Vacation is an ultimate way to get away from our routine and our problems. People often desire to forget everything so much that they end up forgetting their financial limitations. Money should not be on your mind during the vacation, but be considerate and don't completely forget about your budget. Nobody wants to come back home after a wonderful vacation and be confronted by an empty wallet or even debt. If you'll be smart about finances and plan ahead, you will avoid extra stress and not overspend. Be especially wary of accommodation costs as those tend to drain your budget fastest. However, before you despair and cancel your vacation plans, read on to find ways to book a nice place without breaking a bank.
Avoid the one mistake that so many vacationers make: they feel that if they will only let themselves to overindulge, it will somehow make their trip more memorable. It might, but all for the wrong reasons!
Be smart about your budget and decide what amount of money you want to spend on your vacation. Then determine what part of your vacation budget can go towards the accommodations. And last, think about your trip and what will you be doing there, how much time you will spend in your room. Most people travel with a goal to spend as little time inside, as possible. If this is the case, you should be willing to forgo upgrades and unnecessary extras in your hotel room in order to spend money on something more exciting. If one of your goals is to dine at gourmet restaurants, then you should choose less expensive resorts. If you do want to stay in a very fancy place, you might have to shorten your trip to afford it. The choice is all in your hands.
If you are flexible and looking for best deals, you should choose to travel to your destination during off-season months. You can go to Las Vegas in summer and still have fun at the pool or various shows. And 50% less accommodation price might just make it all worthwhile.
During less popular season, you will not have to deal with large crowds of other vacationers. Booking a hotel in the middle of the week will also save some money. To further increase your savings, try bidding on a hotel on Priceline.com. You might not know the exact hotel you are getting, but you will know the rating and the location. Booking a hotel through Hotwire will also be cost wise.
If you desire to save money while traveling, be sure to research the area where you're going very well. Be aware that hotels in downtown can cost twice as much as a nice place just a couple of miles away.
Utilize maps that many travel websites provide to learn some facts about the place you're going to. Don't make a mistake and book a hotel so far away that you'll have to drive far and inquire steep transportation and parking fees to reach your main destination. Find out about available public transportation and determine if you can walk to all the places of interest.
If you travel to the same place more than once and had a good previous experience at a hotel, come back there again. You will be surprised what benefits repeat customers often get. The staff will know you and might offer a booking discount or at least a nice upgrade.
If the same hotel is not available, try finding the same hotel chain and mention that you are a regular customer.
If you need a plane ticket, a hotel, and a rental car, try buying all of those components together on the travel sites like Expedia that offer this service. You might be able to save a significant amount of money doing it. In addition to buying a bundle, sign up for loyalty reward program on the sites that you use for your travel needs. This way you can enter the loyalty number while booking hotels or renting cars to maximize your savings.
While hotels will always be a convenient and popular option, there are so many ways to enjoy your time away from home:
Many hotels and hotel chains offer rewards programs and memberships. It does not cost to join and once you do, every dollar spent translates into points. Enough points will give you free nights, upgrades, or cash for activities. Choice Hotels chain includes Sleep In, Econo Lodge, Comfort Suites, and a few others. Every time you spend money in any one of them, you receive Choice Privileges Points that you can later use for free nights.
If you stay at a particular hotel or chain quite frequently, it makes a perfect sense to acquire their or affiliate credit card. You can earn points towards a free night just doing your grocery shopping. One thing to keep in mind is that by spending too much and accumulating debt and interest won't help you save, so use your credit card with care. Check out Chase Marriot Rewards Premier Visa or American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card for their points options. Some cards offer wonderful promotions for signing up. Choice Hotels Visa Credit Card will give you 2 free nights at one of their hotels after your first purchase.
Many hotels offer free perks for their guests, so always check for those. Free breakfast, for example, will save a great deal of money and time. Free fitness center, pools, onsite attractions, and activities will also help a lot.
Ask about free snacks or drink specials at the hotel. Free shuttle service or gas credit will make a difference.
All small expenditures add up and become a great deal for your budget.
Some rooms come stocked with many alcoholic beverages, bottles of water, and snacks. Before helping yourself to that, find out if they are included first - most of the time they are not. And a nice bottle of water can set you back by $10 easily. Some hotels in busy metropolitan areas charge for parking, so be aware of that. Other places will make you pay for telephone, internet, and even room service.
Booking through sites like Hotels.com are great, but searching for coupons can be even greater. Always keep an eye on coupon deals online and use them when applicable.
Another great option is to sign up for nationwide money-saving websites, like Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com. Check their offers in the cities that you are planning to go to and score some great deals.
Every state, region, and city has an official tourist guide, so make sure to check it for coupons and deals on local accommodations, restaurants, activities, and attractions before you go.
If you haven't taken time ahead of your trip to secure the best deal, look for tourist guides or discount packs and information at the airports, visitor centesr, and even gas stations. It is never too late for a good deal.
Make sure you find out what discounts you already have. If you are a student, never fail to get discounts on lodging, movie tickets, museums, transportation, and many others.
Members of AAA, university graduates, union teachers, government workers, AARP members, seniors, and military personnel are eligible for many various discounts not just for traveling, but many other things too.
After you've done your research and narrowed down your choices, try calling the chosen hotel directly. The customer service representative might give you a better deal than you could find online.
When talking to a hotel representative directly, you can find information otherwise not available. You can ask about the weather, water temperature, any additional conditions, such as nearby construction or a large convention in town.
Some entertainment packages are not providing any savings. Often times booking your hotel and entertainment separately is a lot cheaper because you can find applicable coupons on your own.
Packages might include local golf games, free tickets to local aquariums and amusement parks, and spa services, but the price of this package is often a lot higher than all of those things a la carte.