Staying in a hotel can often be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation but it can be one of the most important choices. If you and your family don’t get proper sleep, then you may be grouchy the next day. Take a few minutes and plan out your lodging options and find ways to save some money. You may not be able to stay for free, but you can definitely shave a few bucks off the price of your room.
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Tips to Save on Lodging
Sometimes loyalty pays off. Find a hotel chain that you like and stick with them. We are regulars at the a chain of hotels and suites. Our family has outgrown a room with 2 beds, so we prefer to stay in a room with a pull out couch so we can spread out a bit. Since we have stayed at many of the hotels in the chain, we know what to expect and what to ask for.
If you have a smart phone, you can download an app for most of the major hotel chains that will let you make reservations, check in and earn perks for your stay.
Most hotel chains give you points for each stay. With each stay, you earn status or points. These points can be redeemed for free nights, free wi-fi, extended checkout or early check-in and other upgrades.
When you call to make a reservation, don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. If you have AAA, AARP or are a member of the military, make sure you ask for these discounts.
Stop at the Welcome Center when you cross into a new state so you can pick up the hotel coupon books. If you are traveling on a weekday, you will often find discounts at many national chain hotels. You can find some of those same deals online.
Eat Free Breakfast:
If your hotel offers complimentary breakfast, then take advantage of it! When we are out on vacation, we can save close to $25 by eating breakfast at the hotel. Not only does breakfast in the hotel save money, but it also can save time finding a fast food restaurant as well as offer a wide range of menu options that will satisfy each member of the family.
Talk to a Local Expert:
When we are heading to a new city and we don’t know much about the area, we contact the people who know the city the best. We call the local Visitors Center or Tourism office and ask for recommendations. This gives us the chance to stay in the hotels that are best suited for our traveling needs.
Stay with Friends or Family:
If you really want to save money, then think about where your extended family lives. Are they several hours away? Could you crash on their couch or use their guest room after exploring a new area? On a recent work trip, I was stranded in Chicago with no hotel, flight or rental car. There had been weather emergencies and everything was full. Thankfully I had contacts with a great coworker who was able to offer me her living room couch.
No matter where you stay or how you book your lodging, don’t forget to get a confirmation number. When you get to your hotel after a long day of travel, the last thing you need is a mix-up with your reservation.
How do you choose your hotels? Do you have a favorite chain of hotels that you and your family love to stay in? How do you save money and find the best deals for your reservations? I’d love to hear!
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