Thanks to online booking systems and price comparison websites, cheap accommodation has become much, much easier to find in recent years.
Long gone are the days when you were required to trudge through the streets of a city when you first arrived bleary-eyed from an overnight journey, in search of the cheapest hostels or best deals on a hotel.
No longer do you have to search from hotel to hotel as you seek out the best deal going.
But now there are hundreds of booking sites and comparison programs to utilize to find cheap accommodation in advance. There are tips and tricks to use online, loyalty cards to give you discounts and points and many more ways to find cheap accommodation around the world.
To help you to save your hard-earned cash, here are our top tips for finding cheap accommodation!
11 Easy Tips on How to Find Cheap Accommodation
Travel Off Peak
One of the biggest rules when it comes to finding cheap accommodation is to always travel off-peak! Of course, your job or profession, or if you are traveling as a family, might restrict the dates that you can actually go on holiday, but where possible traveling off-peak will help you to save the most amount of money.
Hotels will slash their prices in the offseason, with rates plummeting outside of the peak season. While the weather might not be so good, there will be fewer people around, flights will be less expensive too, and you’ll be able to score the best deals on accommodation.
This is even more emphatic a way to save money if you are traveling to popular destinations such as Cancun in Mexico or Maui in Hawaii, to name just a few places. In tourist locales like this, prices can almost half once the summer high season is over and school holidays have ended.
Being flexible is the key to finding cheap accommodation because much like booking flights, hotels can offer different prices on different days of the weeks, and months throughout the year.
This isn’t just seasonal pricing, but it can come down to occupancy levels.
Hotels need to sell rooms, and if you find dates when the hotel isn’t so busy, you can score yourself a good deal, as they might slash prices to bring in customers. You never know exactly when this will be but if you’re flexible, it’s good to look at traveling on different dates if it’s going to be cheaper.
Online booking portals offer some of the best prices when it comes to booking hotels, and often, websites such as Agoda or Booking.com actually have better rates than booking through the hotel directly.
They offer good discounts, and if you book frequently with one supplier you can also earn rewards and further discounts too. Hotel booking sites also allow you to compare the prices of many different hotels in a city.
So if you are looking for cheap accommodation, you can simply search for the destination and then arrange the results in order of lowest-priced through to the highest-priced.
You can also filter your results too, to find the cheapest hotel available with a spa or swimming pool for instance. The only problem with using one hotel site though is that different booking portals offer different prices, but that’s where our next tip for finding cheap accommodation comes in handy!
Search Hotel Comparison Sites
One of the best things about the online world is the fact that you can now easily search for hotel comparison sites to find the best deals and prices at that moment.
Hotel comparison sites are incredibly useful, as rather than trawling through individual suppliers, such as Booking.com or Hostelworld, you can easily compare the prices across the board with a few clicks of the mouse.
You’ll be able to find deals that only a particular website might be offering, and then you can quickly book the accommodation there. We use hotel comparison sites A LOT when booking accommodation.
Last year we even had our own Hotel Search Engine built that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.
Contact Hotels Directly
While most of the time hotels offer their best rates to booking portals who then have the capacity to provide cut-price deals when they need to, it’s always worth checking directly with the hotel too.
Sometimes they might offer a deal directly to customers that you can’t find elsewhere, so it’s a good idea to be comprehensive in your searches in case this is the case.
With smaller, boutique or family-run hotels and accommodation, you might also do that if you speak to them directly, by sending an email or even a Facebook message, that they can offer you direct discounts.
Hotels have to pay accommodation websites such as booking.com a commission for every customer that books through the portal, so actually, small businesses with only a few rooms can give you a small discount and still make the same, if not more money on the cost of your nights stays.
Another great place to find cheap accommodation is Airbnb, a famous website that offers listings of local houses and apartments. Airbnb revolutionized the hotel booking industry, opening up new experiences and stays for tourists across the world.
You can find more unique styles of accommodation on Airbnb and you can also find exceptionally good deals on local apartments. Bear in mind though, that Airbnb does charge extra fees and cleaning charges which aren’t always apparent when you are first searching.
Sometimes an Airbnb can cost more than a traditional hotel room. So you really have to do your research across all options before settling on an Airbnb. That said, they can also be much cheaper.
Increasingly, accommodation owners are also able to list their apartments on booking websites such as Agoda and Booking.com where the fees for booking aren’t as steep as Airbnb.
If you’re ready to try Airbnb on your next trip, we would like to offer you up to $40 off your stay with our exclusive coupon code.
Learn to Love Hostels
Of course, one of the absolute cheapest ways to travel is to book into hostels. Although hostels might have a reputation for being party places or just backpacker haunts, hostels are actually becoming increasingly more niche and boutique.
As well as being sociable places to stay if you are doing some solo travel, many hostels also offer tours and services that traditional hotels just don’t, and at great prices too.
Some hostels can also be more homely, offering great value through the fact you can also cook in the kitchen or just sit back and watch tv in the common area. Many hostels also offer private rooms, or smaller dormitories, giving you more space and privacy during your stay.
With hostels though, the cheapest might not be the best, and sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra to get a hostel in a nicer location or with added amenities, even if it’s just a few extra showers or bathrooms, or more cooking space.
You’ll also want to make sure that the hostel has lockers, and of course, check the recent reviews to get an idea of the clientele and the atmosphere.
The ultimate way to find cheap accommodation is to Couch-surf. This is because it will cost you nothing at all. Couch-surfing is a website that allows travelers to meet hosts who then provide accommodation in cities.
It’s a great way to meet locals and often you’ll find the hosts will show you around their hometown too.
The website allows you to check reviews and get a feel for who you are staying with, and while many might not like the idea of staying with a Stranger, it is, in fact, a good way to have more authentic, local travel experiences.
Utilize Reward Programs
Many hotels, especially the international, chain companies such as IHG or similar, offer their frequent customer reward programs. In much the same way as ardent travelers collect frequent flyer points with their favorite airlines, the same thing happens in the world of hotel bookings too.
Collecting points has been turned into a science by many and there are plenty of websites and blogs that will teach you how to travel hack into the hotel points game.
We use hotel reward programs regularly to score deep discounts, last-minute booking deals, direct booking discounts and loyalty perks.
Look for Groupon Deals
Many hotels also offer excellent cheap accommodation deals to websites such as Groupon, where you essentially purchase a discounted voucher to then redeem directly with the service provider.
Groupons are usually only valid in the off-season, and often they have very restitution dates, so make sure you read the small print before booking, as of course, they are nonrefundable too!
Despite this inflexibility, you can score excellent deals with Groupons and they are a great way to find incredible discounts on ordinarily expensive rooms.
Try Last Minute Booking Platforms
An intriguing place to find super cheap deals online are websites like Secret Escapes, or similar. These booking platforms offer last-minute deals or hidden deals, where essentially, you don’t know the exact name or location of the hotel you are going to be actually staying at.
You are given some information such as the town or city of course, and you know the standard of the accommodation, such as whether it’s four or five stars.
It’s a bit risky of course, but if you’re looking for an exciting trip and heavily discounted prices on quality accommodation then it can be an excellent option to try.
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