Unless you’re very frugal, hotels make up a large part of your travel budget. And they also have a big impact on how much you enjoy your trip. If you’re like us, you really try to make the most of your time in a destination, which means that when you finally do make it back to your hotel, you want it to have everything you need — and be a comfortable haven.
But if you’re not made of money — and who is these days – it’s also important to get the most for your travel dollars. If you can find inexpensive hotels that suit your requirements, you can splurge on an expensive meal, buy yourself a nice souvenir, or stay an extra day or two.
It’s easy to find cheap hotels. But finding good ones is another matter. So here’s our advice for how to find hotels deals that won’t leave you regretting your choice.
1) Try a local website. It costs hotels – either directly or in the form of commissions – to appear on some websites. The large chains can negotiate the price and take it out of their marketing budgets. But most mom-and-pop properties can’t afford it. Remember, the more a hotel spends on marketing, the more they have to charge for their rooms.
Most destinations have local websites that include hotel listings. Try the local chamber of commerce, visitor’s bureau, or tourism board. The cost to advertise or be listed on these sites is very reasonable — in some cases, it’s free. So more hotels can afford to be represented.
2) Look for a directory. Doing a Google search for + directory will usually give you the results you’re looking for.
3) Don’t be put off if a hotel doesn’t have its own website. Although it’s great to be able to find out more about a place, there are plenty of terrific places out there that still don’t have a website. And plenty of awful ones that do.
4) If you’re going to Europe, try Venere.com. They list lots of bed and breakfasts, pensions, and smaller properties that aren’t listed by the bigger guys. Venere also has user reviews with the listing so you can see what others thought of the property.
5) As a rule, bed and breakfasts are less expensive than conventional hotels, so if you don’t need all the services a hotel offers, try one of the B&B sites. Breakfast is usually included in the room rate and you can often enjoy really nice accommodations for a lot less.
6) Once you find a hotel that’s the right price, make sure the location is right. Saving a little money won’t matter if you spend it all on transportation or if it takes you hours to get where you want to go.
7) Make sure that the accommodations are up to your standards. Read reviews on sites like Tripadvisor. Check the government star ratings and look online to see what they mean. Don’t assume that three stars means that it’s a good hotel. It may just mean that there are certain amenities like an elevator.
8) Finally, use your common sense. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s true — anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. So don’t book anything that’s ridiculously inexpensive. There’s bound to be a reason for that.
If you follow these simple tips, you should be able to find inexpensive hotels that are attractive, clean, and comfortable wherever you go.