Finding affordable accommodations can seem daunting when planning a trip. Hotel costs often take up a significant portion of any travel budget. However, with some planning and insider tricks, you can dramatically cut your lodging expenses.
This comprehensive guide provides tips and strategies for getting hotel deals, finding alternative lodgings, and maximizing rewards programs. Read on to learn how to save money on hotels for your next vacation or business trip.
The rising costs of hotel rooms present a frustrating challenge for budget-conscious travelers. According to data from Statista, the average price for a hotel room in the 50 largest cities in the US was around $150 per night in 2020. For many people, forking over that much for a night’s stay is simply out of reach.
Fortunately, with some savvy planning and deal hunting, you can significantly lower your hotel spending without compromising comfort or location. This guide will provide actionable tips to help you save money on hotel costs for every trip. You’ll learn strategies like:
- Booking early and traveling during off-peak seasons
- Leveraging hotel rewards programs
- Using discount travel sites to find deals
- Exploring alternative accommodations like vacation rentals
- Negotiating room rates directly with hotels
- Maximizing credit card rewards for hotel savings
Follow these budget-friendly tips, and you’ll be resting easy with the money you’ve saved on lodging costs. Keep reading to transform the way you book hotels and make every hotel stay more affordable.
One of the best ways to save money on a hotel room is to start planning early. Booking your room well in advance can help you take advantage of lower rates. Here are some planning ahead strategies that can help you secure a great hotel deal:
Hotel rates are typically lower the further out you book from your travel dates. Room rates go up as hotels fill capacity and demand increases. According to data from Kayak, booking a hotel 15 to 30 days before your trip can save you around 15% compared to waiting until the last minute. For popular destinations and travel seasons, book even further out to get the lowest prices.
Travel During Off-Peak Seasons
Hotel rates fluctuate based on the season and time of year. If your schedule is flexible, consider planning trips during shoulder seasons when hotel rates tend to be lower. For example, travel in the spring or fall to avoid peak summer costs in many destinations. Also target weeks outside of major holidays and conventions when hotel demand declines.
Use Hotel Rewards Programs
Join hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, and more. They are free to join and allow you to earn free hotel nights from paid stays. Use the programs to book direct and take advantage of member-only rates and perks that can save you money. Redeem rewards during expensive trips to offset costs.
|Hotel Program||Rewards Earned||Elite Status Perks|
|Marriott Bonvoy||Up to 20 points/$1 spent||Room upgrades, late checkout|
|Hilton Honors||Up to 18 points/$1 spent||Complimentary breakfast, room upgrades|
|World of Hyatt||5 points/$1 spent||Free parking, club lounge access|
|IHG One Rewards||Up to 20 points/$1 spent||Reward night discounts, free Wi-Fi|
Table: Major hotel rewards programs and their features
Use Discount Sites
Beyond booking direct, use discount travel websites to unlock hotel deals and savings. Here are some top sites for scoring deals:
Aggregator sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Priceline compile prices across major booking sites. Use their price comparison tools to find the lowest room rates for your travel dates and location. Set up price alerts for rate drops.
Sites like HotelTonight offer time-limited flash sales on last-minute hotel bookings. You can find deep discounts if you don’t mind spontaneity and can be flexible on exact hotels. Daily deals offer average savings of 15% or more.
While booking early gets the best prices typically, you can sometimes score last-minute deals. Hotels will discount unsold rooms at the eleventh hour. Check sites like Hotwire and LastMinuteTravel for promotions like 72-hour deals in the final three days before travel.
Consider Alternative Accommodations
For maximum savings, look beyond traditional hotels. Alternative lodging options like hostels, vacation rentals, and home shares can cut your costs substantially. Here are some options to consider:
Hostels provide basic, dorm-style accommodations at rock-bottom rates, often starting around $20-30 per night. They attract budget-minded travelers like students and backpackers. Most offer a mix of shared and private rooms along with common areas and community events. Hostelworld makes it easy to find and book hostels worldwide.
For more amenities than a hotel, book a furnished vacation rental. Sites like VRBO and Vacasa offer condos, cabins, beach houses and more with full kitchens and multiple bedrooms to accommodate groups. Nightly rates are often cheaper than equivalent hotel rooms in popular destinations.
Peer-to-peer home share platforms like Airbnb allow locals to rent out their homes or extra space to travelers. Entire home listings can provide family and group lodgings, usually at much lower costs than hotels in the same area. Use filters to narrow down affordable options.
Many people don’t realize you can actually negotiate room rates directly with hotels, especially for extended stays. Here are some insider negotiation tips:
Call the Hotel Directly
Bypass third-party sites and call the hotel’s reservations line directly. Ask if they are offering any unpublished rates or specials to undercut prices listed on booking sites. Stress your budget constraints and flex dates.
Ask for Discounts
Politely request a lower rate due to your length of stay or status with the hotel’s rewards program. Highlight competitors’ lower rates and ask if they can offer a better deal. Many hotels empower staff to offer discounts, so it never hurts to ask!
Use Your Negotiating Skills
The key factors to stress during rate negotiations are your flexibility, desire for value, and loyalty. Highlight other concessions besides rate that you would appreciate, like complimentary breakfast, parking, or Wi-Fi.
Use Credit Card Rewards
Rack up points and miles with a travel rewards credit card, then cash them in to lower hotel costs. Here are two options:
Hotel-Specific Credit Cards
Co-branded credit cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express offer high rewards rates when you spend at their hotel brands. The points you earn can offset expensive hotel redemptions.
General Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card allow you to earn flexible points on all purchases that can be redeemed for hotels. Compare cards to pick one that aligns with your top hotel brand or gives you options.
Use these additional tricks to maximize savings on your hotel stays:
- Stay outside the city center to save on parking and tourist premiums
- Look for free amenities like breakfast, Wi-Fi, and gym access
- Use public transportation or ride shares to reach hotels with limited parking
- Ask about package deals that bundle lodging, entertainment, amenities or other area attractions
Hotel costs can strain any vacation or business trip budget. However, as this guide outlines, you have many options to dramatically lower your lodging expenses. Planning ahead, using discounts sites, exploring alternative accommodations, negotiating, and maximizing credit card perks can help you unlock huge savings.
Put these hotel money-saving strategies into action during your travel planning, and you will be able to afford more trips and enjoy deeper savings. With some flexibility and deal hunting effort, you can rest easy knowing you secured the lowest possible rates. Happy budget hotel hunting!
Frequently Asked Questions about “Private Bathrooms” in Hotels
Q1: What does “private bathroom” mean in a hotel?
A1: It means the bathroom is exclusively for your use, not shared with other guests.
Q2: Is a private bathroom common in hotels?
A2: Yes, most hotels offer private bathrooms as a standard amenity.
Q3: Can I expect a bathtub in a private hotel bathroom?
A3: Not always. Some private hotel bathrooms have showers only.
Q4: Do all room types include a private bathroom?
A4: Not necessarily. Always check the room description when booking.
Q5: Is a private bathroom different from an en-suite bathroom?
A5: No, they typically refer to the same thing – a bathroom attached to your room.
Q6: Are toiletries provided in a private hotel bathroom?
A6: Many hotels provide basic toiletries like soap and shampoo.
Q7: Are private hotel bathrooms always clean?
A7: Hotels strive to maintain cleanliness, but it can vary.
Q8: Can I request a room with a private bathroom if it’s not listed?
A8: Yes, you can often request one when making a reservation.
Q9: Are private bathrooms in luxury hotels better equipped?
A9: Luxury hotels may offer more amenities, but it varies by establishment.
Q10: Are private bathrooms accessible for people with disabilities?
A10: Many hotels offer accessible private bathrooms; inquire when booking for specific needs.