If you’re considering your resolutions for this year, you may be hoping to get in a lot more travel in 2018. However, costs of vacations can quickly add up, particularly if you want to arrange long-distance flights, book tours, organize meals in top restaurants, and pay for luxury hotel stays.
In fact, accommodation is usually one of the biggest holiday expenses, and something you’re likely always looking to reduce, whether you prefer budget or the highest-end abodes. If you want to splurge more this year without your travels making a big dent in your budget, it’s important to find ways to spend wisely. Read on for three key hotel hacks you can use this to get a better deal.
Use Loyalty Schemes for Discounts and Freebies
To begin with, keep in mind that there are many loyalty schemes you can become a part of to land discounted room prices or even free stays or upgrades. For example, you’ll find plenty of credit card options, and hotels and airlines, which allow customers to rack up points for every purchase, which can accumulate quite quickly and then get exchanged for accommodation.
While it’s always important to sit down and work out the numbers to see whether the potential costs you’ll pay for being a part of these programs will take too much off the value you get back to make it economical, typically there are numerous loyalty schemes going around which are worthy of joining.
In particular, if you’re someone who tends to put all their monthly expenses on their credit card and then pays this off at the end of the period, you will find you accumulate a significant amount of points simply by buying the things you normally would. Likewise, if you travel regularly for work or personal reasons, you could end up with a handsome points tally with your favored hotel chain or airline by the end of the year.
Keep an eye out, too, for banks and other organizations offering bonus points in return for signing up with them, or for spending a certain amount or booking in for a certain amount of stays in a set period. These bonuses can be a big help in your goals to achieve free accommodation or upgrades.
Get Newsletters and Other Updates and Alerts Sent to You
Next, look for ways to get updates and alerts from hotels whenever they have deals on their stays. Subscribing to newsletters and following companies on social media sites can be very helpful, because a lot of accommodation providers will offer the very best discounts and upgrades to their followers, and often these deals won’t be listed elsewhere.
In addition, it pays to sign up for alerts from resellers and online aggregator firms like Skyscanner and Kayak. You can typically input the countries, cities, or hotel chains you’re most interested in, and your preferred travel dates as well, and then just sit back and wait for an email notification letting you know prices have dropped. This ensures you don’t miss out on limited-time or number deals, and saves you from having to continually keep an eye on various sites too.
Research Prices and Packages Carefully
Lastly, thanks to the wonders of the internet, these days it’s easier than ever to research prices and packages online. Websites that showcase prices side-by-side for your desired dates, which allows you to compare costs in seconds. Sometimes it makes it easy for comparing two vacation ideas that might not be similar. For example if you want to compare Niagara Falls packages and Yellowstone getaways, for best prices before you make a decision, those sites can help with that.
Many specialist resellers also list last-minute, low-cost room prices. With coupon-based deal websites like Living Social and Groupon, you also have the opportunity to take advantage of heavily-discounted hotel prices, due to group-buying power.
Before you make a booking though, it’s wise to contact accommodation providers directly. Because you’re approaching them, and they don’t have to pay a commission to a travel agent or booking site, they save money and can pass these discounts on.