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Saturday, June 15, 2024

5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Hotel Budget

I'm getting ready to go to three different destinations this summer and, though I normally stay in vacation rentals, I'll be spending two of those trips in actual hotel rooms, so let's talk about how we can budget and learn how to stretch that budget to get more from your room and dollars. Accommodations don't have to break the bank. If you know what to look for or how to book and on what days, you can save big bucks. Imagine what else you can do on your trip with the money you save.

Let's talk about how we can budget and learn how to stretch that budget to get more from your room and dollars.

You can always get a better deal on your accommodations if you know what you want from one or even ask for things you wish were included. In fact, now is a great time to haggle with a hotel for amenities, because the industry is struggling and some things that they normally charge for they may be perfectly happy to include in your booking for free.

Stay in Brand New Hotels

Hotels that have been newly built or totally remodeled often have an introductory period right when they open that offers rock-bottom rates. HotelChatter is a website that not only shows reviews of hotels, but they also list the opening dates of new hotels and update them if they change. The list shows hotels worldwide, so you can search before you book your room.

Go All-Inclusive

I know you’re paying to stay at these places to be entertained and well-fed; most of them also offer free activities in the form of non-motorized watersports and even have nightly entertainment. That’s a freebie in my opinion, though you may feel differently. I suggest pricing out what you would expect to spend on your trip if you didn’t go all-inclusive and see if the savings are significant enough to go one way or the other.

Ask for a Corner Room

While not a a huge deal, a corner will get you a slightly larger room (though sometimes a much larger room), as well as extra windows, usually, meaning better natural lighting. It might offer a better view or even a bigger balcony, if the hotel offers them. Other benefits might be that a corner room is quieter and more private, because there is less foot traffic. You might also be at the end of a hallway, and nearby the stairs, so you'd have a longer walk to the elevator, but closer to an emergency exit.

Stay in a Vacation Rental

If you have a large family, this may be your perfect solution. Rentals are booked per night, not by guest counts, so whether you have three people or eight people in your travel party you pay the same price. The other pluses to a rental are: having more space to stretch out, having a kitchen to cook your own meals in (or at least store some snacks and leftovers), there aren’t 20 potential neighbors waking you up at all hours and many rentals have a washing machine. I wrote a whole post on my love of vacation rentals.

Look for Freebies

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.
I hope this helps you plan a fantastic trip and find the best hotel room for your needs. 

What are your favorite hotels to stay at and what makes it so awesome?

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