In this economy, a lot of people are looking for ways to save their money. Many have given up the luxuries they once indulged in – meals at restaurants, expensive clothing, and fancy vacations. But other people have learned to enjoy the same old pleasures but at significantly lower prices. They have discovered cheaper restaurants and discounted designer garb. And many of them have continued to vacation at the best destinations, but they are doing it on a budget. If you have been wondering how your neighbors manage to stay at such great hotels in these tough economic times, the answer is that they are probably taking advantage of a number of tips and tricks to find the best hotel rates. Below are some of these tips. Use them today to book the vacation you have been eyeing but thought you couldn’t afford!
Do your research. Start your work online, checking out rates on the high end and on the low end. See what you get for the top rates and the low rates. That will help you gauge whether the rate at a particular hotel is a good one. Next look in your price range and see what the market is offering. Figure out the average price of a hotel room that meets your needs. That will be your baseline.
Check all your membership and rewards programs. A lot of people have easy access to lower hotel rates that they forget to ever even consult. Do you have a credit card? A corporate membership? AAA? AARP? Chances are you already have a card in your wallet that gives you a discount. See what those offer you.
Be flexible with your travel dates. Sometimes people have specific travel dates they need to use, but if you are taking a longer vacation and have some flexibility be sure to include that in your online searches. Sometimes just shifting a night or two can save you hundreds of dollars.
Look for a package deal. Many websites will give you a better rate if your book your flight and hotel at the same time, or your hotel and a rental car. This isn’t always a convenient option for travelers, but if it is for you, take advantage of it.
Call the hotel. You would be surprised at how much better of a rate you can get from a human being over the phone rather than a reservations system running online. This often works best at the last minute when the hotel is just happy to rent the room, but you can try it anytime. Be friendly, never get angry, and always ask if there are other options. Say you are willing to take a room on a lower floor or sacrifice a view. They may have something for you.
Figure out the real cost before choosing a hotel. Many hotels have hidden costs that aren’t included in your nightly rate. Check reviews and the fine print to see if your hotel is going to charge you for wireless internet and other services you might expect to be included in the rate. If you are choosing a place for its gym, for example, make sure you know the cost of access.
Of course the most important thing is that you do not sacrifice safety in the name of a better rate. Have fun and stay safe!
About the Author: Adam Franklin is a thrifty dad and jetsetter who specializes in traveling on a budget. He and his family recently reviewed the Thunderbird Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.