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Who wants to pay more for hotel accommodations than the traveler in the next room? No one – and with our top tips for booking hotels, you can find the best deals. We are going to show you the best way to book a hotel at the cheapest price.
We have updated all of our best tips for booking hotels for 2023! Whether you are booking nice hotels for a luxury vacation or searching for cheap hostels for a budget stay, you can use our booking tips to find the best accommodations at the best price for your trip.
Learning How To Get Hotels for Cheap
As budget-conscious travelers, we despise paying too much for a place to stay. It is with fierce determination – and a bit of trial and error – that we have learned the cheapest way to book a hotel.
We became full-time travelers in 2014…and booking accommodations has been a constant since we started our nomadic life. In order to stay within our budget, we had to learn early on how to get deals on hotels and accommodations.
In our travels, we use a combination of resources to find accommodations. We often stay in Airbnb apartments or housesit with Trusted Housesitters – but hotel rooms fit into the equation as well. We book hotels while in transit, on layovers or when we need to fill a gap between two longer stays.
In fact, as much as we like using a variety of accommodation types, booking a hotel is just easier – and can be a nice little slice of luxury.
That said, the ease and comfort of hotels comes at a price, something we are very cognizant about. In order to find the best rooms at the best price, we have learned quite a few tricks and tips on booking hotels.
We have become so savvy at booking hotels for cheap that it has become second nature to us. We are sharing our top tips and cheap hotel tricks so that you can learn how to find the cheapest hotels, too!
THE BEST WAY TO BOOK A HOTEL
Before we dive headfirst into our top tips for booking hotels, let’s chat about the different ways to book hotels that can save you money.
There are two basic ways to book hotels: Using an online booking engine or booking direct with the hotel (either online, over the phone or in person when you arrive at your destination).
We share insight on how to get a hotel cheap using both techniques. We highlight the pros – and cons – of each method and provide tips on hotel booking at the best price. In our experience, we have found that the best way to book hotels is to use multiple methods simultaneously.
Learning how to get a hotel for cheap is only the first step in the process. Once you know how to do it, you have to put our best booking hotel tips into practice. To help, we outline our step-by-step process for booking cheap hotels at the end of the article.
Cheapest Hotels are Not Always Best
As we chat about how to find the cheapest hotel, there is one very important thing to keep in mind: The cheapest hotel is not always the best hotel. In fact, it rarely is.
If all you want to know is how to find a cheap hotel, simply go to a hotel search engine, select your city and sort the search results by lowest price. Voila! Book the cheapest hotel and you’re ready to start packing for your trip.
Yes, you will get a cheap hotel room, but it might not be exactly what you had in mind for your vacation.
Price, while an important factor when booking hotels, is just one thing to consider. There are so many more components to a good hotel stay – like location, cleanliness, comfort, amenities and more.
While cheap motels might be the lowest priced option, we know that what you really want to know is how to get deals on hotels – how to get the best deals on hotels – and with our tips, you can do just that!
So, when we share our tips on the cheapest ways to book hotels, we are really showing you how to get best hotel deals…meaning how to get the lowest price for the best room and the best value overall. With that, let’s get started!
HOW TO BOOK A CHEAP HOTEL
We learned through experience how to book cheap hotels – and now we are sharing our top tips so you can find the best, cheapest hotel rooms, too.
#1 Use a Booking Engine for Hotels
Long gone are the days of calling a travel agent to help you book your accommodations. Today, finding cheap hotels to book is just a few clicks away. Without a doubt, the cheapest way to book hotels is to start your search on an online hotel booking website.
Much like using a flight search engine to find the best cheap flights, a hotel booking engine is how to get cheap hotel rooms.
The best thing about an online booking engine for hotels is that travelers can get search results for multiple cheap hotels to book in a glance. The list is easily pared down by selecting price, location and an array of amenities.
While each hotel booking platform has its own design, they all offer the same general search tools for seeking out a cheap hotel rate.
Top features of booking engines, which make it easier for how to find cheap hotels, are clickable amenities, sorting capabilities, at-a-glance comparison of hotel prices, map searches and hotel reviews. In addition to making booking hotels easy, most search engines offer benefits – like the all-important lower prices – for loyal users.
Do Booking Engines Show the Cheapest Hotel Rates?
There are a few downsides to using a hotel booking engine – namely, you may be able to score cheaper hotel rates elsewhere.
First, not all hotel properties show up in booking engine results. The truth is, not all hotels work with booking engines – and some choose to only work with select booking engines. This means that there could be a cheaper hotel at a cheaper rate in your destination that you are not even seeing.
Second, the prices can be higher on the search engine than what you would pay if you booked directly with the hotel. Hotels have to pay a commission to the booking engine company – so they sometimes pass that cost on to the customer.
Even so, booking sites are the best place to start researching hotel stays – and we will discuss some tips on how to counteract these downsides a bit later in the article.
Best Booking Engine For Hotels
You likely already know how to book a hotel online. That said, there are dozens of online hotel booking engines – so how do you choose the cheapest hotel site? We have a few tips and tricks for each of our favorite sites that will show you how get cheap hotel rates.
Far and away, Booking.com features the largest inventory of accommodations with nearly 30 million online properties listed. Booking.com offers a wide range of properties (from resorts to hostels to apartments) with an easy-to-use interface, including heaps of filters. Prices are clearly displayed (minus taxes and fees) and room options, cancellation policies and other information is listed up front. There is also a Booking loyalty program that unlocks extra discounts on select hotels (which we detail later).
Very similar to Booking.com, Hotels.com has a fairly intuitive platform – with tons of options to narrow down your search, ensuring you find the cheapest hotels with the amenities you desire. (Although, with such fine tuning, you can severely limit your options, so keep that in mind!). Some of the results shown on the map function may be marked as ‘Fully Booked’, which is not helpful and annoying, so remember to filter these out. We do like the rewards program, however, where you can earn free nights.
Launched in Asia, Agoda is the go-to place for hotels in the Far East. However, their platform has expanded rapidly and now includes destinations worldwide. We have occasionally seen phenomenal deals on Agoda that we did not find elsewhere. And, although we always start our search for hotels with Booking, when searching for hotels in Asia, we check Agoda as well.
More Hotel Booking Engines
While we personally like Booking, Hotels and Agoda for finding a hotel at cheap rates, there are a few more sites we want to mention for their phenomenal features.
HotelsCombined compares prices from top travel sites (like Booking.com and Hotels.com), which allows users to easily determine where they can book the best rate on a specific property. This is extremely beneficial if you already know which property you want to stay at and are just looking for the cheapest hotel rates for that specific accommodation.
Trip Advisor is somewhat similar to Hotels Combined, in that the results displayed on the site are the best prices pulled from various sources – including the official hotel site and other search engines. This can be a good resource for how to get a hotel room cheap by seeing several properties – and what their rates are across different sites.
Priceline was once known for the Name Your Price feature that allowed guests to make bids in a bit of a gamble to get hotels cheap, but they did away with bidding a few years ago. Instead, they offer two fantastic ways to save money on hotels…as long as you don’t care exactly which hotel you stay in. These ‘surprise’ or ‘mystery’ deals are often the best rates for hotels – and we discuss this method more later.
#2 Sign Up for Hotel Loyalty Programs
If you want to know how to get cheap hotels, you cannot dismiss the power of loyalty programs.
We understand that people want to keep their email address as private as possible and keep their inbox clean and tidy, but let’s face it, avoiding loyalty programs is just leaving money on the table.
There are a few different types of hotel loyalty programs – including point-based systems, buy-some-get-one free programs and secret low-price hotels. Both search engines and hotel chains offer fantastic guest loyalty programs.
Booking Engine Loyalty Programs
As we already mentioned, Booking is our favored site to find a deal on hotels – and their Genius loyalty program helps us save even more. When searching for hotels on Booking, we look for hotel properties marked with the Genius logo – and we reap the rewards of a cheaper stay. Some of the Genius benefits include discounted pricing (up to 20% off with Level 3 status), plus the possibility of free breakfast and an upgraded room.
Hotels.com also has a wonderful rewards program where, after booking 10 nights, your 11th night is free (which is essentially a 10% discount). We have used this benefit in the past – and getting the free night was certainly a good way to save money on a hotel room!
One thing to note with this program is that the free night is worth the average amount spent on the previous 10 nights. So, in our case, after booking several multiple-night stays at cheap hotels in Southeast Asia at about $50 USD a night, our free night was only worth about $60 total. Meaning, you can’t book 10 nights at $100 a night and get a free $500-a-night room.
Hotel Chain Reward Points
Hotel chains – like Hilton, Marriott and Radisson – also offer loyalty reward points for elevated guest status. The points earned can tally up to some pretty fabulous benefits. For example, we are Hilton Honors members and have earned enough points over the years for free stays in Hilton hotels in Mexico, Malaysia and Australia. Plus, we get added advantages at the dedicated check in counter (like bottled water, higher floor rooms, free Wi-Fi and included breakfast).
However, there are a few disadvantages to being loyal to one chain hotel. Namely, your preferred hotel chain may not be in the location you are traveling to. Also, by limiting your search to one specific hotel brand, you could miss out on chic boutique hotels or significant price drops at similar properties of competing companies.
Plus, when your hotel chain offers rooms at a higher price than competitors and you book there solely out of loyalty, you could end up paying more, just for the benefits – and we don’t think this pays off in the end.
It is also important to note that most hotel chains require that you book directly with the hotel in order to earn points – which is important to keep in mind when searching for hotels on online booking search engines.
#3 Download Booking Mobile Apps
While searching online with a booking engine is one of our top tips for finding cheap hotels, mobile apps offer an even better deal for how to get the cheapest hotel rates.
Using a mobile app for booking cheap hotels is very similar to booking online with a computer. The same features and search functions are offered on the apps – so it is essentially seamless to learn how to find cheap hotels on the mobile app. The overwhelming benefit, however, are the extra mobile-only perks.
Yep. You read that right. There are little monetary bonuses for booking through the app versus online – which is why it just might be the best way to get a cheap hotel.
Let’s take, for instance, the mobile app for Booking.com. The app offers all the bells and whistles for how to find best deals on hotels – plus an additional Mobile-Only deal for some hotel rooms. This means that after displaying the best hotel price, we can score deals…on top of deals.
How this works is that, if you are a member of their Genius loyalty program, when searching via the mobile app, you can see regular rates, plus the discounted Genius rate, plus the mobile-only price cut. Hello, savings!
The Hopper App is another fantastic app for booking hotels cheap. The major benefit of using Hopper is that it predicts (at an accuracy of 95%) when prices will go up or down. How it works is that after you complete your hotel search and find a hotel that you like, you click on the Watch icon (which looks like blue binoculars) for that specific property. Then, in the following days, the app will notify you of possible price changes – which enables you to book a hotel at the best rate. (In fact, Hopper is a great app for both cheap hotels and flights!)
There are often perks to downloading specific hotel apps, too. Some hotels (like Hilton) allow you to select a specific room before check-in via the app, while other hotel apps offer app-only room upgrades and other fun, free perks.
#4 Directly Booking Hotels
We’ve already alluded to this tip on how to book a cheap hotel room, but it’s worth bringing it up again – because the savings can be substantial!
When you book directly with the hotels instead of using an online booking system, you might be pleasantly surprised by a lower rate.
Hotels sometimes offer lower rates than what comes up on search engines because they will earn more money when you book directly with them. There are booking fees the hotel has to pay – either a percentage of the rate or a flat fee – when guests book through a third party. When you book directly, however, those fees are eliminated – and, thus, the hotels are more inclined to offer discounted rates directly to guests.
Although the lower price tends to be the biggest benefit of booking a hotel direct, it is also a good opportunity to get free perks, like a room upgrade or free breakfast.
In fact, we recently scored a hotel deal by booking direct. We had reserved a refundable room through a booking website – but when we checked the rate directly with the hotel, we found the room was cheaper. Plus we got a free room upgrade along with early check-in/late check-out for booking direct, plus we saved an additional 10% on the booking simply for signing up for the loyalty program!
Furthermore, if you are part of a hotel chain loyalty program, you can earn hotel-specific rewards points when you book the room directly with the hotel. (When you book the same hotel through a third-party website, you are typically not eligible to earn the hotel rewards.)
That said, chain hotels are not the only place you can score a deal by contacting the hotel directly. In fact, paying the property directly is one of the best tips for booking boutique hotels at a great rate. Additionally, some smaller hotels even charge less when guests pay in cash, so go ahead and ask!
#5 Price Matching is One of the Ways To Save On Hotels
Perhaps the best way to save money booking hotels is by price matching. As we previously stated, there are search engines that do just that! However, travelers determined to get the absolute best deal on a hotel room can take it one step further and price match directly with the hotel.
The reason price matching is so lucrative is that some hotels not only match the online search engine price, but they also hand out bonuses – like free gift cards for future use or an extra percentage off the lowest rate.
How you use price matching tips for getting cheap hotel rooms is this: After finding the best hotel deal via an online booking engine, look at the pricing on the official hotel website. If the search engine price is lower, call the hotel direct to inquire about matching the rate – and any other upgrades and freebies.
The best time to call a hotel for reservations and price matching is later in the evening – with Sundays often being the prime time to call. Calling during busy hours – during check in and check out times – is not advised. While price matching is time consuming – and not always successful – it is another chance to score a deal.
It’s also worth noting that some search engines will price match, too. If you are loyal to or are earning credits with a specific search engine and find a better deal elsewhere, check to see if you preferred booking engine matches hotel prices for bigger savings.
#6 Cash in Points for the Cheapest Hotel Rooms
One of the best ways to get cheaper rooms is by booking hotels using points…because free is awesome!
We have already talked about how travelers can earn a ton of points by joining loyalty programs (and then staying loyal to that group). Those earned points can be used for free hotel stays – and it really doesn’t get much cheaper than free!
However, there is an even easier way to earn points for hotels (and rental cars!) – and that is through points-earning credit cards.
Through the years we have had several different credit cards that earned us extra points for hotels – and in that time, racked up a good number of points to use toward free hotel rooms. In fact, in a previous job, I used a hotel-specific, points-earning credit card for all of my reimbursable work expenses. I was essentially earning free hotel stays without even spending my own money (and that just might be the cheapest way to get hotel rooms…ever).
Currently, our favorite credit card is the travel-friendly Chase Sapphire Preferred. Not only is it fantastic for earning extra points on hotels and airline tickets, but the points are worth more when cashing them in for travel expenses. It’s a win-win for how to get a good deal on hotels and well worth the annual fee.
Find out more about Chase Sapphire Preferred – and earn bonus points right away by using this referral code!
#7 Book in Advance for a Cheaper Hotel Room
Travelers don’t need to agonize over how to get cheap hotel rates, simply book a hotel in advance! Most hotel rooms are cheaper the earlier you book – so booking early will likely get you the cheapest hotel rate.
It is believed by some that booking a week or two before your trip is the ideal time for the cheapest hotel rooms – but we don’t agree. Too often the best hotels are already fully booked that close to your trip. Fear not, there is a second part to this tip for how to get the best hotel rates – and it’s all about hacking the system.
Seriously, this is one of the easy tips to get cheap hotel rates and it is so underutilized. The key is booking a refundable room in advance – and this is how it works.
Whenever you decide to take a trip – or even have an inkling that you might want to go somewhere – start searching for the lowest priced hotels.
Find the best hotel at the best rate that also offers a free cancelation policy – and book it right away. Then, in the days and months until you take your trip, start the process again in search of an even lower priced hotel room. If you find a cheaper hotel room, book it and cancel the original refundable booking. Then, if your trip is still a few weeks away, start the process over again; ideally bringing the price of your hotel down each time!
The thing is, after you have a fully refundable hotel booked at an affordable price, it takes the stress off finding a cheap hotel for your trip, but still allows you the freedom to search for a better rate.
This trick for how to book hotels cheap, however, only works if you are dedicated to spending ample time searching and sifting through hotel rooms online. Plus, you need to be on top of travel details, like Free Cancel By Dates. In order to keep it all straight we recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner.
#8 Book Multiple Hotels for Different Dates
This is one of the hotel booking tricks that is best used when you have yet to finalize the rest of your travel plans – like flights or requested time off work.
Much like our cheaper hotels hacks for booking in advance, this tip for how to book a hotel cheap requires a bit of effort and attention to detail. The reward, however, can be the best overall priced vacation.
How it works is this: Once you have a rough idea of where you want to go and when you want to travel, look for hotel stays within your price range (using our other tips for the best rates, of course!). When you identify a cancelable room at a good rate, book it. Then keep looking for other possibilities on different dates that will work for your trip – and, as long as they offer fully refundable rates, book those rooms, too.
After booking two or three possibilities, then start your search for the cheapest airfare. With several possible dates already locked in at low prices for your hotel, you now have the luxury of opting for the cheapest airfare that matches any one of those reserved hotel room dates.
Once you lock in your dates with purchased airfare, go back and cancel the hotel bookings for the alternate dates. Furthermore, because the room that works for your dates is refundable, you can continue searching for the cheapest hotel room rates for your trip right up to that cancelation date.
#9 Take Advantage of Non-Refundable Rates
While we have just shared two huge tips to book cheap hotels by utilizing free cancelations, we are now going to flip the coin and give a tip on how to get the hotel’s cheapest rates: Book the non-refundable room rate.
The savings can be significant when you book a non-cancelable room. Many hotels and search engines now list the two prices – refundable and non-refundable – side-by-side so you can easily see how much money you will save by opting for the room that you pay for up front without possibility of a refund.
We only recommend using the cheaper non-refundable rate if your travel dates are 100% set. If you are absolutely sure about your travel plans, then reserving a non-refundable rate is an easy way to get a cheap hotel room at a bargain price.
In fact, even if your plans change, you may be able to get a hotel room refund if you bought travel insurance…which just so happens to be our next hotel booking tip!
#10 Travel Insurance
It really doesn’t matter if you book cheap hotels or luxury accommodations – disruptions to your best laid travel plans can happen.
Although this tip is not necessarily about how to get hotel deals, it can certainly save you money if your trip plans change.
Not only can World Nomads travel insurance policies protect against lost luggage and delayed flight inconveniences, but it may cover trip cancellations as well as medical care for illnesses and injuries abroad.
#11 Snatch Up Last-Minute Deals
Want the hotel cheapest deals? Try booking last minute!
Waiting to book a hotel until the last minute can be risky, but it can also be the best way to get hotel deals. For spontaneous travelers, it’s one of the best booking hotel tricks. We used this hack often when living in Phoenix, Arizona; so we know it can work, which is why it is one of our top booking travel tips.
Many hotels would rather get something than nothing – so they are willing to slash their prices instead of letting a hotel room go unused. Travelers looking for a deeply discounted deal can wait to find a cheap hotel room until the day of travel – and it just might pay off.
The risk, however, needs to be addressed. While the goal is to get a cheap hotel room, the plan can backfire, and you can actually end up spending a lot more than you anticipated. This trick will not work if there are big conventions, sporting events or other festivities that have rendered most the area hotels at capacity.
We think the best way for how to get cheap hotel rates last minute is to use a last-minute booking app, like HotelTonight. This app is specifically designed for booking hotels last minute. In addition to listing the lowest prices of the day, they also have a super special Daily Drop rate that you can reveal for extra savings…but you only have 15 minutes to make the booking, so only click the Daily Drop after you have done your research and are ready to book a hotel room.
That said, most hotel search websites now offer last minute deals. Ideally, you would start searching for last-minute hotel deals a couple of days before your trip to find cheapest hotels. Some sites that are known for their last minute hotel deals are LateRooms, LastMinute and Trivago.
#12 Tips for Booking a Hotel on Arrival for Less Money
In this day and age, many travelers wonder, “Can you book a hotel room at the desk?” And the answer is: Yes, absolutely! You might even score a deal.
Just like booking a hotel last minute, booking a hotel on arrival at the front desk can be a bit of a gamble – but we have found it can be quite rewarding, especially in terms of value for money. On our weeklong trips to Europe (before we went completely nomadic), we would often wait until we were in a city to find a place to stay, which definitely has its pros and cons.
The pros of booking a hotel on arrival are simple: freedom and value for dollar. Before locking in, we can get a sense of the area and ask to see the room. It is also so much easier to negotiate deals in person than online (although this typically only works when booking at boutique hotels). The best way to find cheap hotels on arrival, is to do a little research and to have a few hotels in mind beforehand.
Of course, there are a few cons…like hotels being fully booked, being left with few choices and having to lug around your bags after a long haul flight to different hotels to find the best prices.
That said, rather than schlepping your luggage around to different hotels, you could also use a booking app – like HotelTonight or Booking.com – on arrival.
#13 Bundle Your Trip for Best Hotels Rates
It’s long been true that if you want to learn how to get the best hotel deals, then you need to bundle your entire trip – hotel, flight and rental car included.
Just like bundling a multi-course lunch into a prix fixe meal can be a cost saving measure, so can bundling the costs of your trip.
Most booking sites offer travel packages that allow you to book various aspects of your trip together and save money. By booking your vacation as a package, you can keep costs down.
While this is one of the best hotel booking tips and tricks, it is important to still compare and shop around. First, you will want to price out each individual cost to make sure that you are, in fact, getting the deal they are presenting. Next, you should also check competitor sites to make sure there isn’t a better deal on another website.
#14 Go the All-Inclusive Route
If you are seeking out ways for how to book hotels for cheap, don’t dismiss all-inclusive hotel resorts! In fact, if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, all-inclusive resorts might be the best way to get cheap hotels.
Resort hotels offer incredible amenities and perks when guests stay on-site for their entertainment and food – so they can bundle your entire vacation into a one-price package.
In addition to the hotel room, all-inclusive rates often include airfare, transportation to the property, meals, snacks, alcoholic beverages, activities, taxes and sometimes even tips.
Although our travel style does not lend itself to the all-inclusive vacation, there is no doubt that booking an all-inclusive hotel can save you money on your trip. Just be sure to do your research to make sure everything you want is included and paid for up front.
#15 Find a Special Deal on Discount Hotel Sites
In addition to online booking sites, there are travel sites that offer special hotel deals.
For example, TravelZoo members (the membership is free!) have access to an array of discounts and deals. Likewise, travelers can use a site, like Groupon, to snag a hotel deal.
While these sites are not necessarily ideal for finding a cheap hotel comparison list, they do often offer some pretty phenomenal savings.
#16 Tips for Booking Hotel Online: Pay Attention to Details
Some travelers get so focused on how to get hotels cheap that they miss the fine print…and that can cost a fortune.
One of our top hotel booking tips when booking online is to pay attention to details. Look at the fine print for any extra charges – like resort fees, city taxes and parking garage charges. These extra fees can add up over the course of a stay and result in a much higher price than what the hotel room was marketed for.
In order to get good deals on hotels, when you compare two different hotels, make sure you are comparing apples to apples – especially concerning these extra hidden fees.
Another easily missed detail is expensive conversion rates when booking a hotel in a foreign country. Rather than accruing a surcharge for paying in your own currency, check to see if you can pay in the foreign currency – and use a No Foreign Fee credit card – like Chase Sapphire Preferred – to make the payment.
One more general tip for booking online is to ensure all of your provided information is correct. The default for many hotel booking engines is two guests. However, if you are traveling solo, be sure to book the hotel for one person instead of two, as there may be some savings.
#17 Change Your Travel Dates
Hotel rooms are priced on supply and demand. For example, hotels used frequently by business travelers – like NYC or Washington DC – are more expensive during the weekdays, while hotels in fun locales – like Nashville or on the Las Vegas Strip – fetch higher prices on the weekends.
Therefore, one of the best ways for how to book cheap hotels is to simply change your dates of travel to an off-peak travel day. Once you have a destination in mind, find out when most travelers go to that destination…and avoid those days.
The same idea for how to find the best hotel deals applies to what time of year you travel, too. Shoulder seasons – often the months of April and October – tend to be the least busy time for most destinations. Traveling during the shoulder season can be the best way to find hotel deals.
It takes a little finesse to find the sweet spot and pinpoint the least expensive season or cheapest day to book a hotel. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a hotel search engine that has flexible date or cheapest date features – so it is up to you to toggle through dates to find the cheapest hotel room…but it can save you money!
#18 Find Cheapest Hotel in a Location Further Away
One of the best tips on how to get good deals on hotels is to search for accommodations outside the city center or away from the top attractions.
A prime location can mean prime money. San Diego beachfront hotels cost a lot more than hotels a few blocks back. Accommodations in the heart of Paris are pricier than hotels in the surrounding arrondissements. Booking a Brooklyn hotel for a New York City stay can save bundles over a midtown Manhattan hotel.
You don’t have to go far. Simply expand your search (using the convenient map feature on a hotel booking website) to find a more affordable stay.
This was one of the top hotel hacks we often used on our weekend trips to San Francisco. While most weekend travelers booked rooms in the entertaining Fisherman’s Wharf, we would seek out one of the less expensive hotels in the nearby business district.
More recently, we opted to stay near Heathrow Airport during a trip to London, rather than staying in the city center. The airport hotel was more than half the price of comparable hotels available in the heart of London.
When using this tip as the cheapest way to get a hotel, however, keep in mind how you will get around and the cost involved. For example, if you plan to use public transportation, make sure you book a hotel close to a major transportation line – and check to see how much it will cost to get to where you want to be.
We once booked a cheap place in New Zealand that was in the suburbs, only to find it cost $20 to get into the city each day. If we would have factored that cost (and time!) into our original hotel calculations, we may have been able to find something for the same price within walking distance.
#19 Attend a Presentation for Cheapest Hotels
Attending timeshare presentations can be one of the best ways for how to get cheapest hotel rates – sometimes you can even score free hotel rooms, free meals and free access to hotel amenities and other perks.
Of course, in order to get the cheap or free hotel rooms, you actually have to take out time from your vacation to sit with a sales representative. More importantly – most importantly – you have to be strong with the word, no.
Timeshares are rarely a money saving venture. Therefore, if you are looking for the best ways to get cheap hotels and do so by attending a presentation, you have to be resolute against signing on the dotted line.
#20 Travel to Less Popular Places
Want a secret tip on how to get cheap hotel prices? Travel to a lesser-known destination!
There is no doubt about it that the most popular locations are home to some of the most expensive hotels. Travel to underrated cities in the USA, on the other hand, can cost significantly less money in regards to accommodations.
Again, this is where hotel booking sites map features can really come in handy – just pan and pinch in search of cheaper cities!
By the way, this tip for how to get the best price on hotels applies to underrated travel destinations around the world!
#21 Reap the Rewards of Longer Stays
Did you know that sometimes a cheap hotel’s rate is not the cheapest rate? Some hotels offer additional discounts for guests who stay a week or longer.
Guests who opt for an all-suites hotel – like Extended Stay America or Home 2 Suites by Hilton – are likely to find big discounts for booking an entire weeklong stay. Plus, travelers get the extra benefit of having a kitchen to prepare cheap meals during the trip.
We have used weeklong discounts on multiple occasions and can attest it is a huge cost-saving measure!
#22 Play Games to Book Cheapest Hotels
There are a lot of different ways for how to find deals on hotels – and playing a game of chance is one of the best. How it works is that you name a price and then let the booking website pick the hotel for you!
Priceline is the best-known website that allows guests to gamble with where they stay for a budget price.
The Priceline Express Deals offer the biggest possible savings. Travelers pay for a non-cancelable room and Priceline reveals the name of the hotel where you will stay.
Another Priceline hotel game is the Pricebreakers deal – which is, perhaps, a little less risky than an Express Deal. With Pricebreakers, you view a list of three hotels in the same tier featuring the same low price. Only after you book it do they reveal which of the three hotels you will stay in.
#23 Ask for Discounts
We have shared heaps of tips and tricks for how to get a good deal on a hotel room – but we have yet to mention the simplest way: Asking for discounts!
Numerous hotels offer discounts for students, seniors, AAA members and military personnel. Additionally, employees of major corporations have access to hotel discounts through their benefits department.
The discounts are usually a small percentage off the listed hotel rate – but can still add up to decent savings.
#24 Stay in Alternative Accommodations
Finding a cheap hotel room isn’t always easy. Some destinations are just plain expensive. When you can’t find hotel rooms within your budget, consider staying in alternative accommodations.
Hostel dorm rooms, Airbnb Apartments and Couchsurfing are all good alternatives to traditional hotel rooms – and they are often cheaper, too!
Pet lovers may even want to try Petsitting as a way to get a free place to stay. We personally find our petsitting gigs through Trusted Housesitters – and are fortunate to have been international housesitters on numerous occasions.
Just keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of lodging – and they are not always cheapest.
Private rooms in a hostel – with a private bathroom – can cost just as much (if not more) than a traditional cheap hotel in the same area. Airbnb apartments, while a great value for long-term stays, are not necessarily the best budget options for short weekend getaways. (The additional fees can quickly wipe out any possible savings over 1 or 2 nights in a hotel room.)
Step-by-Step Process for Booking Hotels
We have shared our top tips on ways to get a hotel cheapest – and now we are going to show you how to book a hotel step-by-step, putting these tips to use. This is our process for finding discount hotels around the world.
Step 1: Start a Hotel Search Online
Whenever we start a search for hotels, we always start on Booking.com – one of the largest booking engines for hotels in the world. We think it is the best place to book hotels – or at least start our search.
By beginning our search on a hotel booking engine website, we can quickly get a general idea of cost and availability in the city or region…then we can drill down to find the perfect place to stay within our budget. Because we are loyalty members, we see applicable extra discounts on hotels right away.
That said, we always hop onto our handheld device to check the app for lower mobile-only rates.
Step 2: Research and Change Search Parameters
Once we have an idea of hotel pricing in our desired destination, we start some basic research on Google Maps.
We want to measure walking distances from hotels to major sights and research transportation options and routes to get a better idea of how far from the city center we could book. We also research specific neighborhoods – and look for things like coffee shops and restaurants in the area.
Based on our research, we determine if we need to alter our dates and locations – and then check for lower rates. If after toggling between different date options and checking prices of hotels that are located further afield, we decide the hotels exceed our budget, we either look for alternative accommodations or consider travel to a less expensive destination.
Step 3: Compare Hotel Rates
When we identify a hotel property that fits within our desired budget, we then check for bundled trip prices. (This would be the time to look for and compare prices for all-inclusive hotels, as well.)
Next, we contact the hotel directly to inquire about price matching and other perks for booking direct. We also ask about any discounts that may apply or offers for long-term stays.
If we have earned points that we want to use, this is when to consider if using points to book a hotel is the best option for a cheap hotel booking.
Step 4: Check Details and Book the Cheap Hotel
At this point, we are just about ready to make a hotel booking! However, before completing the booking, we check the fine print for details – like hidden fees and cancellation dates.
When we book travel accommodations, we always use our points-earning travel credit card, Chase Sapphire Preferred.
If the hotel we are booking has a free cancellation policy, we create a reminder in our calendar and continue our search for cheaper hotel rates in the days leading up to the non-refundable date.
Step 5: Travel Insurance
The last step in our process of How To Book a Hotel Room for Cheap is to book travel insurance. While it is not required, consider protecting your trip with World Nomads.
Now that you have booked a cheap place to stay, use our tips for Finding the Best Airfare and getting the Best Rental Car Rates.
Plan your activities with Viator – and then you are ready to go…all you have to do is pack! Use our Packing Hacks for the best tips on how to efficiently pack your Suitcase or Backpack.
Start planning your trip! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing! Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!
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