Finding cheap hotels isn’t hard but finding cheap hotels that are a good value? Now that is a different matter! Unfortunately you often get what you pay for with a cheap hotel room. Here are some useful tips to help you locate a cheap hotel room that is also a good deal.
The best way to find a cheap hotel room is to travel when everyone else isn’t traveling. Staying put during the standard holidays and traveling in January, September and early spring (avoid spring breaks) are sure bets. When traveling in Europe try very hard to avoid the late summer when all Europeans are themselves on holiday. Some cities like Paris are semi-closed in summer due to the holiday anyway and you will be missing many things that these European cities have to offer.
When scheduling your trip remember that you still want great weather- just not the crowds. Every location has its own seasons so do a little homework while you are planning. Southern California for example often has miserable weather in June known as June gloom. Go to San Diego in June and you will be really lucky to score even one nice beach day your entire trip AND to add insult to injury your hotel room won’t be cheap. September is the best bet for this city. For things like ski trips look into January 1- February 15. Most of the tourists will have cleared out and the best skiing and hotel rates are often easy to come by. In places like Park City, UT a few weeks can mean the difference between paying $500 or $120 a night! Weekdays are often cheaper than weekends- especially Sunday night through Wednesday.
Today most travel searches begin by using the web and searching through a menagerie of travel websites. For hotel rooms the biggest sites are hotel.com, expedia.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com and priceline.com. There are many others but we will just concentrate on these for right now. The rates across all these websites can vary considerably. Determine your location and then start looking across platforms for the best rates. It’s not uncommon to see the same hotel with very different prices. Take note of the cheapest room rate and come back and look through the hotels at least one more time the next day to determine if the rates are going up or down. If they are going up- book quickly. If they stay the same or go down there isn’t any hurry. While you are at it you can try a bid on Priceline.com. Priceline.com has a name your own price section. This can get you real bargains if you stay your course. The Priceline system is set up to entice you to bid higher. Don’t go higher than you want to pay or higher than another rate you have seen posted somewhere else. Remember too that taxes and fees will go on top of the price making it not quite the deal you thought it would be.
Cheap hotel booking means you still have research to do even once you have located a cheap hotel you like. Remember you want a good deal too. First I recommend going to Tripadvisor.com or another similar travel comment board. Here you can read about your cheap hotel and find out what other travelers have to say about the place. Often cheap hotel rooms are cheap because the building is under renovation or for any number of other reasons. Be aware of the flea bag hotel- bedbugs are back and you might just bring a few critters and many annoying bites back with you if you stay in the wrong place. Sometimes you can book a cheap hotel because the hotel is brand new. This often is a fabulous deal. I booked the SAS hotel in Beijing when it first opened and paid about $20 a night. The same hotel room was about $500 a night a year later.
Before you finish with your online booking there is one more tip to booking a cheap hotel room. Call the hotel directly and tell them you want to stay in their hotel. Quote the online price you are being given and ask them if they can do any better. Often times they can offer you a better deal especially if you take into account the online booking fees you will have to pay on top of the room rate.
Another avenue to finding a cheap hotel room is to look outside of hotels to find a place to stay. Look into bed and breakfasts (bedandbreakfast.com), furnished vacation rentals (vacationrentals.com in the US and windowsonitaly.com in Europe), and home stays/house swaps (homeexchange.com). In many parts of the world Hostels are also a great bet for finding a cheap hotel room. There are many deals to be had using these alternative types of accommodations. If you are traveling with a large group a furnished house can make for very cheap hotel rooms!
When looking to book a cheap hotel room try to go off-season if you can. Start your search online but think about calling the hotel directly to finish your booking. Finding a cheap hotel room that is also a deal will take some research using online travel comment boards like Tripadvisor.com. Think about booking your cheap hotel room outside of hotels looking at places like bed and breakfasts and hostels.