When you’re traveling, one of the biggest expenses in your budget can be lodging. Let’s face it, hotels are not always cheap, but it’s important to have a decent place to stay whether you’re traveling for a vacation, business, or any other reason. My family and I are planning a trip to D.C. soon, and when I went to book our hotel I realized it would cost around $1,000 for just a few nights.
Luckily, there are a few strategies to utilize to lower your cost of booking a hotel. Thanks to this, I was able to actually cut our hotel bill in half. Check out these six clever ways to reduce your hotel bill.
Reduce Your Hotel Bill With These Tips
1. Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates
Some people are strict with travel days, and this can actually hurt your chances of saving money on a hotel room. For example, I generally like to travel on Sundays or Mondays, but if I find a good deal for lodging and flights on another day, I’ll take it.
It’s important to realize that hotels typically charge different rates for different days of the week. You may be able to save money by booking your room during the week or on a random Tuesday. If you’re booking online, play around with their features to see what you can come up with.
Also, consider traveling during the off-season where hotel rates will usually be much lower.
2. Use a Hotel Deals Site
You don’t have to book a room directly from the hotel. Check out Hotel deal sites that will offer discounts and allow you to compare rates from other places nearby. Hotels.com is a great option to check out for general discounts along with last-minute discounts that can offer some serious savings.
Some hotel deal sites offer flight packages as well so you can save even more overall. Plus, there may also be mystery deals that allow you to book a room at a 4-star hotel when you travel for example. The only catch is that while you’ll know the city and general location, you won’t find out which hotel you’re staying at until the last minute.
3. Make Your Own Bed
This is one of my favorite clever ways to reduce your hotel bill because it’s so easy. Some hotels charge a nightly service fee to cover the costs of room service.
If you can go without fresh towels and make your bed each morning, you may be able to save a nice chunk of cash by the end of your stay by opting out of the service fee.
4. Use a Credit Card to Reduce Your Hotel Bill
This is how I saved so much money on the hotel room for our trip to D.C. If you frequent a specific type of hotel when you travel, see if they have a rewards credit card so you can earn points that go to your room.
I like using the IHG Rewards credit card because I can earn points to redeem for stays at different type of hotels. When I’m traveling with my family, I like to book the Holiday Inn because they allow kids to stay and eat for free. Some Holiday Inn hotels also have a restaurant on the property like iHop, Applebees, or Chilis so kids can eat free and you can add on free meals per day for the adults.
If you don’t want to use a rewards credit card, see if the hotel has a loyalty rewards program. It’s usually free to join and you can get perks and discounts when you stay at partnering hotels.
5. Use the Coupons in Your Room For Meals
You know those coupon books for nearby restaurants and activities that are often in hotels? Actually consider using them for your meals so you don’t order room service.
I don’t think I’ve ever ordered room service or used and of the snacks in the hotel room because it’s so expensive. When you do these things, it just builds up a tab and adds to your total bill at the end of your stay.
Instead, use the coupons for local restaurants to dine our or order takeout. You can also utilize the microwave in your room to warm up food and prepare easy breakfast foods if this meal is not included in your stay.
Consider bringing items like oatmeal that can be warmed up in the microwave, apples and bananas or granola bars.
6. Skip the Hotel Altogether
If you’re open to exploring some hotel alternatives, you may be able to save a ton of money when traveling. Explore options like staying in a hostel or booking an Airbnb.
I’ll admit hostels are probably not the best place for kids. This has nothing to do with safety concerns really, but some hostels require guests to share a room and you probably don’t want to do this with strangers or have to worry about your kids bothering.
However, if you’re backpacking around Europe with a group or friends or traveling with your partner, staying in a hostel may be a solid option.
Airbnb is a great hotel alternative because it’s affordable and can offer you more flexibility and freedom. I often like to rent out an entire place on Airbnb when I travel but if I’m on a budget I’ll rent a private room.
Most times, you can have access to the kitchen so you can cook some of your meals which will help save money as well.
Keep these clever ways to reduce your hotel bill in mind the next time you travel. I know most of us don’t like to spend an overwhelming amount of money on our hotel bill.
Instead, you’d probably rather spend your money on experiences and building lasting memories during your trip.
How much do you usually spend on hotels and what are your favorite ways to save?