If you’re traveling, where you lay your head during the night could eat up a big chunk of the budget. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of ways to find secure, affordable and cozy places to stay.
We find that traveling with children isn’t always going for the cheapest options – we want to get the best value for dollars. We’re not as down for roughing it as we used be, but we still want to save some dough.
What you do and where you decide to stay depends on a number of factors like:
- Your budget
- Your destination
- Your travel style and level of comfort
- How big is your crew
- Your interests
Remember that getting a 15% discount on an accommodation you don’t want isn’t as good as paying full price for a place you do. Our goal is to make it easier for you to save money on lodging and to get a place you’re happy with.
As a family, we’ve switched around our accommodations over the years. For longer trips, we prefer apartments because they have kitchens, separate bedrooms , and laundry facilities. Additionally, we can share the cost of our trip with our friends or families. For shorter stays, we’re happy to stay in hotels or family-friendly hostels.
If you’re planning to take an extended trip across the world, try taking a longer trip to places that will make your money go further and lower your standards in more expensive countries.
Here are 18 tips for scoring great lodging deals:
Location, location, location!
It’s not logical to pick a budget hotel in a location that is miles from everything and you have to shell out more money for transportation. Consider hotels located in central areas that are close to public transportation, airports and other things to do like restaurants, the beach and parks.
Stay more than one night
Many places offer better deals if you stay for more than two nights. In some cases, you can stay four nights and only pay for three nights.
Go to your hotel Sunday morning
Hotels are less crowded on Sundays so you may be able to get a bargain. Plus, if you stay on a Sunday, you’ll be able to avoid the check-in and check-out crowds on Fridays and Mondays.
Your weekdays can be your best friend
In certain cities, such as Las Vegas, hotels are less expensive on weekdays than weekends. So, avoid tourist crowds, and also save money by going during the week.
Off-season is when the best season is
It’s not a surprise that hotels are more affordable in the off-season. If you’re able to travel during shoulder seasons (between peak and off-peak) it is possible to reduce costs while avoiding crowds and have decent weather.
Compare the prices of different booking sites
Do not book on the first site you discover. Compare rates across multiple sites to ensure that you’re getting the best price.
Join loyalty programs and sign up
A lot of vacation rental and hotels have loyalty programs through which members earn rewards and discounts on future stays.
Make reservations early or at the last minute
Sometimes, making reservations earlier can offer a better price, while other times waiting to the end of the day could get you a discount.
Do not be afraid to bargain
When you book directly with a hotel or vacation rental, don’t be scared to request more value or amenities. You never know, they might even say yes!
Look for vacation rental deals
Rentals for vacation, such as apartments or homes, can be an ideal option for families or groups. They can be cheaper than booking multiple hotel rooms.
Take advantage of credit card rewards
If you own a credit card that has travel rewards, make use of the rewards for lodging and save money.
Check for hidden fees
Certain booking sites or hotels may charge extra for things like resort or cleaning charges, so be sure to check the fine print prior to booking.
Find discounts or promotions
Many hotels and vacation rentals offer promotions or discounts on items such as military personnel, students, or AAA members.
Check for hidden gems
Sometimes, the best deals can be found in smaller hotel chains, or in vacation rentals that aren’t as well-known.
Make sure you find pet-friendly accommodations
If you’re planning to travel with your pet, look for pet-friendly options. Some places provide special discounts or deals for guests with pets.
Utilize social media
Many hotels and vacation rentals offer discounts or special offers which they promote via social media. So be sure to be following them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Consider a home-sitting arrangement or house-swapping
Housesitting or home swapping is the process of swapping houses with someone else, allowing you to reside in their house while they reside in yours. This can be a great way to save money on lodging while also having your own space.
Consider renting a campervan or RV
If you’re traveling as a group or family hiring a campervan, or RV could be the best option to save on lodging. Additionally, you’ll be able to travel around the world and have your own transportation all in one!
Use a travel agent
Travel agents often have access to discounts and offers which aren’t accessible to the general public. Additionally, they are able to do the research and comparison shopping for you.
Book a package deal
Booking a flight, hotel, and rental car together in a bundle deal can occasionally save money on each of the components.
Search for hostels
Hostels are an affordable alternative for solo travelers as well as groups. With the popularity of hostels that are boutique, you can often find safe, comfortable, and secure options.
Explore home-sharing platforms
Home-sharing services like Airbnb and Vrbo can offer more affordable and exclusive accommodation options such as staying in a private room in a home owned by a local or renting a house for a large gathering.
As a bonus here are some tips to find cheap luggage:
Shop at discount retailers
Discount retailers like T.J. Maxx, Ross and Marshalls typically have a variety of luggage at discounted prices. Make sure to check these stores out before purchasing from a traditional department store.
Look for off-season sales
Just like with accommodation, you can often find good deals on luggage during the seasonal sales or the off-season. This is especially true for outdoor and travel gear stores.
Buy used or refurbished
You should consider purchasing used or recycled luggage. It’s a great option to save money on the top brands, and you might be able to locate gently used luggage that is in perfect quality. Websites such as Amazon and Ebay offer a variety of options, and also local classifieds and garage sales.
In conclusion, finding cheap accommodations and cheap luggage does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice security and comfort. With a little bit of research and creativity, you can find an ideal place to stay within your budget as well as amazing deals in luggage to take on your next travels. By looking at prices and signing up for loyalty programs, making bookings in advance or last-minute, taking advantage of promotions and discounts, as well as trying alternative options like rental homes and home sharing platforms to stretch your budget further and enjoy your trip to the highest degree.