8 Practical Ways to Save Money on Accommodations for Your Next Trip

 

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For travellers, tourists, and backpackers, accommodations can get one of the biggest chunks of their budget.

However, that does not mean that you should sleep in a hammock in the middle of a public park just to cut down on the cost.

There are practical ways that you can do to save money on accommodations for your next trip:

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Explore other options

To some, they prefer to stay in a hotel for safety reasons. However, hotel rooms could be expensive ‒ especially on peak season ‒ even if you opt for the budget ones.

Not to mention that staying in a hotel could mean that you need to eat out often or eat bowls and bowls of instant noodles to save money.

If you are looking for a nice place to stay without breaking the bank, you might want to consider the following:

  1. Airbnb. Ideal for people who only need a room to safe keep their belongings and sleep, a kitchen so they can cook their own food, and enjoy other residential amenities when having a staycation.
  2. Home exchange. You can pick this option if you are okay with other people staying in your house while you stay in theirs. However, this could mean that you need to prepare your house for your guest(s) before your trip.
  3. House sitting. If you want to stay in a local residence but the idea of having other people stay in your home makes you uncomfortable, then you can opt for house sitting. It is like taking care of an unoccupied house in exchange for a free stay.
  4. University housing. Depending on your destination, some universities and colleges rent out their dormitories when the school is not in full seasons, like during the summer vacation period in Europe.
  5. RV Campsites. Renting an RV is ideal if your trip will involve driving from one location to another.

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Visit comparison sites

Unless you are visiting a remote island, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of hotels available in your destination. And even more booking prices and options.

So, before you click that “Book a Room” button, it is best that you visit comparison websites first.

Gilbert Ott of God Save the Points shares some tips on how you should look for and book a hotel to maximise the benefits:

  1. Use TripAdvisor to get a feel of previous guests’ sentiments on some hotels in your destination.
  2. Once you have narrowed down your list, visit your preferred hotel’s website and look for promos and photos of their rooms.
  3. Use comparison sites like Trivago and Kayak to get a general sense of book rates. Keep in mind, though, that some published rates do not include taxes.
  4. Lastly, book where you can get the best rates and most benefits. It can be by booking directly on the hotel’s website, through the comparison site, or with the help of an online travel agency.

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Keep an eye on additional costs

As mentioned previously, some published hotel rates do not include taxes and other fees. Meanwhile, this is something you get to see upfront when you book an Airbnb rental property.

You can see that some listings have a cleaning fee. That’s because some Airbnb hosts hire Airbnb cleaning service to make their unit spick and span for their guests.

If you want to save on Airbnb accommodation, you can opt for listings that have low or zero cleaning fee.

However, this is something that you only need to pay once. So if you intend to stay longer, like for a week, additional fees are less likely to take away much from your travel budget.

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Book in advance

Planning your trip can make or break your travel experience. The same thing goes with your accommodation.

During peak season, most of the best hotel rooms and fancy-looking Airbnb rental units are already booked. Thus, you should book your accommodation in advance.

This is to avoid any inconvenience, book a place at a lower rate, and enjoy other benefits of booking your accommodation in advance.

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Check for free cancellation

Another way to save money on accommodation is to check whether the place you want to book offers a free cancellation.

This is not just to help you save money but also to ensure your safety. After all, unpredictable weather and delayed flights can make you cancel your travel plan altogether.

Mind you, there are hotels and online travel agencies that offer very affordable booking rates, but all of your savings on accommodation will be gone in just a snap should you decide to cancel.

Getting a refund is next to impossible, and credits can only be used for future reservations. That said, it is best to check your accommodation’s cancellation policies.

Join rewards programs

Although becoming part of a hotel’s loyalty program sounds like a social status for a frequent traveller, anyone can signup for it. In fact, it does not cost a penny to join a hotel loyalty program.

Ultimately, though, these programs can provide you with a couple of benefits:

  1. Enjoy discounted accommodation rates, regardless of how short or long your stay is.
  2. Hotels offer free cancellation to their rewards program members.
  3. Receive perks like better room locations, free Wi-Fi, welcome basket, VIP treatment, and more.

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Check out for hotel credit card offers

Hotel credit cards allow you to earn rewards points for every dollar you spend. This is in addition to the points you earn for booking a paid stay with a hotel.

Other advantages of having a hotel credit card are:

  1. Earning points that you can redeem for free hotel stays in the future.
  2. Earn “elite qualifying points” that can help elevate your status in the hotel’s loyalty program.
  3. Enjoy lucrative perks like annual resort credits, airline credits, airport lounge access, and more.

However, you should not jump ahead and sign up for a hotel credit card. Make sure that you are certain that you will use it, as it incurs annual fees.

Keep an eye out for deals

Last but not least, you should always keep an eye on discounts and promos before booking your accommodation.

Discounts and free-of-charge services can vary depending on the room type, the number of guests, season, or where you booked your room (i.e., direct to a website).

Thus, you can follow your preferred hotel on social media or signup to their newsletter if you want to be the first to get exclusive deals that you can take advantage of for your next trip.

Hopefully, the tips mentioned above can help you save as much as you can in your accommodation. After all, as mentioned earlier, where you stay and sleep will be one of your major fixed travel expenses.

 

Simone Ribeiro
I'm a Brazilian journalist based in West Midlands. In Brazil, I have worked with International Trade and Logistics publications.

Now in the UK, I keep writing and I dedicate myself to a new project : Midlands Trade - a blog focused on business in Europe and Brazil. It's also supporting small businesses throughout the #MeetTheBusiness.

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