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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

7 (More) Ways to Save on Your Accommodations

Hotels and accommodations are expensive. You can search forever to look for cheap rates, but sometimes you gotta get creative to save some bucks. Heck, often it's the little things that can add up to big money, so don't overlook them like you may normally tend to do. If you missed the first part of this list, go back and check it out, as those are the main money-savers. Here we'll see how to use freebies to get more for your room rate.

saving on accommodations

Free is always a great price, but if you don’t know how to get it, then it’s not really all that helpful. I love travel freebies and try to maximize them on every trip I take, because that’s less money I have to pay out of my own pocket. The more money I save, the better trip I can take or the more I can put towards a future vacation. There’s also the fact that if you save more, you spend less and suddenly a trip that was a little out of your reach is now within your budget!

Free Breakfast 
Free continental or buffet breakfast is a fantastic saver! On the low end, say you usually only have coffee and a bagel in the morning, you can save $5 per person, but on the higher end, if you like to eat out and have someone wait on you in the morning, you could be looking at $12+ per person.

Kids Eat Free
If your hotel has a restaurant and they offer free dining for kids, this is another big savings. Usually, you can get free meals for up to two kids this way if you purchase an adult entrée. Assuming a kid’s meal is an average of $6, that’s up to $18 per day, per child.

Free Wi-Fi
I always like to stay in touch while I’m on vacation, so I tend to bring my iPad and netbook everywhere I travel. This way my husband and I can both check up on what’s been happening while we’ve been gone and also communicate with friends and family. Hotels and resorts sometimes charge for internet service, or you can wait in the lobby and use one of their computers free of charge for a few minutes. Your best bet on this is to find one of the many places that give you free Wi-Fi, because it can save you weekly or daily rates, or those per-minute rates charged by Internet cafés. You also can’t do much business if you’re on a time limit.

Laundry On-Site
While usually not free, it’s still a minimal charge to use the machines there compared to the local Laundromat or worse, the laundry services they offer where you leave your bag of clothing and then come back to fresh clothes and a bill. Generally, the machines off-site can range anywhere from $1.75 - $3.00 per load for both the washer and the dryer. If you do laundry out of the country, it can cost almost $8 just to wash your clothes. Anytime I’ve used the on-site facilities, they range from $.50-1.00 for each machine and most times they were free. It’s easy to throw clothes in while you’re resting from your day out walking.

Free Coffee and Snacks
Many hotels offer free coffee/tea and snacks (like fruit and cookies) in the lobby. There’s no reason to not take advantage of such things that are included in your room rate. Think about all the times you want to snack during the day while you’re sightseeing. If you had a banana or some other snacky thing that you snagged on your way out, you wouldn’t have to shell out any money again until lunch or dinner. The free coffee and/or tea provided, while not fancy, can save you a trip to Starbucks in the morning.

Free Alcoholic Beverages 
If drinking is one of your favorite vacation pastimes, there are a few ways to get free drinks on your travels. The most obvious way is to stay at an all-inclusive resort where this is included. I consider it free, because you’re paying for your accommodations, entertainment and food all in one lump sum. Anything beyond that is a plus in my book. Another thing you can do is find a hotel that offers a free cocktail hour. They are kinda few and far between, but if you’re lucky you can find them.

Free Use of the Gym
Do you get excited when a hotel or vacation rental has an exercise room so you can blast your quads? Yeah, I don't know what that means either, but it doesn't sound very vacation-y to me. I know lots of people are really into getting their workout in the morning, especially if they are business travelers and rarely see the outside of the hotel. If you will actually make use of the gym, unlike me who says they will and only ever sets foot in there to take pictures of it, then this is a smart way to get more for your money.

While this certainly isn’t an inclusive list on all the ways you can save your dollars on accommodations, it’s a good start to help you travel within your means. Maybe that extra money you don’t have to spend is just enough to allow you to go to that one place that was just out of your reach budget-wise before. 

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