Save Money on Travel Accommodations
I don't know about you, but when I travel somewhere it's because I'm going to experience an attraction, see friends, or participate in an event for my business. I don't travel just to sleep in fancy hotel beds, and I prefer to keep as much of my travel budget available for entertainment as possible! Finding cheap hotels or inexpensive hotel alternatives will keep your travel expenses down.
Most of the time, I just need a comfortable and safe place to sleep when I'm traveling out of town. If this describes your own travel-sleep needs, you might be able to save money on your travel accommodations with the following tips:
Go Camping. I realize camping is not for everyone, but if you can handle pitching a tent and blowing up an air mattress, chances are good that you can save a ton of cash. Campgrounds charge between $5 and $40 a night, depending on the amenities of the campground and whether they're in a popular location or not, but when you compare those prices to the $40-$200 a night for a budget to moderate hotel, you can see how camping can really stretch the budget. Some campgrounds even have electric hook-ups and wireless internet.
Get Out of Town. If you're traveling to a popular destination or event, most hotels will take advantage of supply and demand and increase their rates accordingly. If you don't mind driving fifteen or twenty minutes between your hotel and event location, you can almost always get a less expensive hotel room in a neighboring town.
Stay Longer. Many times you can rent an entire house or condo for a week for less than you would pay for a hotel for three or four nights – especially if staying in popular vacation destinations. For example, there are fabulous three to six bedroom homes in the Orlando, Florida area (complete with swimming pools, kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, game rooms, and sometimes even a community center nearby!) that rent for around $700 per week; but if you stay in a moderate hotel room in Disney, you can expect to pay $280 a night or more. The larger accommodations also make it reasonable to share with another family or two and reduce your costs even more.
Use Discounts. If you're a member of AAA, a member of the military, or own an Entertainment Book, you have discounted travel options available to you. Most hotels offer discounts under these situations. The 2010 Entertainment Book (affiliate link) is now available, and the 2010 coupons are valid now.
Create Discounts. If you're not a member of an organization that receives hotel discounts, you can always try to create your own! Find out how much it would cost you to stay the duration of your travel in one of the popular hotels in town. Then call a less-popular hotel and ask them if they can offer you a free night or discounted rates if you choose them over the popular hotel. You might be surprised at what they're willing to do to earn your business.
This post was included in the Money Hacks Carnival.