There are so many things to think about when planning a trip, such as food, transportation, and accommodation, but one of the things you’ll probably be wondering is how to get cheap hotels.
Never fear- our guide on how to get a hotel cheap is here to help you! Knowing the cheapest way to book a hotel will help you save on your next trip and travel on a budget.
You probably already know how easy it can be to find cheap flights and affordable rental cars, but it’s also totally possible to find ways to get a cheap hotel. In the following article, we’ll share the keys to booking hotels for cheap and the best hotel booking sites.
Below are our top 20 tips to help you find the best hotel deals. Let’s dive into them!
1. Check out the cheapest hotel booking sites
There are plenty of websites where you can find affordable hotel deals, but the best way to book hotels cheap is to compare several websites and/or apps to find the best deal.
My favorite way to book the cheapest hotels is Booking.com. Their website is super straightforward and easy to use. All you need to do is put in your travel destination and the dates of your trip; you’ll get a long list of available accommodation that you can sort using various filters, such as by price, rating, and reservation policy. The best part of using Booking.com is that if you use the site enough, you’ll become a “Genius” and get even better discounts. We definitely consider Booking.com the best hotel booking site.
Of course, there are other great options to book cheap hotels that we have used, too, such as Hotels.com and Agoda.com. The cheapest hotel booking site for you might depend on your destination, the length of your trip, or a host of other factors. Do your research and compare prices among different hotel booking sites so that you can find the best deals on hotels.
2. Be flexible on dates to get the cheapest hotels
The more flexible you are with the dates of your trip, the more likely you are to get a hotel cheap.
If you travel during peak tourist season or on the weekends, hotel prices will be much more expensive. Additionally, if you travel to a destination when they’re celebrating a festival, major holiday, or big event, hotel prices will definitely be higher; they tend to skyrocket around the time of major events because demand for accommodation is so high.
For example, Edinburgh’s world-famous Festival Fringe, a comedy, arts, and theater festival, takes place during most of the month of August. Because the event draws in hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, accommodation fills up quickly, and hotel and Airbnb prices are double or even triple what they normally are. If you want to book a cheap hotel, avoid Edinburgh and other destinations during their festival seasons.
Days of the week can even affect prices. Sunday night is usually the cheapest night of the week to book a hotel, while Friday night is generally the most expensive.
The weather might also influence hotel prices, so keep that in mind. For instance, in Japan, the rainy season (June) and hot season (August) are cheaper than the famous cherry blossom season (spring).
If you need some help choosing the best dates to book a cheap hotel, some websites, such as Booking.com, can even suggest dates to you.
3. Stay in an Airbnb, an easy way to find cheap accommodation
The cheapest way to book a hotel or get a hotel room for cheap may not involve a hotel at all. Airbnb is a great affordable option, especially if you want to get to know the locals. It’s also perfect if you like the feeling of having a home away from home.
We’ve had both good and bad experiences using Airbnb, but our good experiences have far outweighed our bad ones. You can check here our ultimate guide to Airbnb.
Even better, if you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, we can give you $50 towards your first reservation when you sign up.
4. Stay outside of the downtown area and save money on hotels on your next vacation
The center of a city is usually the most expensive place to stay since it’s generally where the majority of attractions, restaurants, shops, and nightlife are located.
Your best option to book a cheap hotel is looking in the outskirts and surrounding areas of a city. Generally, hotels near the airport or in the suburbs tend to be more affordable.
We recommend choosing hotels in areas that are further out, especially if there are good transport links to the city center because these hotels will not only be cheaper but also quieter. You can save a lot of money on hotels by simply avoiding accommodation in the city center.
5. How far in advance should I book a hotel for the best price?
As many people know, booking in advance can be a useful way to get the cheapest hotel rates. It can help you find the best prices and save you a lot of money.
If you want to plan a trip early and get your hotel cheap, here’s when the experts recommend booking:
- Europe: Book 4-6 months in advance so you can save up to 25% on hotel prices.
- USA: Book up to 2 months ahead of time so you can save up to 10% off.
- Asia: Book 5-7 months in advance so you save up to 25% off. If you look at accommodation two weeks before your trip, you may also be able to find good deals then.
- South America: Book a few weeks before your trip and you could still save up to 20% off.
- Central America: Book 3 months in advance or more so you save up to 10% off.
- Africa: Booking 5 months in advance will mean a price drop of up to 20%. Also, like Asia, if you look two weeks before your trip, you may find some good deals.
- Oceania: Booking 5 months ahead of time will save you 20% or more on hotels.
- Caribbean: If you book 5 months in advance, you can save up to 10% off.
- Middle East: Book 6 months in advance and save up to 25% on your hotel.
As you can see, if you want to get cheaper hotels, make sure you book ahead of time!
6. Look for last-minute deals to get a cheap hotel room
Sometimes you just don’t have the chance to book your hotel ahead of time. Don’t worry- you can still get a hotel for cheap with a last-minute hotel deal.
On hoteltonight.com, there are deals on hotels for this very evening. You can get these amazing deals because the hotels post empty rooms that haven’t been sold yet. They then make the rooms cheaper to ensure that they aren’t left empty that night.
Take advantage of this really useful website and get yourself a fabulous hotel room for cheap! This is one of the best ways to find cheap hotel rates at the last minute.
7. Avoid sneaky hotel fees on your next vacation
One of the most important ways to get discount hotels is by avoiding those hidden extra hotel fees.
Sometimes, your hotel rate might actually include an extra cost or make you pay extra for a necessity. For example, at a hotel in Norway, they made us pay for sheets and towels. These extras can add up quickly, turning a supposedly cheap offer into quite an expensive one.
One of the best ways to get a hotel cheap is to make sure that necessities, such as sheets, towels, blankets, etc., are already included in your hotel rate. Make sure you read all the fine print and the information on the room when you book your hotel so that you can get cheap hotel rates.
8. Book well in advance to secure cheap rates on hotels with free cancellation
Want to know how to get the cheapest hotels? Just book accommodation with a free cancellation option so you can hold onto your deal and cancel later if you find a cheaper one. This option is perfect for making sure you can research and find the best hotel deal possible. After all, you can always cancel your reservation and book a cheaper hotel without losing any money.
Booking.com normally offers this option, so that can be a great way to book hotels cheap.
However, if you want to secure the best hotel rates, you’ll need to book well in advance, so make sure you don’t wait until the last minute.
9. Book longer stays to get discount hotels
Long-term stays are among the best ways to get a hotel room for cheap. It may seem counterintuitive, but many hotels offer a discount if you stay for a week or more, as opposed to 2-5 days.
If you’re going to be in a country or city for an extended period of time, we recommend staying in the same hotel for the duration of your stay so that you can enjoy this type of discount.
For instance, Airbnb.com offers lots of great long-stay discounts, so using them can help you book a hotel cheaper.
10. Become a house sitter and get free accommodation
Sometimes the best way to get a cheap hotel room or, rather, room is by getting a little creative.
Trustedhousesitters.com gives you the opportunity to get free accommodation in exchange for taking care of the owner’s pets. This is definitely one of the cheapest ways to travel; it’s also perfect if you love animals.
Although I personally wouldn’t leave my pets with a stranger, this is certainly an economical way to travel because you’ll save completely on accommodation. Plus, you might even make a furry friend or two!
11. Book hotel + airfare together on one of the best holiday package sites
Booking a holiday package might help you get deals on hotels. Many websites offer a hotel and airfare package, which can sometimes be cheaper than booking both elements separately.
Do be careful, though; a holiday package may not always be your cheapest bet. Plus, if you need to change your hotel/flight, it can be very expensive.
My best advice is to compare the prices of hotels and flights separately and then compare those prices to the holiday packages to find the best option for you.
12. Couchsurfing, stay in hospitality exchanges for free
If you’re looking for a great way to meet new people and get a hotel deal, look no further than couchsurfing.
The Couchsurfing website allows you to see profiles of the hosts in the city you’ll be visiting and then send requests to the ones you’re interested in staying with. If one of them accepts your request, you’ve got a place to stay!
People have all sorts of opinions on couchsurfing. Some people love it, while others haven’t had such great experiences.
We must admit that we haven’t done it ourselves, although we have tried; since we’re a couple, we’ve never found anyone who wants to have two people stay with them unless it’s two girls. Anyway, we’ll keep trying, because it’s something I would like to try at least once in a lifetime.
13. Don’t waste your time checking rates on Hotels’ own websites
If you want to get cheap rates on hotels, don’t lose your time by looking for deals on hotels’ own websites.
One of the conditions to get your hotel in sites for booking cheap hotels, such as Booking.com or Agoda, is that the hotel owners can’t give a lower price on their own websites, so I recommend making reservations directly on Booking.com or a similar website because they have the best offers.
14. Sign up for savings on the best hotel booking sites
In order to get hotel discounts, I always recommend using the same website to book your accommodations. Pick the best website for booking hotels for you and make an account with them so you can take advantage of their deals to get a hotel for cheap.
For instance, as we’ve mentioned above, once you’ve made multiple reservations with Booking.com, they’ll give you “Genius” status and grant you access to better hotel deals. With Hotels.com, once you’ve collected 10 nights, you get 1 reward night for free. Agoda.com gives members-only prices once you’ve created an account with them too.
If you want to get cheaper hotels, make sure you don’t forget to create an account with the hotel booking website you use. You’ll lose out on lots of rewards and saving money if you use websites without creating an account first.
15. Take advantage of loyalty reward programs and get cheap hotels
A fantastic way to get hotel rooms cheaper is to sign up for a hotel chain’s loyalty rewards program, especially if you often find yourself staying in the same kind of hotel.
Many hotel chains have loyalty cards that you can use to accumulate points, discounts, and offers. I hadn’t used them before I moved to the US, but they’re very popular in this and other countries.
A few of the most popular loyalty programs to get hotel discounts are Marriott Rewards (this is the one I use for business trips), Best Western Rewards, and IHG Rewards (which includes the Holiday Inn). With Marriott Rewards, you earn points that you can then redeem for free stays and get special members’ rates. Best Western Rewards allows you to save 10% or more on hotel rates, as well as collect points to earn free stays. IHG Rewards works much the same, where you earn points to get free stays, but also includes free Internet in all their hotels. These hotel rewards programs can be a great way to make sure you get deals on hotels.
16. Sign up for a hotel rewards credit card and find the best hotel deals
One of the cheapest ways to book hotels is by signing up for a travel credit card that will give you points you can use toward hotels. Some credit cards give you more points when you use the card for travel-related expenses (hotels, flights, etc.) and then allow you to put those points toward future flights and hotels.
The two travel credit cards we know of are the Capital One Venture Rewards card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Both they’re a good way to accumulate points for travel.
With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar and 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within three months of opening your account. One of the best parts about this card is that your miles don’t expire and there are no blackout dates for using them. You can fly any airline and stay in any hotel using the miles you’ve earned.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is another fantastic travel credit card. You earn 2x points on travel and dining expenses and get 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account (that’s $750 in travel credit). Plus, you can get 25% more value for your points if you use them toward flights, hotels, car rentals, and more, so you can use those points to get cheap hotel rooms.
17. Use air/rewards miles to get free hotels
A useful way to get a hotel for cheap is by using your airline/rewards miles. Most airlines and their rewards programs convert miles into dollars that can then be used toward hotel reservations. This benefit is especially helpful if you take lots of long flights.
For example, AAdvantage miles (from American Airline) can be accumulated by flying with any associated partners, including Iberia and British Airways, staying in partner hotels, and renting cars from partner companies. Those points that you earn can then be used toward flights or hotel stays.
It just goes to show that you can book a hotel cheaper just by taking a flight or renting a car!
18. Buy someone else’s reservation and book the cheapest hotels
It may sound crazy, but you can get cheap hotels by purchasing someone else’s reservation.
RoomerTravel.com allows you to connect with fellow travelers who have unwanted hotel reservations. Maybe they aren’t traveling to a destination anymore, or maybe they were just unable to cancel their reservation. Either way, these travelers can sell and transfer you their unwanted reservation for a discounted price. You might be able to get discounts on hotels of up to 74%, saving you lots of money.
19. Get discounted gift cards to book hotels for cheap
If you’re really invested in getting discounts on hotels, you can even buy cheap gift cards and then use them to book the cheapest hotel.
GiftCardGranny.com is a website that allows you to buy gift cards at a discounted price. Some of the gift cards you can find on the site can be used towards hotels, such as ones for Airbnb.com, Hotels.com, Holiday Inn and others.
20. Exchange homes and find the cheapest hotel rate
Exchanging homes is another great way to get a hotel discount.
A house exchange is when another person or family comes to live in your house or apartment, while you go and live in theirs. It’s the perfect way to save money and have a “home away from home” experience. The only downside is that both owners have to match dates.
However, in HomeExchange.com, and with a very simple point system, you can travel on any date, as long as you have also offered your house to other travelers previously.
Accommodation can be one of the most expensive parts of a trip, so saving money there allows you to put your money towards what you really want to do on your trip, like eating out at an amazing restaurant, getting an adrenaline rush from a new and exciting sport, or visiting monuments and museums to your heart’s content. Hopefully, these tips allow you to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to booking your next hotel room.
That’s it from us for our guide on how to get cheap hotels! We hope you enjoy these tips and are able to use them to get cheaper hotel rooms. Besides, you can check our 30 best tips for planning cheap trips. If our tips work for you, let us know in the comments down below!