels on social media

Every business today is on social media and if you follow them you may have access to exclusive deals, even at hotels. Watch your favorite hotel’s feed for special discounts and take advantage of the savings.

14. Look for promo codes

Just like you shouldn’t shop online without a promo code, you should also look for a hotel promo code before booking. Sites like Koopy make it easy to score promo codes for everything you need for your trip including the hotel. 

15. Use incognito mode to search for hotels

If you already visited a hotel’s website or stayed there and it’s in your cookies, the hotel may charge you more just for being a repeat customer. Even though it should be the other way around, there’s a way for you to get around it. Use an incognito browser before you check out hotel fares so you don’t get caught in the higher rate trap.

16. Book early

If you know well in advance about your travel plans, book your hotel early. If you book before the rush, you’ll score a better deal than if you waited until after a lot of others booked. This works well if you must travel during a busy period. You’ll keep your costs down and still be able to travel when you want.

17. Stay at multiple hotels

If you’re staying in a popular area or at a hotel at a popular time, consider splitting up your time between a couple of hotels. If you can find a cheaper hotel for a couple of days, check out of the original hotel and move to the cheaper hotel for the rest of your vacation.

18. Prepay for your hotel

Some hotels offer a steep discount if you pay for it before you stay. You’ll typically see two prices – one prepaid rate and one pay when you stay rate. As long as the cancellation policy is acceptable, go ahead and prepay and save the money.

FAQs on How to Save Money on Hotels

How can you get a free hotel room?

The easiest way to get a free hotel room is to join the hotel’s loyalty program. If you are loyal to one hotel chain and you stay at hotels often, it’s not hard to earn enough points for a free night’s stay. Another great way to get a free hotel stay is to use an airline miles credit card, redeeming your points for a free night’s stay.

How can you save money on food while staying at a hotel?

Avoid hotel restaurants and bars, as the food is typically high priced and not worth it. Instead, book hotels that offer free breakfast or free happy hour with appetizers. You should also look for hotels with a kitchenette so you can have your favorite breakfast foods, lunch, and snack foods handy and can avoid eating out.

Can you save money by booking at the last minute?

Timing is everything when booking hotels. Sometimes you can save money booking at the last minute if the hotel didn’t book up and needs more rooms sold. But, if the hotel is fairly booked, don’t expect any great rates even if you book at the last minute.

How do you save money on hotels with name your price?

Name your price sites, like Priceline, allow you to name the price you’ll pay, but you have to book blindly. This means you don’t know what hotel you’re staying at until you pay for it and then the name is revealed. It can be a gamble, but most people save a good amount of money this way.

Final Thoughts – How to Save Money on Hotels

Saving money at hotels takes a little thinking outside the box. With some legwork and enough planning, you can get rock bottom prices on your hotel stay. Even if you have to book at the last minute, use your resources online, and if that doesn’t work, call the hotel directly to find out what deal they can offer you for your trip.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and koopy.com contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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