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One of the biggest expenses when traveling is lodging.
When traveling at home, Americans spent on average about $131.
Of course, prices vary depending on a number of factors like time of year and type of hotel, but for vacationers on a multi-week trip, lodging costs can add up.
There isn’t just one reason why travelers might pay high prices to sleep at a hotel; a number of factors come into play to affect prices -- from local taxes to location, market demand to additional services.
Whether you’re paying $532 to stay on a five-star property in the Maldives or paying $108 for a Las Vegas hotel, the average price of a hotel room around the world is on the rise.
If you’re looking to save on hotel costs, follow these steps to get the best rate:
1. Book Early
Of course, booking your hotel as early as possible before your trip will help you get the lowest rate. Market demand helps push hotel prices up.
So if you’re a late-minute booker, expect to pay a premium price for your hotel of choice.
2. Be Flexible
If you can allow some flexibility in your travel schedule, you might be able to score a hotel bargain.
Try to input different dates to find out whether you can get a cheaper hotel rate by adjusting your itinerary.
In addition, rates for hotels can vary depending on how you book.
Just because you find that a hotel costs a certain amount on its website doesn’t mean that it will cost the same if you book over the phone.
So try looking at the rates offered for hotel on its website, calling the front desk, using a third-party website, or calling a 1-800 number.
See if it’s cheaper to book with one method versus the others.
3. Comparison Shop
Use any of the big travel search engines like Expedia, Kayak, or Orbitz to get an idea of what prices for hotels are in the area you’re going to be visiting.
Google Hotel Finder or TripAdvisor’s Hotels and Motels are also great sites to begin your search.
Google Hotel Finder
Prices may vary on different websites, but keep in mind that some sites may not list fees or surcharges.
Some websites might also list different hotel options, so keep an eye out for hotels in your preferred area.
You never know what might open up or you could stumble upon a lodging option that you weren’t even aware of in the first place.
4. Use Helpful Websites
The website Tingo helps you get money back if the price of a hotel drops -- even after you’ve booked your hotel.
In addition, there are a number of mobile apps that help you book last-minute hotels like Hotel Tonight and Jetsetter.
5. Book a Package
If you’re headed to a popular destination like Hawaii or Orlando, then it might be worth looking into travel packages that group together your airfare, lodging, and other add-ons like renting a car or free parking.
Typically, you’ll save more money booking these together in a group rather than paying for each individually.
Even if you don’t need all of the components in the package, you still might save on overall costs.
Consider this example:
Say you were booking airfare, hotel, and a rental car for a 7-day trip from New York to San Diego. If you were to book everything separately, it would cost:
Roundtrip coach airfare from Newark to San Diego: $296.40
7-night 3-star hotel stay: $1,201.43
7-day economy rental car: $197
That makes for a grand total of $1,694.83.
However, if you were to book everything together, that is, a bundled package of hotel, flight, and rental car on a site like Orbitz, it would cost:
A number of popular hotel chains offer loyalty rewards programs that come with some nice benefits.
Based on a recent study by AARP, 65% of Millennials are members of travel loyalty programs, and more than 70% of the time always book through one of the programs.
If you’re a Starwood Preferred Guest, belong to Hilton Honors, or are a member of the Wyndham Rewards Loyalty Program, you could receive special perks or points that might qualify you to receive free accommodation, merchandise or discounted room rates.
At the same time, more airline and hotel loyalty programs are partnering together.
If you are an elite status flier, you might be able to earn hotel points for flying on certain airlines.
7. Hotel Credit Cards
If you frequently travel or use a specific hotel chain, it might be worthwhile to look into what rewards you might receive by signing up for a hotel credit card.
Some hotels offer room discounts, or other perks to cardholders.
Note: Signing up for one of these cards only makes sense if you frequently utilize a certain hotel chain.
Daryl is a staff writer at MyBankTracker.com who specializes in consumer spending, student finances and debt.
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