Life Travel

Essential Hotel Hacks You Should Know Before Making a Reservation

Essential Hotel Hacks You Should Know Before Making a Reservation March 6, 2019

Hotel hacks

Are you going to stay at a hotel? Then you may as well be smart about it. These hotel hacks will help you save money in the long run. But they'll also make your stay a lot less stressful. So here are some essential tips you should keep in mind before you book...

Find Budget Accommodations

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If you’re on a limited budget, go online and check out other local accommodations like backpack hostels and even universities. Many of them have reasonably priced rooms. If your budget is ridiculously low, try CouchSurfing, a service people use to accommodate travelers free of charge. 

Skip the Continental Breakfast

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If your hotel doesn’t offer free breakfast, pack instant oatmeal packets in your luggage. You can cook them in your hotel’s microwave. You can also use the coffee maker to heat up water for instant soup. And if you're craving carbs, get doughnuts from a nearby food cart. It's a lot cheaper.

Negotiate a Lower Rate

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Ask your hotel for a lower rate if you’re planning on staying for more than a week. It’s less work for the hotel because they only have to worry about turning the room over for one customer as opposed to turning it for a different customer every night.

Ignore Star Ratings

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Don’t assume that a five-star hotel means you’re getting the fanciest hotel in town. The rating often refers to whether the hotel has a gym, a pool and Wi-Fi available. But as far as food, rooms and service are concerned, you might end up with a one-star experience.

Use the Honey App

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The Honey app allows you to see all the discount codes that help you save money on your hotel booking. The app finds any applicable coupon code online. Then it applies automatic discount codes into your shopping cart.

Use "Heat Maps" to Book

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"Heat Maps" show you the areas where you can find the most hotels. So use the map as a guide to find a hotel that's right next to the best restaurants, bars, shopping centers, nightlife venues and overall best experience.

Book Rooms and Flights Together

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Some online travel agencies feature incredible discounts when you book a flight and a hotel room at the same time. The only downside is that you have to pay in advance, and changes or cancelations may cost extra. 

Try A Last-Minute Booking App

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If things got hectic and you forgot to book ahead, don’t worry about it. You can still get a few deals on some available rooms the day you arrive using last-minute apps like Booking.com or even Hotel Tonight.

Book Directly

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Most hotels guarantee you’ll get the lowest possible rate on their website to discourage you from using Expedia, Booking, and Hotels.com to book. This helps them avoid paying those sites some hefty fees. Plus, a lot of hotels give loyalty points to travelers who book directly and cut out the middleman.

Book Online

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On the other hand, when you book directly with a hotel, you’re losing the leverage you’ll have with a reputable middleman in case you’re not satisfied with your accommodations. By booking online, you save yourself the hassle of dealing with a hotel if they mess up.

Join AAA

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As far as hotel hacks go, a AAA membership is a small investment that can save you anywhere from 5 to 10 percent on most hotel stays. But even if you don’t get a discount, hotel rates booked through AAA often offer same-day cancelation options, which make changing travel plans a lot more cost effective.

Tell Them It's a Special Occasion

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You can mention you’re on your honeymoon at check-in, but you have a better chance of getting an upgrade if you let the hotel know in advance. The same goes for anniversaries. Who knows? You might be able to celebrate with champagne, some chocolates and a bubbly spa.

Be Loyal

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If you’ve used the same hotel before and didn’t treat the staff like dirt, then you might notice a couple of free upgrades heading your way the next time you book. All you have to do is let them know you're a frequent guest and be really nice about it.

Confirm Requests

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There are no guarantees that you’ll get a king-size bed simply because you requested one. Hotels can mess things up, and if they "happen to forget" you requested a king bed, they know you're not about to cancel your reservation on the spot. Always call the hotel the day before you travel to confirm they remember your request. 

Ignore the Concierge

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Some concierges might seem really helpful, but they usually get kickbacks for sending people like you to pricey tourist traps. If you want unbiased recommendations, ask the clerk at the front desk for suggestions instead.

Ask for Upgrades

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Try getting an accommodation upgrade by arriving at the hotel early in the day when rooms are being prepped. If your room isn't vacant yet, you might get an upgrade if you nicely suggest that the hotel might want to upgrade you to a bigger room free of charge. There's no harm in trying.

Book Off-Season

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Book your room during the off-season and you’ll save tons of money that you can use for something else during your vacation. If you book during peak season, the hotel rates will rocket sky-high and you’ll wish you’d stayed home.

Time Your Booking And Save

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Downtown hotels tend to draw tons of business travelers during the week. But these hotels may become more affordable on the weekends when travelers leave. However, B&Bs offer lower rates during the week because they usually target Saturday and Sundays to offer romantic weekend getaways for couples.

Book Early And Save

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Ever felt unsure about when to book your flight? What if you book your hotel and the prices go down? Well, if you book with the Service app, you’ll get a refund any time the price drops between when you booked and when you stayed. Plus, the Pruvo app will also alert you if it finds an affordable hotel alternative so you can cancel your original reservation.

Be Careful When Haggling

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When it comes to negotiations, watch out. You might think you got quite a deal over the phone. But if the hotel overbooks, then guess who’s going to lose their room? If you answered "me," then you guessed right. 

Offer a Review

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If you don’t find a great hotel deal ahead of time, try getting a deal on the spot. When negotiating the price upfront, mention you’re on TripAdvisor and that you’d like to write a review on the hotel. This often leads to a better room, an upgrade or even a free breakfast.

Ask for a Corner Room

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Tiny hotel rooms can make you feel claustrophobic. But you don’t have to ask directly for a bigger room. You can request a corner room instead, which is guaranteed to have a lot more space than a conventional room.

Email the Manager

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If you had a bad experience at the hotel during your last trip, email the general manager and tell them about it. They will likely offer you a better rate during your next visit. Once you’ve established a rapport, you can give him or her a buzz before your next trip and ask for a king-size bed with a good rate.

Search Incognito

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Open a hotel’s website on your browser. Then open a second incognito browser window and load the hotel you want to book. There’s a good chance you’ll find rates on the hotel’s foreign website that are far more affordable than the rates offered on the domestic site. 

Carry Cash

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If you’re ever in Vegas, you can get an upgrade quick and easy. You just need to provide a $20 tip at check-in. But make sure to cup the $20 under your hand when presenting it at the counter so you avoid getting someone in trouble.