Travel On A Budget: Booking a Hotel

travel on a budget

this post includes affiliate links

Last week I talked about how we specifically save for traveling, now I want to continue to go further into how we save money while we are traveling, and continue to travel on a budget. I’m not really a fan of Airbnb, so I often go for the hotel when I am traveling. I prefer the amount of assistance hotels normally provide, and sometimes the added luxury. While these are big reasons to opt for a hotel, the main reason is the service I use when booking the hotel.

It can be overwhelming when you are looking for hotels online because there are so many places to start the search. I have used hotels.com for years and have never had a problem, in fact they had solved problems I have started myself. They are my favorite for many reasons, the top being their awesome customer service. Even if I plan every detail of a trip, something still could end up happening, and it has pretty often. All I have to do is call their customer service team, and they do everything possible to help me change, cancel or move my booking. They even call the hotel directly for you in order to get the best deal they can.

They also have an amazing rewards system. For every 10 nights you book, you get a night free based on the average price. So say you book a hotel for 7 nights at $130 and another for 3 nights at $200, you will get a free hotel night for $151 to be used at any hotel. Even if you then want to use the reward for a $200 hotel, it will then only cost $49. Being able to stay in beautiful hotels, but also travel on a budget could be difficult, but hotels.com doesn’t let it.

The prices are comparable to other travel sites, and they often run further discounts. As long as you have a hotels.com account, there are “secret prices” which you can only see when you are logged into your account. I find that most of the time these prices are $10-$30 cheaper than other websites. They also send out emails with discounts fairly often, but keep in mind that you may not be able to get rewards nights if you use the discount code.

Hotels.com offers destinations all over the world. Sometimes I look up different countries just to see what hotel prices would be, if we ever made our way there. So far, we have been able to take advantage of this in Italy, Belgium and Amsterdam, and made a reservation for Mexico for a trip this summer. I also am able to favorite hotels to look at again in the future, and compare the prices and amenities side by side.

You won’t find any hidden fees when it comes to booking through hotels.com. Even in places like Las Vegas where every hotel charges a “resort fee”, hotels.com has that price on the listing next to the price per night. Once you get to the reservation page, you will see what you pay today, and what you will have paid total, after the resort fee. I appreciate this because it really helps with budgeting for what we will be able to spend on our trip.

Another way to save money when booking a hotel is to use a service like Ebates or Swagbucks to book your trip. I normally compare the offers for both, and use whichever one will give me the most return. For instance, Swagbucks may be offering 6 bucks per dollar, and these can be turned into gift cards or Paypal cash (5,000 bucks =$50, 10,000 = $100) but Ebates might only be offering 3% cash back on your purchase. In that case, I would use Swagbucks, “shop” and then go to “hotels.com”. (if you have any questions about either of these services- let me know! They can be used for so much more than booking hotels)

With all of that being said about hotels.com, I also will use RocketMiles when they offer specials on Rapid Rewards. The Rocket Miles reward system is connected to Southwest, and the points get transferred to that account. You can read more about Rocket Miles in this post about earning Southwest Rapid rewards.

Do you prefer staying in a hotel?

ps. I was not compensated for this post, or asked to talk about hotels.com, I just love them!

  • Megan

    I had no idea that hotels.com did so much for you and that their customer service team was awesome. I literally thought it was just a website with discounts on hotels. That’s awesome! I will definitely check it out! I’m hoping we are able to go to Key West this winter and there are hardly any Airbnbs so we will be using a hotel and I haven’t booked a hotel in soooo long. Thanks for the tips :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      They have saved me so many times when plans changed last minute, it makes me so happy to know there is still good customer service out there! Key West would be amazing, I have never been but my sister loves it. I can’t wait to see photos if you are able to go!

  • http://www.thelowcountrymama.com Jacquelyn @ Lowcountry Mama

    UGH I just booked a hotel last week and completely forgot to use Ebates! I prefer a hotel over AirBnb too.. I’ve never done it but I feel like it’s risky as far as cleanliness goes and I don’t like sharing space =)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Not going to lie, I sometimes will cancel my reservation and go back and book through Ebates because I do that all of the time! I know exactly what you mean about Airbnb, it’s a hit or a miss

  • http://ohhey-ilikethat.com Lauren

    We found our Asheville hotel through Hotels.com–it really is amazing!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I love it so much!

  • http://www.christineeveryday.com Christine Everyday

    FREE HOTELS?! Heck yes, sign me up for everything!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Right!! I am all about it whenever possible.

  • http://ashortblonde.com/ ashortblonde

    I like using AirBnB when staying in large cities (NYC, San Fran, London etc) as we get more a neighborhood feel and have the ability to have access to laundry and a kitchen. But I will use hotels too it really just depends on our needs and how long we are staying. These are great tips! I’ve never used ebates before but I probably should start!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I completely agree! When there is a charming neighborhood to be seen, I opt for an Airbnb, or when there is a large price difference. It really depends on the location, I think. Ebates is amazing! I always check on there before I shop on any website.

  • Jasmine @makingrestorations

    we rarely stay in hotels when we travel because they are so pricey, but this is very interesting way of getting a free night every once in a while

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I often find that hotels are cheaper than Airbnb, at least when and where we look, especially if they include freebies. A lot of time we will get free breakfast and/or a free tour from booking through hotels.com. I will also opt for an Airbnb if the place we are going is all about the charm, then staying in a residence is nicer.

  • http://www.bourbonlipstickandstilettos.com/ Bourbon & Lipstick

    Thank you for this post! Honestly we have little time to travel but we SO want to do more. I am always overwhelmed with looking for hotels!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I have found that we are able to travel much now that we take advantage of so many great resources.

  • http://www.myborrowedheaven.com/ Meg Taylor

    This is such an awesome post!! I’ve started booking through that website you suggested to get Southwest points for hotels, and now I definitely want to try some of these.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank you!! I totally meant to include information about Rocketmiles on this post and forgot, I am adding that now! Whenever they have a deal, I will book through them, but when they don’t I stick with hotels.com, just to rack up the free nights :)

  • http://www.dreambigandbuytheshoes.com/ Emelia @ Dream Big & Buy the S

    I love hotels.com– I just started using them a few years ago when we went on our cruise. We went to Florida before and after so we booked 2 different and I found great rates through them. I saw that second pic and just said out loud “Vegasssss”– I love it!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Most of the time I find that they are either cheaper or the same price but offer extras like free breakfast vouchers or something similar. Hahah your love for Vegas makes me want to give it another try!

  • http://BurkeDoes.com Emilie from BurkeDoes.com

    I got four nights free just for signing up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Hotels Credit Card! I love to stack that with other programs!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      That is awesome! We try to limit the number of credit cards we have, so it’s nice to find free resources when I don’t want to get another card. I will have to keep that in mind when we think about adding another!

  • http://www.wanderingweekenders.com/ Ashley @ Wandering Weekenders

    We have hotel credit cards that we normally use to help with travel, but unfortunately that means that they hardly ever offer discounts! It’s nice for free rooms though! We actually just recently booked some rooms for our trip to Europe through Expedia, so I’ll have to check out hotels.com too!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I always get confused with multiple cards, so sticking with one and using free resources works well for now. In the future it might be a good idea to get one specific for hotels though! Hotels.com is actually owned by Expedia, so the deals are similar, the rewards are just better on hotels.com

  • http://www.oakandoats.com/ Elizabeth Mayberry

    So fun! We have a southwest card that we use!

  • http://www.gradybirdblog.com gradybird

    This is awesome to know, and especially timely for me as we are going on a road trip next month and will need to stay in several hotels along the way! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.whimsyandcompany.com Audrey White

    Definitely bookmarking this for the next time I travel! Thank you for sharing!

Post Navigation