Are you planning to travel soon and would like to keep your travel cost at a minimum or looking at how to save money on accommodation? One of the best ways to do this is by carefully selecting your hotels and finding the best deals out there because let’s face it, who does not like a good deal? Whenever we are traveling, it is always acceptable to look for the best possible way to save up some pennies without sacrificing comfort.
Some people think that when you go on a holiday, you have to book stays at five-star boutique hotels that cost hundreds of dollars per night for basic amenities with just a touch of luxury (like extra soaps, shampoos, etc.). Honestly, it is only worth it if you’re planning to stay at the hotel to abuse its other packages for a whole lot of your stay, but if you have itchy feet and would instead explore, then it is not worth it at all.
In my many years of traveling, whether it was when I was a rugged backpacker or a seasoned traveler with a little bit more dough to spend, I am always on the hunt for the best ways to save money on accommodation (or anything, actually).
That said, from my experience, I’ve accumulated enough knowledge on how to find the best deals on accommodation online and always end up having some of the best times of my life.
I am a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on travel accommodation because it is honestly just a place you are going to sleep for the night. The highlight of your trip should be the destination itself and not the place you’re going to stay at. Unless, of course, your goal is to experience luxury hotels for the purpose of literally just staying in to relax.
So, in this post, I’m going to outline some of the tricks that I’ve gathered from past experiences which I use today how to find the best deals and save money on accommodation.
SAVING MONEY ON ACCOMMODATION
Find deals on booking websites
Most hotel booking websites are one of the best places to find great hotel deals in cities you’re planning to visit.
I’ve been personally using this hotel booking platform for many years and have found that they have the best rates at discounted prices all year round.
The best way to do it is by just simply checking available hotels for your dates and destinations and using the filter function and paying around with it till you find the best hotel to stay at.
Use discount deals and links!
I’m a sucker for discount deals, and whenever I find a link that leads me to one. This takes a little bit of digging, but I always try to find discount deals or coupons before I book anything.
Some of the ways I find discounted deals are through other people’s referral links and those I often see from fellow travel bloggers who, perhaps, have an agreement with the booking platform for their readers.
I also have one, you can check it from this link – you can get some of your money back if you book through it.
Another way I find this is through a little bit of Google research till I find a discount code for whatever booking platform I want to book my accommodations from.
It does take time sometimes to find the best deals on accommodation, but you can save up to 15% off your total bill if you’re a little persistent (and stingy).
Travel during off-season
Seasons affect tourist prices a lot, and if you’re traveling to a country during its peak season, there would undoubtedly be mega inflation on the rates, and there’s little you can do unless you book everything way ahead of time.
That said, many countries, like most places in Europe, for instance, have great weather during the shoulder season (before and after the peak season). Planning your trip around that time can positively affect your travel cost!
How? Most hotels have a lot of occupancy as either the season is not picking up yet, or it is slowing down; therefore, they would usually drop their prices to attract possible clients.
Visiting during the off-season also has a lot of advantages on its own like fewer crowds, no lines on popular attractions, and lower prices!
Stay at a different location
Big popular cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, or London hotels are costly all year round, and staying in the town can be extra pricey.
However, there are so many ways to save up on accommodation in places like these if you don’t mind traveling for a tad bit of your day and staying in the suburbs or a nearby city or town.
For example, Amsterdam’s neighboring cities are not more than twenty minutes away by bus, so it won’t take up a whole lot of your time if you stay a bit outside the city itself.
That said, since the neighboring city is still a task away, the hotels in these areas would generally be a lot cheaper to attract travelers or passers-by.
Hostels are not for everyone, but if you’re on a budget, it is not a bad option at all! Besides, if you’re planning to be out and about all day long, cheap as it may be, hostels still provide the same things a hotel does – a bed to sleep and rest for the night.
If you’re not keen on sharing rooms with strangers, you can always opt for a private room, and it would still be a little cheaper than mediocre three-star hotels.
Travel with friends (and split the cost)
If you want to stay in a bit nicer hotel and still want to save money on accommodation, traveling with someone to split the hotel cost can be cheaper than staying on your own in more affordable hotels or hostels and still benefit from the amenities the place can offer.
I always enjoy traveling with friends not only because it can be much cheaper but also the fact that you have a company you can make awesome memories with.
So, try to invite friends for some adventures!
Check out CouchSurfing
CouchSurfing is a social media platform that connects travelers from all over the world. This is aimed at solo travelers who are looking to connect with like-minded people who are living in the area they are planning to visit.
The idea is networking, but another side of it is also to be able to stay at a local’s home for free!
Yes, you heard that right, you can stay at a destination for free. Of course, it is a bit of work to find suitable people to host you, and since it is not a hotel, you need to put an effort to connect with the people you’re going to live with for a few nights.
I’ve personally done CouchSurfing when I was backpacking in Europe and found amazing unique individuals to host me in expensive cities such as Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. It took me a few months to find these people and spent a lot of my days hanging out with them as they show me their city.
Of course, I did love my experience, but this is not for everyone, but if you’re sociable and enjoy new companies, then I highly suggest trying it out at least once.
Visit cities where you know someone
If you want to save up money and don’t want to stay at a stranger’s house but know someone living in other countries, then why not visit them?
Since I’ve traveled enough and have stayed in hostels where I’ve socialized enough to find amazing new friends all over the world, I’ve been invited to many of these people’s homes, and I’ve visited some of them when I know I’m going to pass their cities.
Of course, I don’t stay at their homes unless they invited me to, but it is always nice to reconnect with people who share the same interest as I am.
For example, I visited Tokyo and stayed at my childhood friend’s home for a week, and I went there solely because I know he is living there, and I wanted to visit the city for the longest time.
That said, I would have paid hundreds of dollars even at a discounted price if I want to stay at a hostel or hotel in Tokyo, so I’ve ended up saving that amount of money by staying at my friend’s place.
Find hotels that offer free cancellation
This is a tip I know a lot of people should know. It is odd to write this one here, but it will make sense eventually.
If I know I’m going to travel and start booking all of my accommodation months ahead, I would already usually begin to look for deals and book hotels that are already at reasonable prices, but I always make sure that they have free cancellation.
Why? Because once you’ve booked your stay, these websites would typically send you some email blast as your travel dates come near with, sometimes, better deals than you already got!
So, having a free cancellation is efficient as you can cancel it to book a new one with a much better deal.
Also, in case of circumstances where you probably have to cancel your trip, this comes in handy, as well.
Delete your cookings and search on incognito
If you’re not aware of cookies, then you have to start reading about them. This is the data saved in your browser that signals websites that you’re a returning visitor (amongst many other things), and what booking websites would typically do is show you slightly inflated prices.
Why is that? Because they know that you’re returning with a possible intent of buying something, thus taking the chances of showing you prices that are usually closed to the ones you’ve seen during your first visit.
Clearing your browser, deleting cookies, and searching for deals to save money on accommodation through incognito will show you current new prices on hotels online.
Extra fun fact, this works well when searching for cheap flight tickets, too!
Follow travel influencers and bloggers on social media
As I am in the travel industry, I’ve been following a lot of fellow travel bloggers and travel influences online. Since a lot of us work with booking websites to earn a commission, we also get the opportunity to get great deals for our readers and followers.
For instance, a few times a year, booking companies would send us emails about deals and discounts with codes months or weeks before certain travel seasons to give out to our readers. This comes in handy if you’re planning to book something!
The best way to do this is by following your favorite travel bloggers (like us: @innovativexplorer on everything) online or subscribing to their newsletter to get your hands on these deals.
We do send out great deals straight to your emails, as well, for free, so if you’re interested in receiving this – subscribe to our newsletter.
Overnight buses and trains
This is not an accommodation per se, but if you know that it will take you an X amount of time from place A to place B, it might be worth it to take a look if there are overnight buses between both locations.
I do this whenever I’m traveling long distances. For example, when I was traveling from Sarajevo to Zagreb, I took eight hour overnight bus and slept there and ended up saving one night’s worth of hotel stay.
Stay longer than one night
Sometimes hotels have better deals for a more extended stay compared to if you’re only staying for a night. You can play around with your dates when you’re finding hotels to book and see how the prices fluctuate!
Of course, this is not always the case, but most of the time, they give you up to a 10-30% discounted price for extra nights you stay.