If you’ve followed along with my blog posts, you’d know that one of my favorite things to do is travel, and I find it even more rewarding when I can do it well within my budget. Having a baby hasn’t changed that, and we’re excited to be planning our first vacation as a family of three! Our current budget has definitely been adjusted to meet an assortment of baby needs, but I’ve still made an effort to save up for a family trip this summer. One of the most expensive parts of traveling is the lodging, which is pretty much a necessity when leaving town unless you have family or friends near your destination of choice. I’ve made a list of some of my go-to tips for saving money however I can when it comes to hotels – check them out below!
1. Check the hotel website for deals or special promotions. Hotels often run specials or discounts during periods when they want to encourage guests to visit (typically the off-season). It’s also a good idea to call the hotel and ask about anything they’re offering that might not be as clearly advertised.
2. Search travel deal websites, like Travelzoo or Groupon. Websites like this can offer discounted travel rates if you book within their limitations (i.e. during certain days of the week or months of the year). Score extra savings by scoping out options that include both travel AND lodging!
3. Take advantage of free reward programs. Some hotels offer reward programs that allow you to earn points and redeem them for free stays or dining discounts. Sign up for them, even if you don’t use that same hotel chain for every stay. Your points will accumulate over time!
4. Can you use membership perks? Organizations like AAA and Costco often offer discounted rates and specials for members only. Investigate their offers before signing up to see if it would be worth it for you.
5. Consider your travel time. Rates are highest during peak travel times. You’ll save more by traveling just before or just after this time – it can vary depending on where you’re headed to.
6. Compare prices. Websites like Kayak, Priceline, Orbitz, and Expedia can help you compare rates and select the best one for your needs.
7. Location, location, location. Staying just outside of popular destinations is almost always cheaper than staying close to hot spots (i.e. Disneyland, busy cities, etc.). Consider this option if local travel to your destination isn’t an issue.
8. Ask about free upgrades. Hotels will sometimes offer free upgrades if they have the amenities available when you’re checking in, but you have to ask for them! This can typically include a bigger room or a room with a better view, amongst other things.
9. Avoid the mini bar. Snacks and drinks offered inside your hotel room may be tempting to grab because of their convenience, but they’re always way overpriced. Travel with your own food and beverages, or stop at a nearby convenience store instead.
10. Look for included perks. Look for places that offer free breakfast, discounted meals to local restaurants, or free or discounted tickets to local events or tourist spots. Don’t forget to look for included basics, like free Wi-Fi or cable television.