Summer might be almost over, but there’s still time to get in those last minute vacations, especially with Labor Day just around the corner. Part I of this travel series focuses on finding that perfect place to stay. Make sure you check back next week for Part II.
So, you’ve figured out where you want to go, but now you have to figure out where to stay. The place you call home during your trip can make or break your vacation, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into when it comes to the roof over your head. Here are 5 tips to ensuring a great experience for a great price.
1) Do your homework.
Once you know where you’d like to go, I recommend doing some research to figure out what part of town you want to stay in. Do you want to be close to the beach, close to (or far away from!) the party areas, in the city or in the country, etc? Once you’ve narrowed it down, visit a site like Hotels.com and enter your preferred area to view available options. Sites like Hotels.com often offer special deals and are a great place to start shopping around for the best price.
2) Be adventurous.
Sometimes hotels aren’t the best way to go. If you’re willing to be a little adventurous, you can often save a ton of money by renting a private home/condo/villa. Sites like airbnb.com and homeaway.com are great sources for private rentals – I’ve personally rented from these sites several times with great results, saving up to 50% off traditional hotel prices. Our latest adventure featured the photo in this post….a villa hanging over a coral reef in a tropical rainforest (only accessed by a 4-wheel drive path). Who cares there were no locks on the doors and we slept with knives next to our bed just in case? We would have missed those amazing views and memories (and our own private beach!) if we had stayed in a hotel.
3) Go free.
If you have a favorite hotel brand, make sure you join the rewards program and rack up those points! Many hotel brands like Marriott also offer a credit card with a huge bonus for making that first purchase – often giving you enough points for 1-2 free nights. I’m not loyal to a specific brand, so I always use Hotels.com to book my hotel stays. For every 10 nights, you get 1 night free. Save up those nights and go on vacation for free!
4) Call direct.
Narrowed it down to a few hotels but the price isn’t right? Don’t be afraid to call/email the hotel directly. I’ve done this numerous times, given them my budget and found myself in some swanky hotels for the price of the Holiday Inn down the road. Does a $300 room for $120 sound good? This is often how I’ve made it happen.
5) Check the referrals.
Never trust the marketing photos. Never. Ever. Once you find the perfect place, visit TripAdvisor and Travelocity to view photos and reviews from previous visitors. I just saved you from that moldy shower or bug-infested room. You’re welcome.