In our stuttering economic climate everyone is tightening their belts. With less people choosing long-haul vacations and hotel occupancies faltering everywhere, it might seem that now is the perfect time to scavenge a cheap deal for a family vacation. Not so hasty! Proceed with caution.
Our first advice to you when searching for cheap rates for hotels is, of course, check the small print. Airlines long ago unbundled their fees, discreetly diverting such nuisances as food and drink into the extras pile. In a bid to lower prices without slashing profit, many of today’s hotels are following suit. Goodbye cute souvenir toiletries, farewell warm hotel slippers. Whenever you see a fantastic deal on a room, check the terms against a list of your essential amenities – WIFI, breakfast, swimming pool, ironing board, alarm wake-up call; all of these things may end up as extra charges. The best way to approach budget hoteling is to ensure that you only need a bed and a bathroom, then you will never be disappointed.
Be flexible about dates and hotels. Travel compare sites are great places to start your search while search engines can help find really cheap hotel packages at different times of the year – some sites even allow you to bid at a price you can afford.
Loyalty clubs, professional associations and public sector workers may all get hidden discount at hotels. It is always worth flinging every acronym you have to your name into your search engine to check out your options.
Before booking anything online ensure you call the hotel or resort directly. Large hotels may have discounts or cancellations that have not been updated online yet. Smaller hotels on the other hand, are sometimes ready for a bit of a haggle over room prices (this is much more likely however, if you are a walk-in guest on the night). Also speaking in person is a great chance to ask all your pressing questions about facilities and charges without being redirected to the FAQ page.