By Noah Henry • June 02, 2014
The coming of June is the unofficial commencement of summer. As such, it is now that many begin plotting their summer travels. Vacations are all about fun, so why can’t vacation planning be, too? Of course, having fun planning a vacation is contingent upon receiving the best rates possible. It’s never a good time spending your discretionary margarita funds before you even take the trip.
When it comes to hotels, there is a way to feel like you’ve got a steal. Whether it’s booking in advance or utilizing a best price guarantee to put the game in your favor, there are plenty of methods for booking hotels for cheap. Here are five tricks of the trade:
Booking Hotels for Cheap
Get discounts with advance rates. Hotels don’t go out of their way to advertise advance booking rates. But they exist, and it’s up to the traveler to seek them out. The InterContinental Hotel Group, for example, offers up to 30% off with their Book Early and Save Rate. Marriott, Hilton and Starwood also use advance purchase rates to lure consumers. You can either call the hotel directly or browse these early booking rates on their websites. Conversely, last-minute deals also exist for people who have the flexibility to make last-minute decisions.
Take advantage of best price guarantees. Major travel booking sites offer a best price guarantee. For example, Orbitz will award you Orbucks equal to 100% of the price difference plus an additional $50 in Orbucks if you find a hotel, flight or car for less on another site. The same applies to Expedia; they will refund the difference and give you a travel coupon worth $50 if you find a cheaper rate within 24 hours of booking. Book a room, and research for better prices elsewhere to get the best deal possible.
Compare prices on booking sites using hotel metasearch engines. A rule of thumb is to explore a variety of booking sites to find the best deal. No one website has all the lowest prices on rooms. Using sites like Trivago and HotelsCombined allow you to compare hotel prices from thousands of deal sites. Instead of manually researching rates from Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com, visit these aggregator websites to compare the best of the best.
Become a member of AAA or AARP. Members of AAA can receive up to 25% off on hotel bookings. Major chains like Marriott, Hilton and Sheraton offer discounted rates so long as you provide your membership number. Membership in AAA range in cost from $38 to $80 a year; so if you travel often, you can make up the yearly cost quickly. AARP is another membership association that offers benefits including hotel discounts. But you must be over 50.
Book packages. Bundles are invariably cheaper than booking your airfare, rental car and hotel separately. Sites like Travelocity and Hotwire offer vacation packages that can save you hundreds of dollars. Deal sites like ours illustrate these savings in the hotel booking section, along with additional promo codes to stretch your dollar.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!