Travelling on a budget can be a challenge. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to stay at home on your next vacation. Saving money on your accommodation is a breeze when you know where to look for the best deals, so here are some useful tips that will help you to find a place to stay that won’t cost the earth.
Choosing Accommodation that Meets your Needs
The very first tip is to make sure that you’re choosing accommodation that actually meets your needs. There’s no point in getting a really cheap room that leaves your family cramped and uncomfortable, or that’s situated miles away from the resort that you want to visit. Some of the things to bear in mind when looking for accommodation include:
- What do you need your accommodation for? – If you just plan to sleep there and spend your days out and about, you can go for something more basic than if you’re planning on relaxing in your room or making using of facilities like the swimming pool.
- Who is travelling? – If you’re travelling alone, you have a lot more options than if you’re taking the whole family with you.
- Where do you want to stay? – Think about which local amenities are essential for your holiday. Do you need to be within walking distance of restaurants and shops? Do you need a bus stop nearby?
- Do you want to be close to a beach? While more remote properties may be cheaper, if you’re planning on spending most of your days close to the action, you need to bear in mind the additional transport costs.
- Once you’ve determined your essential criteria, you can begin your search with those factors in mind, and then book the cheapest accommodation that meets all of them.
Consider Thinking Outside The Box
Big name chain hotels aren’t the only option out there. Think a little more creatively. Small, local properties, family-run B&Bs, hostels and home-stays are just some of the more affordable options to consider when looking for cheap accommodation. If you are travelling in a larger group, renting an apartment or even a whole house could work out a lot cheaper, especially when you bear in mind the money you’ll save on eating out by using the cooking facilities to self-cater.
Couch-surfing is a possibility for singles or couples, and Airbnb is another valuable source of affordable places to stay. As an added benefit, you can often experience a lot more of the authentic experience of the country that you’re visiting by staying in this kind of accommodation.
One of the hardest parts of searching for cheap accommodation is comparing prices to find out which website offers the cheapest cost. The good news is that you don’t need to visit countless different sites to check prices since there are now plenty of comparison sites that automatically find you the lowest cost for an identical hotel room.
While you’re checking out these sites, see if you can find any additional extras which are included for free or at a low cost that represent great value. Often you’ll find that certain websites will throw in Wi-Fi or breakfast at the same rate as another site charges just for the room. While you’re searching for accommodation, remember to always delete your cookies before re-visiting the same site.
It’s a little-known fact that booking sites raise prices for people who have already shown an interest in a particular property, so by deleting your search history and cookies you appear on their system as a brand new visitor.
Social Media And E-Newsletters
Simply by liking your favourite booking websites on Facebook, you can often receive exclusive deals directly through social media. Also, signing up for email newsletters from booking sites is another way to hear straight away about exclusive coupons and deals which are for subscribers only.
Avoid Booking Direct
9 times out of 10, the idea that booking directly with the hotel is cheaper is entirely wrong, and as an added downside, they charge up front and can often be very inflexible if you need to make a change at a later date. Booking through a third party booking site often gives you a lot more freedom, you often get to pay closer to the time that you travel, and you can also frequently get lower prices.
Choose Your Travel Time And Length Of Stay Wisely
It may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes, staying in your accommodation for longer can actually save you money. Many providers offer a better deal to those who stay for longer periods, and you may get a lower price for a full week than for a four-day stay.
This is especially true if you’re travelling out of season or if you’re staying over a full weekend as Sunday nights are often a downtime for hotels. A mid-week stay is another possibility in city centre locations and in other resorts where weekend breaks are especially popular.
If you have flexibility in the time of year that you travel, the shoulder season represents the best time to arrange a break. This is when accommodation costs are lower, the weather is still good, and resorts will be less crowded. Not only will you be able to cut costs on accommodation at this time of year, but you’ll also be able to save money on your car rental and flights too.
Check Out Family Deals
If you’re travelling as a family, it’s always worth checking out if there are any offers primarily aimed at people with children. Is there a discounted rate for interconnecting rooms? Can children get free meals in the hotel restaurant? There’s no harm in asking.
Use Reward Programs
If you often stay at the same hotel chain or use the same booking website, it’s definitely worth joining a reward program to build up free nights and additional perks. If you really want to max out your rewards program earnings, you should also charge your accommodation costs to a credit card which is tied to the same rewards program.
You’ll instantly double your points, and the top cards even give you elite status with the hotel’s reward program giving you even more points for your money.
Try these top tricks and see if you can save money on your next break. There are lots of ways to reduce your accommodation costs if you know where to look, so make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the best offers.
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