Savvy money saving tips for your next hotel stay
Want to learn how you could save $1,900 on your next vacation? George Hobica, CEO of AirfareWatchdog.com and “travel watchdog” of new hotel booking engine Tingo, put together the best tips for saving on hotel stays in any season. Follow them, and you’re sure to keep a little extra padding in your own pockets.
Looking to save big on your next trip? Check out the Tingo page at ShopAtHome.com to get great deals on travel, as well as 3 percent Cash Back.
Book in advance. In the past, travelers had to guess the best time to book their hotel. If you hedge your bets and wait too long in hopes of a better price, you run the risk of not getting the hotel or room you want. New websites like Tingo solve this travel conundrum. Book on the site and if your reservation drops in price, Tingo will automatically rebook you at the lower rate and refund the difference to your credit card. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! The average Price Drop refund on Tingo is $53.18 (more than enough for a dinner for two!). Refunds can be much higher, though. The site reports its largest refund to date is $1,961.34. Wouldn’t you like to get that money back?
Get upgraded for free. Price isn’t the only measure of a great deal. To improve your chances of getting an upgrade, book with Tingo and let the site do the work for you. In addition to doling out Price Drop refunds, Tingo also alerts its customers when a better room becomes available for less than what they originally paid, giving them the option to switch their room and take advantage of the free upgrade.
Additionally, if you wait until about 6 p.m. to check in, the front desk should know which of the nicer rooms are still vacant and you’ll have a better chance of scoring one of them — minus the extra cost.
Stay flexible. Some of the biggest savings can be had by traveling during your destination’s off-seasons. But even if you can’t plan around seasonality, you can still save by starting your stay on a Sunday rather than a Friday and choosing midweek dates whenever you can.
Keep an eye on hotel fees. Hotels have become fee-crazy, but there are ways to avoid some of those charges. For example, before you book, call the hotel and ask if you will be charged a resort fee. Search for nearby parking garages to avoid paying the hotel’s valet-parking fee (and the tip!). Find out beforehand if the hotel automatically adds gratuity for housekeeping or spa services; otherwise, you might end up tipping twice. If you don’t plan on reading the newspaper every morning, decline the service upon arrival — those daily $1 fees add up!
Join hotel loyalty programs. Many hotels have membership programs that are free to join and can net you perks like free wireless Internet and access to snack-stocked lounges. If you frequently stay at a particular chain, you can let your points stack up and redeem them later for free rooms or upgrades — not bad! Some loyalty programs have different levels of membership and the higher up the chain, the better the rewards. Browse around and find a loyalty program that works best for you.
Take advantage of freebies. After the cost of flights and hotel, meals make up the biggest portion of most people’s travel budgets, so look for a hotel that offers daily free breakfast to rack up real in-trip savings. Other hotels may offer free minibar snacks, coffee or happy hours.
Make a business decision. If your heart’s set on a weekend stay in the city, look to the business district for real value. Many hotels in corporate, financial and conference hot spots are busiest midweek and offer better prices on the weekends. (They tend to be close to public transportation, too, so you can save on cabs, cars and gas.)
Tingo, recently named a 2013 top travel site by Travel + Leisure magazine, is the only site that automatically rebooks you at the lower rate if your hotel drops its price, refunding the difference to your credit card.
Find more articles about Tingo here.