When planning a vacation, it’s typical to spend a third of your travel budget on lodging. While some travelers spend more, it’s safe to say we all want lodging that’s clean (no bed bugs please), safe, has good customer service, and has amenities.
Searching for ideal lodging using DIY websites can will provide cheap deals, pictures and reviews, but there’s still no guarantee you’ll secure great lodging for a great price (I often wondered if I got the best price for my stay and 9 times out of 10, I didn’t! Darn you DIY sites).
Did you know you can get amazing deals on room rates if you called the hotel directly?
If you didn’t know this, don’t be alarmed because most travelers don’t. Hotels can offer the same deals if not better than the DIY sites. This is due to the commission hotels must pay vendors when travelers book through third parties (online, travel agent, etc.). Once you identify the hotel deals you’re interested in, call the hotels direct and ask about their discounts and special offers.
Now let’s talk about hotel chains and brands.
To cater to the wide spectrum of travelers, hotel chains have a variety of brands (the Marriott has Courtyard, Marriott Vacation Club, Spring Hills etc.).
The hotel industry understands travelers vary in preference, style and purpose so they create different brands to cater most traveler’s needs. Marriott’s Spring Hills Suites hotel caters to business travelers. They offer apartment style rooms with amenities like free hot breakfast, fridge and microwave, etc.
How does this information help you?
By understanding hotel brands, you can pick the hotel that best fit your needs. Also, having this knowledge could mean big savings. Reserving a room during off peak times (hint: booking a room during the weekend at a hotel brand that caters to business travel) could mean big discounts.
Now, I’m going to share with you something that most people don’t think about until they come home from their trip and review their spending. This will save you a good amount of money, you’ll have more fun, and it’s almost a no brainer once you hear it.
Choose lodging near the attractions you’re seeking.
I have friends who booked lodging at a hotel 8 plus miles away from the departure port of their cruise ship. They chose the hotel to save money.
They didn’t take into consideration transportation costs and time. They also missed out on all the fun festivities the night before departure.
Once the cost of transportation was added, it actually cost more to book at their hotel versus staying at one a few blocks away.
Transportation is another big ticket expense. Not only will you need a way to get to your destination, you’ll need a way to get around once you arrive. Some hotels offer transportation for a minimal fee and it’s convenient.
I’m a huge fan of using ride share services. It’s inexpensive, the drivers are often times personable, and they are likely to recommend great places to visit.
Air fare fluctuates in price, more so than hotels (of course, you know that).
Knowing when to book your flight for the best price is tricky and sometimes unpredictable. It mostly boils down to demand so paying attention to peak tourist seasons and watching prices will help you save on your flight. The more flexible your are with dates, times, number of stops, airport, and class service, the less expensive the airfare. Reward programs and membership discounts are great ways to save on air fare.
Tip if you’re visiting a metro area.
Consider purchasing rail passes and other transportation passes a head of time as well. While planning a trip to New York, I purchased a weekend rail pass. It was the best purchase I made. I was free to roam and explore the city as I chose to.
Please feel free to ask questions or make comments regarding How To Plan Stress Free Travel.
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