I am by no means an expert at finding amazing deals, however, after booking 14 different hotels/ apartments for when we go travelling I feel like I’m a bit of a pro at getting good value for money! Booking hotels can be frustrating and quite time consuming, especially if you’re booking more than one, so here are some tips that made the process easier for me and my advice on how to save money.
Research your location – anytime I book hotels online I go onto google maps, type in the hotels address and see what local amenities there are close to where we will be staying – you want to make sure there are shops, restaurants and things to do nearby.
Check the distance to the city centre – I always try to get accommodation as close to the city centre as possible (if it’s a city break) because that’s where all of the tourist attractions are. If it’s too dear or you can’t find a good hotel, it’s worthwhile looking at staying in a neighbouring town or city, but make sure you have access to public transport. It’s also convenient, especially for travellers, to google the distance from the hotel to the airport so you can work out how far away the hotel is/ how you will get there/ how much it will cost.
USING TRAVEL WEBSITES
Comparative websites – it goes without saying but always use websites such as Trivago or Travel Supermarket: they are the easiest to use and I find they are the most reliable when it comes to comparing hotels.
Paying later – Agoda and booking.com have the option to pay when you get to the hotel, and some hotels don’t even require a deposit at all which is good if you’re low on cash and want to save up. I wanted all of my accommodation paid off though so I have less to worry about, so I avoided booking.com because most of the time the only option is to ‘reserve’ your room and pay when you get there.
Make use of the filters – any website you go on will have filters that will help you narrow down your search in terms of accommodation type, location and facilities. If you would prefer to have a hotel with air con, or wifi for example don’t forget to click your preferred option because it saves you looking through hundreds of hotels.
Breakfast – if you’re not all inclusive you will most likely need to pay a minimum of £10 per person per night. Unless you find a good deal that includes breakfast, I would always advise to go out and get food or buy in cheap things to make – like cereal or sandwiches – if you have access to a fridge.
ALWAYS read reviews – this may seem like common sense but I do know people who will book a hotel right away if they see a good deal without reading other peoples reviews with regards to cleanliness, location and hotel food. Trip Advisor is the one website I will always return to when booking hotels as there are typically thousands of reviews and traveller photos which really helps when you’re making a decision.
FINDING GOOD DEALS
Take advantage of other people’s unwanted rooms – the website Roomer lets you snag other people’s hotel rooms if they’ve made a late cancellation so you pay for the same room at a reduced price.
When to book – it’s logical that you book well in advance to save money, for example winter time for the following summer, but you will usually find good last minute deals too because hotels want to get rid of their last rooms.
Hostels/Motels – if you’re travelling, don’t forget about this option! It can reduce the overall cost considerably and hostels are good if you don’t have a set itinerary and want to travel about.
Apartments – if the price of the hotel is way above your budget, don’t forget there are many apartment blocks you can stay in. For example, in Auckland we are staying in the Waldorf apartments and we will have our own living room, kitchen etc. Despite being based in the city centre it was significantly cheaper than any decent hotel we could find, plus it means we can buy in food and save money.
Air b&b – not many people know about Air b&b, but this website saved us sooo much money when we booked Los Angles! It’s not a hotel or apartment: you have the choice to either rent a room in somebody’s home, or rent out their entire home (it will probably be their holiday home or guest house).
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Extra charges – a lot of hotels will have additional fees such as local taxes that may be added just before you pay. For example, when we booked the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, we realised our email said ‘mandatory resort fee to be paid at the hotel is £26.29 per night’ – an extra £78.87 to be paid upon arrival is quite a significant increase to the overall price.
The time you’re going can affect the cost – we didn’t know this at the time of booking but when we go to Dubai it will be Ramadan which was why our hotel was cheaper than usual. We got a really good deal for the Millennium Plaza considering it’s a 4.5 star hotel in the heart of the city.
Some of the accommodations we found good deals for:
Koh Phangan – Chantaramas Resort and Spa
Hotel Boss – Singapore
Millennium Plaza – Dubai
Waldorf apartments – Auckland