The best time to score vacation deals is not during typical vacation season during the summer months. It’s actually during the winter so long as it’s not a holiday.
When you’re planning on playing tourist in your local area, you may not even consider the idea of booking a hotel for an overnight stay when you can plan day trips to cut costs. However, if you’re traveling to your nearest city, looking for an overnight getaway, or truly want to get several days out a certain experience that’s on your bucket list, it may be more beneficial to book a room at a local hotel.
Plus, it doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as if you were on a distant vacation. Check out these 5 key tips for finding affordable local hotels.
1. Use Price Comparison Sites
The best place to start searching for hotel discounts is online. You can save time by using price comparison sites like Kayak and Trivago. What I love about these sites is that they not along allow you to price shop, but you can compare reviews and recommendations from people who have stayed at the hotel before so you’ll know if there are any red flags.
2. Use Deal Sites
Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial can also help you book an affordable local hotel stay. These are great sites to use for deals on local resorts and waterparks. Groupon has a getaways section on the site for domestic and international travel. You can type in the location and see deals instantly pop up. Make sure you read the fine print on the deal fully since you may only be able to book your stay at the discounted rate on specific days.
3. Consider Tourist Packages
Next, consider utilizing tourist packages to save money on your stay. Once you narrow down your hotel options, visit each website and see which offers and packages are available. There might be a couple’s or family package you can take advantage of. Or the hotel, might offer a discount on local attractions that you can use as a result of one of their partnerships. This may be even more common during colder months when admission rates usually dip for certain attractions.
If all else fails, choose a hotel that includes a lot of amenities and features so you can get more bang for your buck. For example, most Holiday Inn hotels allow kids to stay and eat for free. Breakfast may be included or you may be able to add it on for a small fee. You also might be able to get free Wi-Fi and cable and access to the pool, business center, and on-site gym. It also can’t hurt to pack affordable healthy snacks for the road trip or just to keep in the hotel.
4. Book With Reward Points or Join a Loyalty Program
If you have credit card reward points or cash back rewards, consider cashing them in to save money on your hotel stay. Keep in mind that you don’t need travel cards to do this.
Some regular Visa and Mastercard cards allow you to earn reward points that can be redeemed for travel expenses like flights and hotel stays. If you have enough points, you may be able to score one or two free nights.
Also, realize that even $20 – $30 cash back could make a difference by taking care of your taxes and daily fees.
5. Look For Last Minute Deals
Keeping flexible dates will allow you to take advantage of last-minute deals and sales. For example, if you know which places you want to go and the specific activities you want to check off your bucket list, you can keep track of the best dates to have open then find the best hotel deal depending on that flexible availability.
Hotels.com scours the internet to find the best last-minute hotel deals.
The Bottom Line
Booking a local hotel may sound like an unnecessary luxury, but it can be done affordably and help enhance your experience of exploring your own backyard or a nearby city. Use these 5 tips when book your next local hotel stay during the winter.