Hotel accommodation isn’t cheap regardless of the travel season. So when you time your hotel stay during a major holiday like Christmas, you’re setting yourself up for a financial disaster. That’s why travel experts stress the importance of avoiding the holidays and scheduling your trip when nobody’s travelling.
But what if the only time you’re free to travel falls on a major holiday? Or planning to visit a loved one for Thanksgiving? Or what if it has been your biggest dream to celebrate Christmas and New Year outside of the country? The good news is with thoughtful planning, flexibility, and patience, it’s still possible to trim down the cost of your accommodation.
In this article, we list down 7 hacks to save money on accommodation amidst the peak travel season.
try it – Holiday Planners – Travel & Tour HTML5
1. Plan your trip early
The clock is ticking — have you already booked your hotel for your Christmas vacation? Forget the travel hack about last-minute deals — these high-risk-high-reward deals are like unicorns during the peak season. Instead, book your hotel months in advance to get better accommodation options at affordable rates.
Check the prices as early as now. Remember that hotel prices climb quickly in the months leading up to Thanksgiving, the December holidays, and New Year. The prices keep on exhilarating as slots become scarcer.
2. Compare different accommodation properties across different websites and platforms
Even if you’re travelling last minute, make sure to find time to compare your hotel options. Travel and hotel websites may have different prices, and it never hurts to check and compare. Don’t limit your search to hotels — look for Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, apartelles, business hotels, hostels, vacation houses, and other affordable hotel alternatives.
Next, compare across multiple devices, as the prices on mobile (browser or app) might be cheaper than the prices found on the desktop.
One travel expert-approved hack is to browse on aggregate websites (like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc), but book directly on the hotel websites. By doing so, you can tap into exclusive deals your chosen hotel reserves for direct bookers. You can score a room with a view, late check-out, free meals, and other attractive deals that’ll give more value for your money.
3. Consider alternate locations near your target destination
Staying in the heart of a capital city during a high travel season is one surefire way to burn your wallet. If you want to save big bucks, being flexible with your location is key.
Instead of staying in city centre hotels, opt for accommodation options in nearby neighbourhoods or towns. Just make sure your chosen accommodation has accessible transportation options and is just a short ride from the main hotspots.
If you’re visiting Dublin, for instance, finding a hotel in Dun Laoghaire might be the best option. The suburban coastal town is just a 16-minute train ride from Dublin city centre yet there’s a significant difference in hotel rates.
4. Visit hidden gems and free attractions
Likewise, picking less popular spots nearby allows you to avoid some of the crowds during the high season. Plus, you’ll get to experience authentic local culture, cuisine, and history when you go off the beaten path.
Discover the small towns and cities. Follow the local crowd and dine in places where locals go to. Spend more time in free attractions like museums, galleries, parks, and gardens.
5. Travel during off-peak days and hours
Travelling during a major holiday season like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year? It’s still possible to keep the costs down by having a flexible schedule and picking a less busy time to travel.
Skip weekends and book your hotel stay during the midweek. Aside from having a bigger chance to score cheaper rates, staying off-peak also lets you enjoy fewer crowds. Just think about avoiding long queues and crowded attractions, making sightseeing more enjoyable.
6. Extended stay? Find a space equipped with a kitchen
We can all agree that food is one of the leading reasons why we go over our budget during vacations. Just imagine how expensive it would be if you eat out three times a day for the entire duration of your trip.
If you’re planning a long-term stay, finding accommodation where you can cook your own meals works wonders. These include serviced and self-catering apartments, vacation houses, and even hostels that provide in-room or shared kitchen space. Check your accommodation for nearby groceries or mini-marts too.
7. Book hotels with amenities you actually need
Do you really need a swimming pool when you’re visiting a destination with gorgeous beaches? Or a hotel with a kitchenette, when you’re only staying overnight? The last thing you want is to pay for an expensive hotel with amenities you can’t even use (but can’t offset from the rate).
When looking for budget-friendly accommodation, pay attention to its inclusions and be realistic about your needs. Make every cent count.
8. Get on the same page with your travel buddies
Are you travelling with your spouse and/or kids? One frugal family member isn’t enough to keep the costs down — everyone should be on the same page during your vacation. Nothing good comes from a member of your party dreaming of luxurious hotels and fine dining while you’re eyeing the best hostels and street food.
Create a realistic budget with some wiggle room. From this, you can plan what to do, where to dine, and how to explore. Sure, having a pre-trip chat about your travel budget isn’t fun but it’s essential to have similar expectations when travelling.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a free-spirited writer who hates being locked up at home. She loves traveling, eating, taking food and streetscape photographs, and simply enjoying new experiences and writing about them. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Rochestown Lodge Hotel Dún Laoghaire.