With increasing prices for airfare and attractions, family vacations are even more expensive. While deals can still be found, it’s definitely more challenging to discover them. We asked travel experts to let us in on their top secrets for getting great hotel room deals and added them to a few of our own. Have a tip that isn’t listed here? Leave a comment!
Use Priceline or Hotwire.com for either an individual hotel room or a vacation package. Click here for more tips on how to best use Priceline.
For last minute deals in major cities, check the HotelTonight app.
Remember to reference all groups and affiliations when making reservations – e.g., AARP and AAA
Last Minute Travel Club is a great option for discounted hotel rooms – Search online for a code for free membership.
I suggest for anyone looking into vacationing in the Orlando area to take look at package pricing. Many ticket vendors will sell their tickets far below normal inside of packages. The end result is usually an overall better price than trying to buy the hotel and tickets separate. — From Michael at ExploreTheMagic.com.
One technique we used to reduce costs was coupon cutting. Believe it or not, there are coupons for hotels! Families can find these coupons in booklets at welcome centers, rest areas, gas stations and more. These coupon booklets can get you an affordable stay in nice hotel chains such as Best Western, Comfort Suites, and more. Some savings can be as much as $50! – From K. S. Brooks
Compare across sites. Sometimes Expedia may show a hotel with no availability but Booking.com may still have a deal on it. It’s worth spending the time on the research. – Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan Founder and CEO of Momaboard.com
Book early. If you have school-aged children and are tied to term schedules, try to plan and book early to avoid having to pay last-minute peak prices. – Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan Founder and CEO of Momaboard.com
The best way to get a hotel rate is to plan ahead and use a travel agent. With a plethora of internet sites to review and compare, it can be difficult and overwhelming to know if you’re getting a good rate, especially if you are crunched for time. Consumers can easily spend hours navigating thru sites, reading the ratings and comparing the amenities. To get the best value, rely on a travel agent who has the experience and education in the industry. Let them do the job for you so you can rest assured everything is taken care of and you’ll have someone on your side if something goes wrong. – Chelsey Washington, Be Traveled
Each hotel brand has their own set of co-branded credit cards that award hotel points after spending on the credit cards, many for no annual fee. After you get the hotel points you can then use them to book free rooms at the hotels. Some credit cards even give free weekend nights when you have the card, along with elite status that can get you free upgrades and additional perks. – From Kevin Barry, http://www.FrugalMouse.com
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Call the hotel directly to find out if a better rate is available: the reservation agent may be able to work on a better deal for a multi-night package, perhaps throw in a few free add ons like complimentary Wifi or parking. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you are considering an alternative hotel that’s offering more value or a better rate. – From Andrea Woroch, www.AndreaWoroch.com.
Use discounted hotel gift cards. Sites like GiftCardGranny.com sell other people’s unwanted gift cards at a discount and you can score such discount gift cards for hotels like up to 8% off Hyatt Hotel gift cards and up to 27% off gift cards to BedandBreakfast.com Beyond hotels, it’s a great resource for savings on all your travel needs, from airfare to dining and entertainment. I recently scored 25% off a gift card to Fandango and 5% off Southwest Airline gift cards which saved me $80 for two round trip flights to Florida from California. You can set up gift card alerts to receive notifications via email as soon as a gift card to a preferred merchant becomes available. – From Andrea Woroch, www.AndreaWoroch.com.
I’ve found that the easiest way to get a discount is to simply ask for it. This works especially well on road trips. Any time we stop at a hotel along the way, I ask if they have a special rate or discount. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t get at least a small discount! I think the key is to be there, credit card in hand, but it doesn’t hurt to call the reservations line and directly ask for a discount, either. You never know until you try! – From Jessica Merritt, KatyBabies.com
Most hotel chains, and even online booking sites, offer a “best rate guarantee”. Find a lower rate on a competitor site and the hotel you originally booked with will match the price plus give a bonus. With Marriott you can get a 25% discount after submitting a valid best rate guarantee, Movenpick gives 50% and Hyatt 20%. But a few hotels like IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) and Choice Hotels give free nights as part of this guarantee. Using best rate guarantees we’ve stayed at 5 star hotels like the InterContinental San Juan, InterContinental Vienna and more, completely for free. Here is a master list of best rate guarantees along with some tips. – From Drew Macomber, travelisfree.com
See more tips for family travel deals here.