Continuing the savings tips from yesterday, I’ll move along to lodging which can often be the bulk of your expenses, especially on a longer trip. And prices don’t tend to vary as often as airfare. I know some of you are very travel-savvy folks so, as always, feel free to chime in with your own suggestions! Here are some tips for saving money on lodging:
If you know where you want to stay and can’t/won’t stay anywhere else:
- Compare on different travel sites (Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity) to see what the best price is, and call the hotel and get their best price. I often find that “deals” for conference hotels are more expensive than if booked on your own.
- Ask for any discount you might be eligible for: AAA, military, student, bulk (if traveling with a group)
- Book late (as long as you aren’t worried they’ll be booked solid). The closer they are to having dates with empty rooms, the more likely they will be to negotiate with you. This is a phone interaction, you won’t be able to do this online, unless you are trying the next tip.
- If you are getting down to the wire and you haven’t booked yet, try using LastMinuteTravel.com to find your desired hotel and book it there.
- Sometimes just booking early, paying a little more and having peace-of-mind can be a pretty good deal too!
When you’re open to a little more adventure ~
- I won’t go into too much detail since I’ve talked about this before and before that, but book with airbnb! Searching for new places to explore on airbnb has become a new obsession of mine. I will be using this again very soon and this time I want to stay on a boat!
- Take a gamble on where you’ll stay by using Priceline or Last Minute Travel (as mentioned before) where you can book by hotel or select an area, a price and a star rating and see what you get!
- Going to a conference? Grab a roommate – maybe someone you know or a friend of a friend. You won’t be in the room much anyway so split the tab instead of getting your own place. Don’t know someone who’s going? Network on Twitter or through the conference’s social network platform (if available).
- Don’t get stuck on stars. Go off of guest reviews instead. Many times I will see a hotel with four stars that has a user rating of 3/10 – obviously something isn’t matching up there. True, hotels can cheat and put in rave reviews of their own, pretending to be guests, but if there are 50 reviews or more it’s a safe bet that actual people wrote most of the reviews.
- Stay with a friend, some family or a friend of a friend. If you need time to work and get away explore fun nearby coffee shops! I always want people to stay with me, you’re not imposing in the least and you get a great tour-guide with a local host.
- You don’t have to be in Europe to find a hostel! Here’s a listing of U.S. hostels – or if you need listings for the entire world check out this site.
- Rent a house, condo or an apartment. This is especially good for groups, families and long stays where you will want to save money on eating out at every meal. Good sites for this include Vacation Rentals By Owner, HomeAway and ResorTime.
- Rent an RV! I have been wanting to do this for awhile and just read a great road-trip article on a woman doing this with her friends in the latest Budget Travel magazine. Look out blog winner weekend, this one might be next!