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6 Ways to Save Money When Staying at a Hotel

by JS 


hotel lobbyWe all know how to save money when booking a hotel room – travel websites like priceline.com and expedia.com have been helping people save money on vacations for years. But the price of the room isn’t the whole story. There are extra features and amenities offered at some hotels that can keep even more cash in your pocket.

Here are six things to look for that can help you save even more money on your next hotel stay.

1. Stay at a Hotel That Offers Free Breakfast.
This is one of the most overlooked ways of saving money when traveling. If you can get your breakfast for free, you are going to save at least $5 every morning. To make this even better, find a hotel with a hot breakfast. This way you can eat bacon, eggs, and pancakes instead of cold cereal and fruit. While any breakfast is better than none at all, you might as well get something you will enjoy. Hotels chains with the best free breakfasts include: Embassy Suites, Courtyard by Marriot, and Holiday Inn Express.

2. Free Happy Hour? Yes, Please.
Earlier this year, I stayed at an Embassy Suites in Florida that offered a “Manager’s Reception” every night from 5:30 to 7:30. During this time you can get free drinks (including alcoholic beverages) as well as snacks such as chips and salsa. Although I have yet to find another chain that does this, there are some, such as select Wyndham Hotels, that offer buy one get one deals at the lobby bar during happy hour. Again, this is something to check on before booking a room. It may not save you a lot of money, but there is nothing better than getting a few drinks on the house every night.

3. Free Internet.
In today’s day and age you would think that every hotel offers free Internet. Unfortunately, this is not the case. When I stayed at a Best Western, the Internet service was everything I wanted. In addition to being free, it was wireless. On top of this, the signal strength was strong from check-in to check-out. On the other hand, the Embassy Suites wasn’t nearly as accommodating. They charged $14.99/day for wireless Internet access, which is incredible considering the fact that I pay approximately $50/month for my home service. Make sure you check on Internet charges before you book, especially if you use the Internet frequently.

4. Free Shuttle Service.
The best way to avoid renting a car, but still be able to get around is to stay at a hotel with a free shuttle service. From airport pickup and drop-off to transportation to and from a client’s office, some hotels will give you everything you need in this department. It is important to ask upfront what the shuttle service entails. Some hotels will take you wherever you want to go, within reason. Others have mileage limitations. And of course, there are some that will only take you to and from the airport or bus station.

5. Stay Close to the Destination You Are Visiting.
For instance, if you are visiting Disney World it makes good sense to choose a hotel in the resort. Then you don’t have to drive to and from the park every day. Not only will this possibly save you from renting a car, but it can save a lot of money on gas, which is getting more expensive by the minute.

6. Dry Cleaning Service.
This may not be something you need if you are only staying in a hotel for a night or two, but for extended trips, especially those related to business, a dry cleaning service is a must. There are many ways that this hotel service can help you save:

  • With upscale hotels this service is often times free.
  • You won’t waste time (and gas) searching an unfamiliar area for a reputable dry cleaner.
  • You will pay the hotel, not the dry cleaner. In short, you will know exactly how much this service costs before taking advantage. You can even check in advance if you know you will need dry cleaning during your stay.

Final Word

Most people only think about ways to save on the cost of their room when booking a hotel, but considering the tips above can easily save you $100 or more for a three- to five-day stay. Got other ways to save on hotel stays? Please share them in the comments below.

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Comments

4 Responses to “6 Ways to Save Money When Staying at a Hotel”

  1. alex on June 13th, 2011 3:01 pm

    Have to disagree with #5. Often times you can save a ton of money by not staying close or exactly where you are visiting. Case in point: Atlantic City on a Friday night: good luck finding a non-bed bug establishment for under $200 anywhere near AC. However, if you’re willing to stay 20 minutes outside of town you can easily find a reasonably priced hotel.

    You’ll find this differential in countless places, as the hotels near the tourist areas are significantly more expensive than the hotels 15-20 minutes away.

  2. LL on June 16th, 2011 2:03 pm

    Many Hilton properties (including Hampton Inn) offer the complimentary hot breakfast, evening reception (almost a full meal), and shuttle service. I think if you are a member of their rewards program, the internet service is free. I travel to the same city often for business, and a Hilton property has won my loyalty because of these perks. It definitely saves a a good chuck of money.

  3. jennie on June 21st, 2011 3:59 pm

    My family rarely stays in hotels, if at all possible. Short stays of 1-2 nights-yes, a bare minimum hotel. Clean, bug free, and usually they offer a cold complimentary breakfast. No pool. I sometimes can find these as cheap as $40 a night. Rarely more than $65. However, longer trips, we try to find a house to rent. An example of this would be last spring we went to a beach for a week. We found a house one mile from the beach for $500 for the entire week (7 days). It had a yard, a patio with a grill, and washer/dryer. It also had planty of running around room for kids. We ate breakfast and lunch at the house and splurged on (discounted) dinners. Those ocean front homes rent for thousands a week. We had a wonderful experience for far less.

  4. Leigh B. on April 9th, 2012 1:32 pm

    I would have to say your in the minority Jennie, so feel lucky! We have had good and bad experiences with extended stay suites, and renting houses for the week. The house fiasco made a few hairs of mine turn gray. The family who owned the house we were renting, accused us of damaging their home (which we did not). Then proceeded to be rude throughout the entire ordeal. If you can stay with the name brands(Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn Etc.) then do it. Having said that, part of me just died, but its the only way I feel like you can guarantee a nice, hassle-free stay in some areas. Hope this helps!

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