Whether you’re a hostel hopping backpacker, a motel rat, or a luxury traveler that stays exclusively at the Ritz-Carlton, there are many hacks (aide from stealing the mini shampoo bottles) that can help you save and optimize your lodging experience.
If you have the means to afford a luxury hotel, you will likely not need to utilize any money saving strategies. For regular people though, the following hacks are sure to stretch your dollar to its fullest. Cooking for yourself and saving uneaten food is a good way to save. If you didn’t come prepared with Ziplocs or Saran Wrap, hotel shower caps act as excellent preservative barriers. If you like your food warm but there is no microwave, you can use the iron. If you wish to heat-steam a meal, a coffee maker is a fine instrument to do just that. To aid you in your culinary pursuits, ask room service for some complementary dishes.
Scoring deals on hotel rooms is another way to save a few greenbacks. Small investments in things like AAA (which anyone can join, from anywhere in the world) can save an average of 5% to 10% on many hotel stays. Even if AAA’s rates aren’t cheaper, bookings through them are usually cancellable until the day of arrival, keeping your schedule open and flexible. Additionally, like airline miles, various credit cards offer countless hotel deals.
If you are flexible and have stones of steel, you can wait until the last minute and use Groupon to find fantastic deals. When traveling in a group, Airbnb is a great site for finding awesome accommodations for low prices. On occasions when you are staying for extended periods (around a week), try negotiating lower rates as it is expensive for hotels to constantly clean and turn over rooms.
A particularly devious trick for those with loose morals is to send a scathing, yet articulate, email to the general manager detailing and constructively criticizing a sub-par experience. If you do it right, he/she will likely attempt to placate you by offering discounts, upgrades, or other perks. Management understands that keeping the hotel’s scores high online is important, especially in high-tourist areas.
A related strategy is to say that it is your birthday or, if you are with another person, that you are on your honeymoon. Both of these tricks can also be used at restaurants and other entertainment venues but are more effective if you mention the “special occasion” beforehand. If these hacks are not congruent with your moral code, you can simply call a hotel and ask for a deal, you might be surprised at what you can get by just asking.
Bribery can some times get you deals. Try slipping the desk attendant a twenty or offer to write a good review for a little quid pro quo. You can also ask to see multiple different rooms if there are more than one available. Not all rooms are created equal and it is commonplace in the hotel industry to get rid of the least desirable rooms first.
For all the germophobes out there, a clothespin can be clipped to your toothbrush to prevent it from touching any contaminated surfaces. Even if your accommodation seems hygienic, it might not hurt to do a bedbug check. To begin, leave your luggage outside just in case there is an infestation. The first place to investigate is obviously the bed – however, furniture, closets, and even the bindings of phonebooks or bibles can harbor the bloodsucking parasites. Corners, crevices, nooks, and crannies are typical spots were bedbugs enjoy to hide.
Many people have security concerns that stricken the mind and suffocate the good times. No safe in your room? No problem. Using the do not disturb sign will keep maids out of your business and make potential thieves think that occupants are present. Equally important, if you’re worried about your belongings, is not using the “clean room” sign; because most people don’t stay in their rooms and watch the maids clean.
One of the worst things you can do when trying to keep your belongings save is to constantly touch them. This uneasiness is easy to spot, and clearly shows that you have something of value that you’re trying to protect. Pickpockets will often hang signs that warn of pickpockets. People often touch their wallets after reading these signs, checking to make sure their valuables are still there. This is a clear sign for pickpockets and lets them know exactly where on your person the loot is located.
Security concerns may also arise if you stay in Hostels. If you disregard your belongings and act as if they are worthless, people will think they are worthless and leave them alone, generally. Even if you desire privacy, most hostels have private rooms that are way cheaper than a hotel room. Many also offer complementary breakfast! Use hostel booking sites and review sites to make sure you know what they have to offer before you arrive. Many hostels are notorious for being party hostels, which can be fun, but can also wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. In many cases, you don’t have to stay at the party hostel to party there. Simply book a place somewhere close, so when you get partied out you can leave the wildness of the party for a good night’s sleep.
Even if you aren’t running low on money, staying at hostels is a great way to meet fellow travelers. If you don’t speak the local language, it is hard to converse with the native people. But most travelers speak English, so use this to your advantage and spark up a conversation. Ask where they have been on their trip to get recommendations and advice for yours.