How to find hotel deals?
Finding a hotel deal is not so difficult as you might think. It takes time and definitely effort, especially when you are planning something like an intern abroad trip. To get the best hotel rates you have to be flexible, you can’t be picky, and you absolutely have to put in effort in the research. There are tons of different places where you can look at. Anything from Priceline, Expedia, Kayak, to using Google search and calling the actual hotel yourself can cut you a deal. If you really want to save on hotel, you have to try absolutely everything especially if you are planning a volunteer abroad trip on your own. When you go by yourself and not through an organization, there is a lot of nit picking to do. This is pretty much why study abroad companies (volunteer and intern) have program fees. They bundle everything and take good care of you so you don’t have to deal with the details. When you start searching for hotel deals you will find out that the standard price that hotel charges (also called rack price) is the most expensive one and your job is to go around it and find a good deal with discounts and hotel package deals. At Link To Diversity, we are dedicated at helping students with their travel plans, thus we have prepared this article to help you find best hotel deals out there. We are not guaranteeing that our strategies will work 100% of the time but they will help you save your money.
Follow the following tips and advice:
#1. Plan your program abroad trip in advance!
As we have mentioned it in our other articles, to save money you absolutely have to plan your program abroad well in advance. Three and even six months prior your program start date. This gives you more time to monitor hotel rates and purchase it at the right time.
#2. Research online hotel booking sites!
There a tons of websites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels, Travelocity, etc. that offer all kinds of hotel deals online. If you time it right (experts say mid-week and off-season period of the year is the best time to find hotels cheap) you will get what you are looking for. Hotel prices seem to be following the same patter as cheap airfare so look and see if you can time it at the same time and bundle the two. When you buy a package there is more possibility that you will save more money. And remember that when you see the right hotel price (or airfare price) buy it! If you like it and it fits your budget – there shouldn’t be any room for hesitation. The important thing to understand about these online hotel and airfare booking websites is that they buy a bulk of rooms or flights form a hotel or airline at a discount which then they pass on to you. When seats or rooms are not sold out – they sell them at the lowest price possible to avoid a loss. This is just an insider tip for you!
#3. Call the hotel and see if they have promotions!
Don’t hesitate picking up the phone and calling the hotel. They always have some kind of deals and promotions going on. Since you are a student that’s going on an intern abroad (study or volunteer abroad) program you might be eligible for discounts. It should work the same way in Europe or someplace else as it works within the USA. Students always get discounts, regardless of your country destination.
#4. Be flexible!
Exclude all the meals and additional unnecessary service and you will get a cheaper hotel rate. You are a student who can take care of themselves. You will always find a place to eat, a grocery store or street vendors. It shouldn’t be your concern.
#5. Are you traveling alone?
If you are traveling with a friend or even a group – don’t book hotel separately! When you bundle the purchase and buy multiple rooms – you will get hotel discounts for it! If needed, call the booking website or hotel customer service to get even a bigger discount. Negotiate! The more you talk to people the more you get what you want!
#6. Determine the duration of your stay!
If you do the proper planning of your program abroad, you should know for sure how long you are staying at a hotel. You can always get every additional night at the hotel with a discount if you ask for it. Just say – what I book for one more night will you give me a discount? Most likely they will, so use it! If your stay is longer than a week, don’t forget to ask about weekly rates which exist pretty much at every hotel now.
#7. Always ask about additional charges or hidden fees!
Remember that hidden fees and additional charges can show up on your credit card statement later. Always refuse to pay them! Hotel or Airline will always credit you the extra charge if you haven’t been told about it. What happens is hotels charge everyone these fees and only a handful of people actually request refunds so don’t be like the rest! Get your money back!
#8. Buy hotel rooms and cheap airfare during off-season time of year!
As we mentioned earlier, hotel rates and airfare is cheaper when it is off season. Even if your initial stay or flight is during a hot-season if you book your hotel or a flight during off-season – you will get a much better deal!
#9. Compare the deals!
Compare rates across the board and be smart about your decisions. You see a good price? Buy it!
We hope this helps!