How I Vacation More By Saving Money On Hotels

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How I Vacation More By Saving Money On Hotels

We LOVE to travel!   There is nothing better than being set free from the confines of normal life and to begin an adventure on the road.   It’s then that life gets really interesting.   It’s no longer about any kind of material thing, but the experiences that you capture by seeing and doing new things together.

We have become pretty creative on how we fund these vacations and mini trips while we travel across the countryside.   From New York City, Orlando to California and beyond, we have found numerous tips and tricks along the way to save money on our hotels and accommodations so that we can take more vacations in the long run.

I think people think we have tons of money to burn on vacations because we are always taking multiple vacations a year, plus multiple long weekend trips to Chicago, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh and more.   It’s not that, it’s that we have just got some tricks up our sleeves!

Stay tuned for a couple to save some money on accommodations later on in this post.

Here are my tips.

Credit Card Rewards

I wrote a post not too long ago that talked about the Walt Disney World trip we took last year where the cost of the hotel was $0.   We stayed at Disney for free with our credit card rewards that we had saved up.   It was an amazing trip too!  They had an awesome pool, hot tub, bar, several restaurants on premise and it cost us nothing!   Take a look at our blog post to see how we did it.

Credit card companies are dying to give you credit and if you take them up on that offer, they are willing to give you lots and lots of points just for signing up.   In the offer I mention on the Disney trip, we got 87,500 Marriott points right out of the gate for signing up.   Amazing!  Then as you spend money on purchases that you would have made anyways, you earn more points to get free trips.

If you are careful with your credit spend and pay off your balance every month, then this is a great option to earn free vacations.

Just Ask for a Discount

I do this all the time now.   I never go stay anywhere without first asking for any discounts they could provide to us.   It’s surprisingly what you can get by just asking.      Depending on the occupancy of the hotels or places you are trying to stay at will determine how far they are willing to go to get you to stay with them.

This is particularly effective when booking on short notice and the location has a bunch of openings.

You can also browse their web site and look for last minute deals.   This is particularly effective on cruises.   For example, Carnival has over 100 ships out at sea.   Each one has thousands of cabins.   They will want to fill as many of those as possible so they offer really appealing last minute deals on their web site if you keep a close watch on the site.   You might even consider calling them directly on short notice.

Short Term Vacation Homes

So here is the coupon I was promising you!   Get $40 off your next stay at AirBnB.   It’s on me!   If you want a unique stay, one like no other, AirBnB might be your ticket.   The value on these stays can vary widely depending on where you are going and who is offering up their home to stay in.

However, your stay is certainly going to be unique.   Staying at AirBnb could be a great way to save some money because the rates that you get are generally less expensive that hotels and at times the accommodations are sometimes more specious that your standard hotel room.   Some of these places have multiple bedrooms, so you could always consider bringing other people along to help split the costs and save even more money.

Time of Year Saves Money

I watch prices on various vacation destinations on a fairly regular basis.   Consider it a hobby of mine for some crazy reason.   You will find that when people generally have more time on their hands generally, the prices go up.

For example, when the kids are in school the prices generally are going to be cheaper, because there are less people to fill the spots available.   So Disney is cheaper in the fall when the kids go back to school.  In fact, that’s usually when Disney offers up their free dining plan!  Cruising is less expensive in late fall because that’s when the hurricanes increase.   Trust me, you will not be hit by a hurricane.  We have gone on several during that time!

The beach is the most expensive during the summer (June, July and August) or spring break weeks.   If you are going to go on a beach trip, perhaps look at May when it’s still reasonably warm but the kids are not yet out of school, as an example.   We have been watching a few cruises for this summer and from May to June it’s about $1000 more expensive and from June to July it’s another $1000 more expensive.   So it pays to go during a off peak time.   It’s basic supply and demand.  When the supply is high, the price is low.

Hotel Loyalty Cards

This is especially useful if you travel a lot for work.    We have earned many free night stays through this means over the years.   If you frequent a particular brand of hotels, be sure to sign up for their loyalty card.  For each night stay, you earn a set of points.  When those points add up, they give you free hotel stays.  Simple as that!

In addition to getting a free night stay, when you have the loyalty card there are other benefits that you could get.   For example, we stayed at a full service Marriott hotel in Pittsburgh and it cost a whopping $99.   However, because we were Marriott loyalty card members they upgraded us for free to the club level where they had appetizers and drinks for free.    This hotel also included a made to order breakfast in the morning at no charge.   So for $99 we landed a family of 5 on the club level and had a made to order breakfast by a chef in the morning.

I felt like we made out in that deal!

Be sure to consider all costs in your travels

We recently went on a trip with our family this past fall for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.   We took them to New York City on an all expense paid family get away to celebrate.   We calculated our expenses pretty well, but still there are unforeseen expenses.   Just the taxi cab ride from the airport to the hotel ended up being $75, so keep in mind that if you go into a big city like New York there are some other expenses you will need to consider.

Here are some other items that you should keep in mind as they could add up:

  • Hotel Taxes, Resort Fees and Surcharges – Taxes can be higher for accommodations in certain areas.  I have seen some hotels in resort areas charge a resort fee as well.
  • Do you need internet connectivity?   Some hotels charge in upwards of $10 a day to access high speed internet.
  • Food while traveling – This is especially expensive in big cities or resorts like Walt Disney World.  Be sure to check into this ahead of time to make sure you have your budget aligned.
  • Cleaning Fees – If you stay in a condo there could be hidden cleaning fees that they are expecting you to pay as part of your trip.
  • Transportation – There is no use getting the cheaper hotel room if you end up paying higher fees in taxis and Ubers to get to your destinations each day.   For example, don’t stay in NJ to save money to then have to take a taxi to Manhattan each day.
  • Parking – Parking in a major city can be super expensive.   We stayed in Chicago last year for an extended weekend and the parking was $75 a night.

 

What are some ways you have found to save money to take more vacations?

 

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