Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Find the Cheapest Hotel Rooms

The rooms at the Omni National Resort in Tucson are larger than most Paris apartments!  This room also has a king-size bed, a desk area, two vanities, separate tub and shower areas, a walk-in closet and a patio.
Seth Kugel, frugal travel writer for the New York Times, wrote a helpful article recently about a seven-step process to find the cheapest hotel room.  The piece is thorough and maximizes the use of multiple websites, Hotels.com, Hipmunk, and so on, to obtain the best possible price.  Still, I think he overlooked two sources that are extraordinarily helpful.

While I favor short-term rental apartments rather than hotel rooms for trips lasting at least three days, there are times when staying in a hotel is unavoidable.  Case in point is the trip I'm making to visit a friend in Victoria, Canada, in September.
Dining Room at Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California.  The guest rooms are equally unique!
I'm using frequent flyer miles to fly to Seattle for free and taking the hydrofoil to cross the water back and forth to Victoria (This is hundreds of dollars cheaper than flying directly to Canada.)  But my flight and speedboat times do not coordinate, so I cannot make the complete trip (flight plus boat) in one day.  I have to stay overnight both going and coming.
David and I paid $80 a night in mid-April  for this lovely suite with kitchen a block from the Strip in Las Vegas.
This provides a great opportunity to see Seattle, but I discovered one unsettling fact.  Seattle hotels are extraordinarily expensive!  Finding a rate under $200 for a decent hotel is difficult.

So here are two valuable tips that will net you a great room at a fabulous price, not only in Seattle but in any city in the USA!

You can find charming B and Bs, independent hotels, and guest houses at Mom and Pop Motels.   Mom and Pop list places that may not have an Internet presence, but are neverthleless wonderful bargains with high Trip Advisor ratings.  Because the lodge owners pass the money they save by not advertising on to you, you pay a cheaper rate.
Our room at La Posada in Winslow, Arizona.  We spent one entire day exploring this beautiful property!
Look at Dibble House (on Facebook only) for an example of a charmer in Seattle.  It has a four+ star rating on Trip Advisor, and, while no prices are given, several of the reviewers said it was "reasonable."  If you don't like this place, Mom and Pop list 103 other places for you to consider in Seattle!

The second tip involves a site you may never have considered, but you should because there are bargains to be had.  While I have never been enthusiastic about sharing a dorm room with strangers, I have always been enthusiastic about saving money, and Hostelworld helps you do just that.

Put "AAE" (without the quotation marks) and the city into the search engine to locate brand-name hotels at reduced prices.  The AAE in Seattle is actually the Best Western Loyal Inn on 8th Avenue with a four+ star rating on Trip Advisor.  If you rent a private room with an ensuite bath for October 8, on the Hostelworld site, the cost is $92.94.  On the Best Western site, the best rate for a pre-paid/no-cancellation room on the same night in October is $188.96! 
The room was small but the price was, too, at the lovely Sheraton in Chapel Hill, NC.
I suppose the Best Western does not want people to know it's offering more than half off if you're willing to rent a "generic" room, but it seems to be a fairly popular practice since 21 hotels in North America are listed as "AAE" on the Hostelworld site.

So, use Seth Kugel's seven-step process and also try my suggestions for finding inexpensive hotel rooms.  If you use all our approaches, you are guaranteed to find the cheapest prices in America.  It might take you an hour instead of twenty minutes, but the time is well-spent if you save hundreds of dollars!


4 comments:

  1. Bear in mind though that even though booking a hotel online is easy and convenient, you also need to be careful. Make sure that you book a cheap hotel online in a website that uses a secure transaction system (SSL) to protect the confidentiality of your credit card information.

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  2. You have some great suggestions here! It is always useful to ead about what othe people do to get cheper accomodations.

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  3. you also need to be careful. Make sure that you book a cheap hotel online in a website that uses a secure transaction system (SSL) to protect the confidentiality of your credit card information............

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