Everyone loves to go on holiday, but often the cost of travel and accommodation are the biggest of concerns. Finding a great deal on a hotel doesn’t come easy, so be ready to dig your feet in and get invested in the hunt. Travel is only expensive if you choose to make it that way. Fancy hotels have big budgets to spend on advertising, so we assume those are the only options out there, but in reality there are many cheap options available.
How to Find Cheap Accommodation for your Travel
Regardless of your accommodation taste, one thing everyone has in common is that no one wants to fork out a fortune for it. One of the best ways to take a cheap holiday is to cut down on accommodation expenses. Since you have to stay somewhere every night, reducing accommodation expense can save you some pennies off the total cost of your trip. Next to finding a cheap flight, finding an inexpensive accommodation has the biggest impact on your budget.
It’s simple enough to go to Travel Advisor before your next travel destination and book the high rated spots that you see. The truth is national hotel chains have to pay a hefty 15% fee to online travel agencies like Hotels Combined, Travelocity and Expedia. As a result, many hotels are effectively luring guests to book directly with them. The savings are considerable if you know how to take advantage.
Online travel agencies have rate parity with their clients (hotels). This means that a Hotel cannot offer a rate cheaper than it gives online travel agencies. This rule only applies to rates posted on the web. Hence, if you call a hotel directly or subscribe to a hotel email newsletter, they can offer whatever rate they choose. By booking your accommodation directly, you can score between 10% to 20% discount to undercut the online travel agencies. Targeting big groups such as Accor Hotels that operate a range of brands and cater for various budget ranges can score you loyalty points and automatic discounts.
If you book a hotel through an online travel agency, this means that the online agency is the guest at the hotel and not you, since you will be paying the online agency, and they will in turn pay the hotel for your stay. This has a few consequences, you will not be able to extend your stay, leave early or change room types at the front desk, you will have to call the agency you booked through for such requests. If you pay the online travel agency, $120 for the room, the agency will pay the hotel 15% less. If you want the best deal, go online and find what the travel agency has listed for the price. Then call the hotel and speak to the front desk manager or general manager and tell them you found a $120 rate on Expedia, and will book directly with the hotel for $100
If the above deal goes through, you will therefore save $20 per night and the hotel gets $5 more per night than they would if you book with an online travel agency, plus you go through fewer headaches if you deal directly with the guest. You should only use the online travel agencies for a quick price comparison and to scan what’s available.
Other ways of finding cheaper accommodating include:
Hostels are another option for budget travelers. Hostels offer dormitory style accommodation with all the facilities shared, this is also a good way to meet and interact with fellow travellers. Many Hostels also offer small rooms, single and double rooms for solo travellers or couples. If you are traveling in a group, you could rent one of the dorms for your entire group and not have to share with strangers. Personal lockers are available for securing your belongings. A very basic breakfast is usually provided.
In addition to being cheap, hostels provide a highly social atmosphere for fellow travellers to interact with each other. A communal kitchen and living area helps facilitate this.
Short Term Rentals
Short term rentals are great if you plan to spend a week or more in one place. Allow people to stay in furnished apartments while traveling. Most short term rentals are paid for on a week by week basis. One of the advantages of staying in a short term rental is the feeling of home comfort. Before choosing the short term rental option, it is best to choose a place with a history of reviews from past tenants. Research the apartment’s location and transport options. If you choose to stay for a month or longer, local classifieds provide the best deals.
If you are interested in learning more about other people’s culture when traveling to a new country, Homestays are the best option. This is when a family rents out a spare bedroom for extra income. A homestay usually includes breakfast and in some arrangements dinner too.
If you are planning to travel, it’s good practice to:
1. Plan in advance.
Planning in advance and being flexible with your travel plans can save you a good amount of money. Many airlines and Hotel Chains will reward you for booking some months in advance with great rates. If the rates later drop below what you agreed to, call up the hotel to bargain them down.
Hotels can also get desperate to offload vacant rooms the same night, so you can call the hotel for a room that night and negotiate a low rate. Apps like Last Minute can help find the last minute bargains.
2. Take advantage of last minute specials.
If your travel plans are flexible, you could get a great rate by waiting to book your hotel until the last minute. Hotel managers are often willing to lower their rates to fill their last remaining rooms.
3. Leave your bag in the car.
Planning to negotiate when you arrive? Don’t haul a huge piece of luggage into the lobby and then tell the agent that you’d just go elsewhere if they can’t bring their rates down. You’ll look tired, hassled, sick of lugging bags and, to a shrewd hotel clerk, ready to pay handsomely to unpack that suitcase.
The next time you head out on the road, consider one of these options to lower your accommodation costs.