Whenever I plan a trip, I try to find the best rates on hotel rooms by looking for discounts. There are all sorts of ways to find excellent deals on travel. Sometimes this involves a little bit of detective work, but to me, it's worth it if it means I'm going to find the best rates on hotel rooms or other travel-related expenses. To get you started, here are 7 tips for uncovering some awesome travel deals.
Some people already know this little tidbit, but it's worth repeating. You can often find the best rates on hotel rooms if you are willing to check-in during the middle of the week. For instance, when I compared hotel rates in Savannah for two nights, the price was almost a hundred dollars less during the week than it was on the weekend. This unofficial rule often applies to airfare, too. So if you are able to leave for your vacation on a Tuesday or Wednesday, rather than a Friday or Saturday, the rates will likely be cheaper.
2. Credit Cards
Want another way to travel cheaper? Just look in your wallet. You may not even realize that you carry one or more credit cards that offer travel benefits. These credit card member benefits might include discounted rates at certain hotels, rental car agencies or airlines. If you registered your card online, you can probably get the information on the credit card's website. If not, go ahead and call the customer service number on the back of your card.
3. Promotional Codes
If you are booking your hotel room on a travel website, don't hit that "submit" button until you do one more thing. Open a separate window or tab and perform a quick search for promotional codes. If you don't usually do this, you would be amazed by how many promotional codes are out there. In the check-out window on the travel site, there should be a field where you can input a promotional code or coupon code. If you don't see any applicable promo codes online, there are also websites, such as Ebates.com, where you can receive money back just for booking your trip.
4. Call the Hotel Directly
Although it takes a tiny bit more effort to actually call the hotel directly, you may be well-rewarded for doing so. Once you have a hotel picked out, before you book the room online, it might behoove you to pick up the phone. Sometimes there are special rates that can only be received by booking over the phone. Plus, you may be eligible for some sort of discounted rate that wasn't available on a travel site, like AARP or AAA rates. If not, you could be offered an incentive to book with the agent on the phone in the form of a room upgrade or meal voucher.
5. Last-Minute Travel
Waiting until the last minute can be tricky, especially if you are hoping to find a room during the hotel's peak season. However, it is not uncommon for hotels to slash room rates at the last minute to fill the hotel to capacity. You usually don't want to purposefully wait until the last minute to book your room because you might not be able to get a reservation. This money saving tactic works well if you are considering a trip and your dates are flexible. Just compare the rates for a last minute reservation to see if you can get a great deal.
6. Club Memberships
Okay, this is another tip where you need to pull out your wallet. So many of us have club memberships and affiliations that offer travel discounts and incentives, but we never use them. Sometimes, we sign up for free travel clubs or other memberships without even realizing it. Either that, or we receive the cards in the mail and forget about them the moment we stick them in our wallets. Sometimes, it also pays to take advantage of free trials for travel memberships if you are planning a trip.
7. Talk to Your HR Person at Work
Many employers, especially large companies, offer travel discounts for employees. If you are unsure about this, talk to your HR person. Even if the travel discount is not listed in your employee benefits handbook, you should still check with someone in the human resources department. Sometimes, we don't even realize that our employers offers travel discounts because we haven't heard anyone else talk about it. Who knows, you could end up being a hero at work by uncovering a fantastic money-saving travel benefit of which your fellow employees were unaware.
Before I book any room online, I always look for a discount in one way or another. Sometimes I come up with nothing, but other times I find a great deal that saves me money. How do you find the best deals on hotel rooms?