Going on vacation this year?  Here are some tips for finding an inexpensive hotel room.

 

Unless you are backpacking from hostel to hostel or crashing in a friend’s spare room, accommodations are likely to take a big chunk out of your vacation budget. However, with a little effort, you can reduce your hotel bill significantly, leaving you with more money to spend on dining out and having a good time.

 

Time.com recently suggested “20 Ways to Score a Cheap Hotel Room” (May 2016), and here are some of the best ideas:

 

  • Purchase someone else’s unwanted reservations
  • Use coupon codes. Third-party sites like Hotels.com accept coupon codes for certain hotels, giving discounts of up to 40%. Find codes online at sites like Coupon Sherpa.
  • Price matching. Hotels don’t advertise their price matching policies as prominently as retail stores, but many will match a competitor’s lower price if you ask.
  • Avoid weekend stays, if possible. Rooms are generally less expensive (and their facilities less busy) midweek.
  • Find a hotel that offers senior discounts. Hilton Garden Inn, for example, offers a 10% discount to seniors who are 65 or older. Flashing your AARP membership card may also get you a less expensive room.
  • Download an app to your phone. If you’re willing to wait until the last minute, you can get up to 70% off a luxury hotel room using the HotelTonight app, which aggregates unbooked rooms at fancy hotels and sells them at a reduced price. 

 

As the Time article pointed out, U.S. hotel rooms have gotten more expensive over the past seven years, with an average daily rate of $121.37 in 2015. However, there are signs that prices are beginning to drop, as the hotel industry faces stiff competition from sites, such as Airbnb.com, that match guests to local hosts’ homes or rooms rather than a hotel. 

 

A recent New York Post article (“Airbnb’s cheap rates hurt Big Apple hotels big time,” (April 2016) revealed that the cost of an average hotel room in New York City (home to the country’s most expensive room rates) dropped by 1.7% in 2015, to $266. That’s the first drop since 2009, and good news for anyone budgeting their next vacation. Less money spent on accommodations means more money left over to put towards exploring and enjoying what’s outside of your hotel!

 

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