BOOK WEEKS IN ADVANCE
Knowing the best time to book your hotel room can help minimize travel costs. You can usually get great hotel prices by making reservations 14 to 21 days before your stay, according to Expedia.
If you don’t remember to reserve a room weeks in advance, there is another window of opportunity to score a deal. Expedia also states that hotel rates often drop as you get closer to your check-in date.
OR, WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO BOOK A ROOM
If you can handle waiting until the last minute, you’ll often find a great rate at a hotel by booking closer to your stay.
“Book last minute,” said Geena Marcelia from Hotwire. “Although it’s common practice to book in advance, if it’s possible to wait, you can usually find the best rates one week before your travel dates.”
GET A REFUND FOR A PRICE DROP
If you don’t want to chance ending up without a place to stay, you can reserve a room in advance and still take advantage of price drops by booking through Tingo.com. Tingo will automatically rebook your room at a lower rate if the price drops and refund you the difference.
STAY ON A SUNDAY
Timing a hotel stay right can save you money. And Sundays “are almost always the cheapest day of the week for hotels,” said Marcelia.
HIT TOURIST LOCALES MIDWEEK
Cities that are major tourist destinations often see more traffic on weekends when people aren’t working and have time to travel. Since prices tend to rise with demand, you’ll save on the cost of lodging if you go against the tide, said Bob Tupper, author of “Drinking in the Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe.”
“Go to touristy areas midweek when the tourists aren’t there in droves,” he recommends.
VISIT BUSINESS HOT SPOTS ON WEEKENDS
You can save money on hotel rates by staying in a city’s business district on weekends when business travelers have checked out and headed home, Tupper states. For example, he found a room in an upscale business district of Zurich, Switzerland, on a weekend at half the price of a weekday stay.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SHOULDER SEASON
Shoulder season is the period of time between the off-peak season — when the weather is not ideal for travel — and the peak season when ideal weather conditions make prices high and crowds abundant. Because demand is lower, hotel rates tend to be as well.
GET DEEP DISCOUNTS DURING THE OFF-SEASON
Just because a destination has a reputation for extreme heat, cold or storms at certain times of the year doesn’t mean you’re destined to experience bad weather if you visit then, said Elizabeth Avery, founder of Solo Trekker 4 U, a site dedicated to those traveling alone.
What you will get, though, are deep discounts on lodging because demand is lower in the off-season. For example, locales known for having a rainy season can be a good value because the rains are often brief rather than continuous, she states. You can still do plenty of sightseeing — at a lower cost.
STAY IN THE SUBURBS
If you stay on the outskirts of midsize and larger cities, you’ll find more upscale hotels at lower prices, said Neil Emerson, formerly the president of business development for travel brokerage company Tourico Holidays.
Plus, the cost of parking will be much more reasonable — or even free — if you stay at a hotel in the suburbs rather than the city center.
WATCH OUT FOR EVENT-RELATED PRICE HIKES
Before you book a trip, make sure there are no major events happening in the city when you want to visit it, said Eric Grayson, founder of Discover 7 Travel. Otherwise, you could wind up paying astronomical rates due to increased demand for rooms in the area, he said.
Check the city’s tourism or chamber of commerce site for a calendar of events to ensure you’re not planning a trip at a time when rooms will be scarce and prices will be high.