Thursday, May 29, 2008
1. Check your credit cards or other clubs to see if you have any "travel points" that can be redeemed.
My husband found that we had a good amount of travel points on one of our cards that could be redeemed for about a two night stay. That was good news to help offset the cost of the trip. Now...where to stay???
2. Search online for the best rates, and to narrow down your choices.
I began by searching the major travel sites: Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. One thing that I immediately noticed was that all of these sites had basically the same rates for the same hotels (Hotels.com was slightly better on a few). I also noticed that Hotels.com and Expedia are affiliated, so not only were they giving the same prices but they also had the same promotion, which brings me to my third tip.
3. Look for current deals and promotions that may apply to your stay.
The current promotion on Hotels.com and Expedia is this: Book 3 nights at any hotel, and receive a $50 gift card back in the mail. Use coupon code GAS50 when you are booking (the promotion is automatic on Expedia). Knowing the cost of gas these days, this helped to decide that we really could stay that extra night as we were hoping!
4. Be mindful of the day of the week you book your travel plans.
On Tuesday, the prices were moderate...not too exciting, but not too pricey either. On Wednesday morning, I was shocked to see that many of the hotels I had been watching were around 40% less than what they were the day before. I'm very glad that we ended up booking on Wednesday night because on Thursday morning, the very same hotel (similar room) we had booked was $13 more per night! This tip saved us $39 alone! [Edit: I checked again on Friday morning and the price has gone up another $5 per night on that particular hotel, similar room!]
5. Call the hotel to see if they can give you a better rate.
This didn't work in our case, but I have heard that many times if you ask nicely and tell the reservationist the price you are getting online you can sometimes get an even more discounted price.
6. Make sure to read the site's cancellation/change policy, as well as the individual hotel's policy.
Since the promotion and rates were identical on both Expedia and Hotels.com, we could have booked on either site. However, I noticed that Hotels.com does not charge for cancellations or changes but I did not see that same information on Expedia. Also, Hotels.com has a Price Match Guarantee that if you find the same hotel room online at a better rate than what you booked on their site prior to your stay, they will match the price.
7. Confirm that the hotel has the amenities you want BEFORE you book.
Even if you pay a low rate, it's not a great deal unless you get what you really wanted!
Although I'm far from an expert on frugal travel, a little bit of research went a long way. If you have any ideas you have for this or experiences to share, please do in the comment section. I'd love to hear!
Head back to Biblical Womanhood for more great Frugal Friday tips!
Thanks to Allposters.com for the graphic.