5 Tips For Finding Lodging
Lodging can easily be the most expensive part of any trip. There are a TON of factors to keep in mind while booking: the quality of the room, the safety of the area, and the overall location. Research will be your best friend to help you feel confident that you found a good deal. Here are a few tips that I use when searching for lodging.
1. Use Google Maps
Google Maps is the best, and probably my favorite overall tool to use when planning a trip. It is so easy to find hotels. Find where you are going on the map, type in hotels, input your dates, and there you have it. It will populate hotels and pricing information, so this is definitely a good reference point to start your search. You want to keep in mind if you are dead set on staying in the city center or if you are fine going further out to save some money. Most hotels in the heart of the city are going to be fancy and expensive. So, I would suggest looking around on Google Maps and checking the price difference to see if it makes sense. Also, look at the pictures and read reviews! This will give you a good idea of the hotel is close to how it appears online. From Google Maps, you can easily to go the hotel website to book or give them a call.
3. Become a Hotel Rewards Member
Marriott is my go to choice for a hotel. I use a Marriott Rewards credit card and earn a bunch of points when I stay there, which helps me gain free nights and room upgrades. There is an annual fee to use this card, but I also get one night free each year, so it pays for itself. Marriott also offers room discounts for their members if you book directly on their website. I love the quality of the hotels and the rooms, and most of them offer the same amenities: free breakfast, wifi, and a gym. Switching to a travel friendly credit card could offer a lot of benefits for saving money while traveling.
3. Consider AirBNB
AirBNB is a wonderful alternative to booking a hotel. Hosts rent out their apartments and homes for more unique way to experience staying in the city. You can choose to rent out an entire place, private room, or shared room. So far, I have stayed at two AirBNB rentals, and both experiences were fantastic. I would definitely recommend trying it out. This is a good resource to use to stay in the location you want and in your budget. However, it is not always cheaper to go with AirBNB, so you’ll want to check prices on Google before making your decision.
4. Find Deals on Groupon Getaways
Groupon Getaways is an easy way to search for hotel deals in the city and dates of your choice. The downside to Groupon Getaways is that selection is limited, so you may need to be more flexible when choosing your dates and location.
5. Stay with a friend
This one is pretty obvious. If you know someone who lives where you are going, ask to stay with them! It’ll be a lot cheaper than finding lodging elsewhere. Offer to buy them dinner. Still cheaper.
Finding lodging is sort of annoying, but it is SO important to find the right place to stay. Spend the time doing research before you book so you will have peace of mind when you get there. Consider other expenses as well, such as parking and breakfast, because if they are both included with your stay then you will already save money. Another good thought to keep in mind is that you will not spend a lot of time in your hotel room, so don’t pay for space and amenities that you don’t need.