Travel Tips – How to Book Cheap Hotels

March 14, 2018

I have been thinking a lot about how the usual process of searching, finding and booking cheap and reliable hotels is a constant pain in the *insert your own word*. Through a series of travel related posts, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite booking channels and strategies that have made my long-term travel not only affordable but also extremely comfortable. In this post, I will share with you how I book cheap hotels and travel on a budget without having to quit my job or my regular life. I’ve also added some special tips which have helped me book cheap hotels and maximize my budget.


***TRAVEL WITHIN PLANET EARTH***

AIRBNB

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My absolute favourite accommodation provider. I’ve personally had the pleasure of both staying as a guest and hosting guests and can safely say, this is the best way to experience and really immerse yourself in the local landscape. From cute farmhouses, to private rooms in larger apartments to luxurious guest-houses or hotels, one can find pretty much everything they need.

For Airbnb owners and hosts alike, reviews are gold so make sure you send across good reviews as often as you’d like to receive them. If you’re a solo traveler, and plan to visit Nuremberg or the neighbouring region, feel free to book a room in my apartment.

Alternatively, if you’re new to Airbnb and would like to start your booking adventure, you can get a 30 euro travel credit on your first booking using my referral link.

Special Tip: Instead of the “Request to Book” option click on “Contact Host” where you can send the host a message asking for a personal request or a special discount if you plan to stay long. This especially works when your date of expected booking is right around the corner. The host can then send you a special offer. I’ve done this for many a guests, so I am sure many other hosts would do too. No host wants their property to go vacant.

BOOKING



Booking.com

If you are traveling with a partner and/or your family and would like to explore regular hotels with their corresponding reviews, look no further than booking.com. I have stayed in amazing luxury and budget properties and given that they are pretty much the largest travel accommodation provider in the world, you do not need to have the FOMO. Many hotels and guest houses will allow you to book without a credit card, and for many poor students who travel the world on a tight budget this is a massive advantage compared to Airbnb where your credit card is pretty much locked with the booking amount as soon as you send the request. If you prefer to pay by cash, on the go, booking is the best site for look for hotels worldwide.

Special Tip: When booking a place in a new country that requires a visa, make sure you book a place without a credit card reservation or with ‘Free Cancellation’ option. You want to leave enough leverage for thing such as visa rejection, flight delays and/or last minute trip changes. If possible, always book a room with ‘Free Cancellation’.

EXPEDIA

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Booking.com’s counterpart and a tough competitor is Expedia. The variety of listings is pretty much the same on both these channels. I personally usually do a quick comparison between both these channels to find the same hotel on a discount or a special deal and then book whatever is the cheapest. Headquartered in US, Expedia’s advantage definitely lies in providing a greater selection of properties in the North America region, whereas Booking being headquartered in Amsterdam has a distinct advantage in Europe.

***TRAVEL WITHIN INDIA***

Whilst I strongly recommend the above three for booking cheap hotels for global travel, when I am bouncing around India, I have a clear and separate list. I usually check across the biggest and most comprehensive portals such as Cleartrip, Hotels.com and Yatra.com.

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If you’re looking for small personal home-stays especially in remote corners of India, I found GuestHouser to be amazing for finding properties that were not listed on any other platform.

Special Tip: Within India, depending on your bank account and related debit/credit card, you may be able to avail special deals. I always ignored my credit card newsletter until I accidentally saw it one day and found out all of their partner programs. Ranging from cash-backs, to flat discounts on a number of travel related options, make sure to keep this in mind when you finally book a place.

Recap: How to Book Cheap Hotels

Step 1

Check at least 2 or 3 search platforms to book hotels such as Booking, Expedia, Hotels etc. and find out the best reviewed hotels on each platform based on your search filters and preferences. Look for accompanying credit card or debit card offers.

Hotel room prices in popular travel destinations do not fluctuate in general as much as flight prices, so I wouldn’t spend more than one hour on this activity altogether. If you plan to stay at a high-end, boutique or luxury hotel for an extended period of time, call them up and ask for a price quote directly. Budget or mid-range hotels will already be discounted(owing to steep competition), and calling them would not change much.

Step 2

Check for special combination deals on holiday booking websites such as SOTC Holidays or Thomas Cook. Many a times, you’ll find great deals on excellent hotels along with guided tours that would cost a bomb to cover individually. Plus the added pain, of planning your own itinerary which definitely is the more complicated element of planning a trip.

Step 3

Once you have searched for cheap hotels on the internet with the best accommodation providers, convinced with your choice, go ahead and book your stay at least a few months before your expected travel date.


General Travel Tips

  • A time-frame of about 2 months before you actually plan to travel is the best time to get great deals on hotels. If you plan to travel during a carnival, festival or to a unique heritage site that will be more crowded than an average place, I’d say 4-6 months in advance would be a good time-frame to start planning and/or booking. You can book special Cultural Tours and Trips here.
  • Book guided tours when you feel like there is way too much to see and way too little time. When visiting a country or a continent for the first time, it is always a good idea to ease your way into it. For this, I recommend TourRadar.
  • Check out offers for hotels, flights or all inclusive on industry leading flash deal websites such as Lastminute.com.
  • Look for free airport lounge offers or deals on your credit card as well. There is nothing better than having a 6 hour layover in the middle of nowhere, and having a comfortable couch, shower, TV, Wifi, fresh food and drinks to kill your time with, especially when it’s free. I’m a member of Priority Pass Airpot Lounges.
  • Finally, don’t forget to Get Travel Insurance, especially when you travel to a new country. Anything can happen at any moment and you’re better off being secure in the knowledge that you will be reimbursed for your accidental losses. Save money where you can, but not when it goes into saving your life in case of an emergency or accident.

With that said, I hope this post will help you search and book cheap hotels for your next trip. Godspeed!

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20 comments

Amit Chakraborty March 16, 2018 - 6:59 am

thanx for sharing…awesome

Reply
indiangirlingermany March 16, 2018 - 11:22 am

Thanks for reading Amit, and watch out for my next posts on how to book cheap flights! 🙂

Reply
Amit Chakraborty March 18, 2018 - 1:11 pm

definitely

Reply
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Shareen April 4, 2018 - 9:34 pm

Great tips! I use many of these myself for affordable travel.
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suedavies689 April 4, 2018 - 11:05 pm

Great tips. I have been concerned about Airbnb since we are usually 2 women traveling. What you ever had any issues?

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indiangirlingermany April 5, 2018 - 7:51 am

Hey, not really. I always checked for previous good reviews and officially verified folks. I didn’t accept requests from people with zero reviews or no official ID. Hope it works for you too! 🙂

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Candy April 5, 2018 - 2:55 am

I like to book with Airbnb and I also check with Booking, Expedia, Hotels 🙂 Another one I check often is Kayak. Thanks for the great tips!

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indiangirlingermany April 5, 2018 - 7:51 am

Yes! With Kayak, i found it to be slightly higher priced than the rest and hence I stopped using it. But nevertheless a great tool too! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Kavita Favelle April 5, 2018 - 9:04 am

I use similar sites, I’m particularly a fan of booking.com which I use a LOT. It now has apartments on too, and I prefer their process to the AirBnB one.

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Hayley April 5, 2018 - 10:49 am

These are great tips! Thank you for sharing – finding accommodation is the most time consuming part when it comes to booking a trip! Will keep this in mind next time I’m looking for a hotel 😊

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indiangirlingermany April 5, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Thank you for stopping by and reading Hayley. Always happy to help! 🙂

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Flying Fluskey April 5, 2018 - 11:55 am

I am a real booking.com fan as well. Free cancellation is a real lifesaver. You can book something decent while you search for something amazing! I have had a couple of airbnb hosts cancel on me with little notice so I am a little wary of it now.

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indiangirlingermany April 5, 2018 - 3:53 pm

I feel you. I think this is one of the potential downside of Airbnb and even when you always book with ‘Superhosts’, one can never really be careful enough. This is when, having a back up plan always helps! 🙂

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Ashley April 5, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Great tips for affordable travel! It’s always good to check multiple places for the best deal!

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indiangirlingermany April 5, 2018 - 3:51 pm

Thanks a lot for stopping by Ashley! 🙂

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tiffanytravelsblog April 5, 2018 - 8:40 pm

For the most I love Airbnb, I’ve only had one issued (My airbnb was canceled on arrival to Colombia) but I would still use and love booking an Airbnb for a cheaper price. I have also use booking before. Although I am familiar with Expedia, I’ve never used there site to actually book accommodations or flights.

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Amanda Blizzard April 6, 2018 - 4:50 am

Great tips! I do the same when booking accommodation. Airbnb is my standard go to, but I always check on at least 2 other sites to make sure I get the best deal. As a budget traveller, price is important!

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