They say the best things in life are free. But sometimes, it takes a good deal of money to set yourself up for those so-called “best things.” Take travel, for example: Although it’s a fun way to make lifelong memories, it can cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, this guide on how to get the cheapest hotel room will help you save a ton of money.
When preparing for a trip, you should also do some security housekeeping. Tap or click here for five clever travel tips to keep you safe. Always be aware of online scams, don’t connect to public Wi-Fi and be careful when you sync your phone to rental cars.
Now that you have a cybersecurity travel tip under your belt let’s get back to booking cheap hotel rooms. Lodging can be expensive when you’re on the go; some hotels will even charge $1,000 a night. Here’s how to get the cheapest hotel room — plus some freebies.
Four insider secrets that professional travelers use
Firstly, you’ll want to book a hotel with the right website. Kayak, Expedia or Hotels.com com are good places to start. These online travel shopping companies help you find cheap hotels, compare hotel prices and more.
Call the hotel’s reservation desk directly once you find the lowest hotel rate at one of these sites. Many hotels will meet or beat an internet best rate when you book with them.
RELATED: 5 tricky hotel scams that could ruin your next trip
There’s a reason for that. Hotel owners aren’t exactly excited about depending on booking sites. Sure, they reach a broader audience than the hotel itself could — but they often charge the hotel a commission.
That’s good news for you. After all, you can take advantage of that rivalry. You just have to book directly with the hotel. The hotel might even throw in a free upgrade.
The secret time to book a hotel room
Secondly, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book it. This only makes sense if you’re not staying in a busy touristy town or attending a convention. Here’s when sites like Hotel Tonight and One Night can help you score a deal.
Thirdly, tap into your memberships. Veterans, AAA members, seniors, government employees and students often qualify for discounted hotel rooms.
Lastly, book your hotel room at 4 p.m. Hotels know the odds of selling a room are pretty slim at four in the afternoon, so they’ll give you rock bottom rates and nice upgrades.
Now that you know how to get the cheapest hotel room check out these extra travel tips
Hotels leak personal data to third parties. How to stop it.
10 best travel apps to plan your next adventure
Going somewhere? Don’t forget these 15 travel essentials