LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Part of the fun of traveling is finding a great place to stay. But a good hotel can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars. Luckily, you can ease some of that pocketbook pain.
Travel expert, Felecia Hancock, runs the Local Time Travel Deals blog. She shared some of the secrets to get the best deals on where you stay.
1. Pick the right times to travel and bundle.
- As with flights, you can save money by traveling during shoulder seasons (February, March, April, September, October, and November). Hancock said she has seen hotels normally priced near $400 in June or July priced down to around $180 in shoulder months. She said you can also save serious money by booking your hotel with your flights in a bundle. She recommends finding the cheapest flights in Google Flights and taking those dates to Hotwire or Expedia. Once on those sites, click “bundle” and you can save up to several hundred dollars on the trip/hotel.
- If you're just looking at hotel deals without a bundle, you can visit websites like Trivago.com and Kayak.com. They compare hotel, Airbnb and VRBO deals for you all in one place so you can spend less time comparing prices on your own.
- Booking.com is another great resource. Hancock recommends being aware of their free cancellation option. You can book through there and it’s often free to cancel later if you find a better deal. If the price drops, they'll tell you. Or, if you find that a hotel is cheaper somewhere else they will do a price match as well. You just have to initiate that conversation and prove the price match.
2. Try mystery hotels & last minute buys
- Hancock said that if you're looking for a place to stay last minute, it can be to your benefit. Mystery buy options can save you serious cash. Hotwire and Priceline do a lot of mystery buys. It’s where they don’t tell you the hotel name but they will tell you where it is, what the rating is and what it normally costs to stay per night. Those last minute deals come in really well because they are trying to sell unoccupied rooms. HotelTonight.com is another great resource to find hotels that have last minute deals for lower prices.
3. Check out what rewards you may already have and not even know about
- Hancock said that AARP and AAA offer some discounts with major hotel lines and a lot of credit cards have hotel discounts. Check all your cards and memberships to see if there are some deals you are missing out on.