Saving Money on Lodging

by Marenda Babcock

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Saving on lodging while traveling may not be as difficult as it sounds. It does take some planning, fortitude and perseverance. Here are some tips that have helped our family save big bucks on our vacation budget.

Drive a Little and Save a Lot

Staying even 20 miles away from a vacation spot can save you 20 to 30% on your hotel bill. Multiply that savings over several days and it is like getting one night free.

A Room with a View

Rooms that have a view of an ocean, for instance, are more desirable than one of a parking lot. If you aren't given a slight discount for your view of a parking lot, ask for one.

Negotiate a Cheaper Price

Here are some things to consider before negotiating for a better hotel rate:

  1. Look at the parking lot before entering the hotel. Does it look full or almost empty? An empty parking lot tells you the hotel is almost empty.

  2. Are you checking in on the weekend or during the week? Hotels are more eager to negotiate during the week than they are on the weekend.

  3. Always ask for a discount. The word "No" doesn't hurt.

  4. Ask for a discount if checking in late at night.

  5. Ask for a discount if you're paying cash.

  6. Ask for an extended stay discount.

  7. Ask for a discount if you are asked to take a smoking room instead of a non-smoking room.

  8. Negotiate with the manager only. He/She is the only one who is able to discount the room substantially.

Free Breakfast

Find a hotel that offers a free breakfast. Be realistic. A continental breakfast for four is worth no more than $5, so don't pay $20 more for a hotel to get it. Instead opt for the cheaper hotel and buy your own donuts, juice and milk from a grocery store.

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