Tips for Finding Cheap Hotel Rates

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There's nothing worse than going away on that dream trip and discovering you've no money left to spend on sightseeing because your hotel room was so expensive. Hotel fares can be one of the most expensive parts of your holiday, so knowing how to find cheap hotel rates is definitely a bonus. Whether you want a luxury room at an affordable price, or simply a decent, cheap room to sleep in after a busy day, read on for the tips to help you get it.

Know What You Want

Before you can save money, you need to know what you want from a hotel room. Do you want to have a luxurious place to stretch out and relax, or a cheap, modest room to quickly change clothes before you head out to see the sights? You can also narrow down your search by knowing what amenities you must have, such as a pool, or internet hookup, or a restaurant on site. Knowing what you want will help you narrow down the search so you can find cheap hotel rates.

Beware of Packages

Sometimes you can find cheap hotels by looking for packages that combine two services, such as hotel and your flight, or hotel and care hire. But sometimes, you'll actually pay a lot more for the convenience of booking and paying for both the airfare and hotel in the same location.

At one package booking agent, you might be persuaded to book a flight from Sydney to the Big Apple (New York City, USA), and a seven night hotel stay at the Pennsylvania (near the Empire State Building), priced at $5,480. However, if you went to Qantas Airlines ( and the Hotel Pennsylvania ( and booked your flight and room separately, you'd pay $4,770. This isn't always the case, of course, but sometimes packages aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Make sure you check the rates, or you'll think you're getting a good deal while the booking site laughs all the way to the bank. The very same hotel stay can be the same price or even more expensive through a "discount" agency than if you booked through the hotel directly.

The moral of the story? Do your research! Make sure you know how much a night at a hotel is alone and then compare with your package rate to ensure you're getting the savings you deserve.

Good Package Deals

Not all package deals are bad, as long as you know what you're looking for. For example, your car rental agency may offer a free night at a participating hotel. The deal may be a third night free after a two-night stay, but if you're planning on staying several days anyway, it's a good deal.

Online Bookings to the Rescue

Some sites are just worth their weight in gold when trying to book cheap hotel rooms, and here are two that are priceless.

  • Wotif: ( This is a great online site to visit to get cheap hotel rates in Australia and abroad. You can book your cheap hotel room last minute or up to twenty-eight days in advance. Whether your holiday is in Australia, Scotland or Fiji, Wotif can help you book discount hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts, or apartments in thirty-five countries.

One great feature is that you can enter your travel information and compare hotels, apartments, and bed and breakfasts side by side. If you don't have set travel plans, you can see which dates are cheaper and book accordingly. You can also advance your search by entering in different amenities you'd like, such as pool or a kitchenette.

A sampling of hotels around the world showed that indeed, Wotif provides cheap rates. Want to visit Walt Disney World? The Raddison Resort Orlando, FLA USA is a stone's throw from this world-renowned family destination. For $100 a night ($185 a night full rate) you get a gorgeous room with two double beds, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, exercise facility and a restaurant on site. The best part--kids stay and eat for free as long as they are accompanied by one paying parent.

Want to stay in a Scottish castle for your holiday? The four-star Dalhousie House Castle and Spa in Edinburgh, Scotland offers a luxurious holiday experience that will make you feel like royalty. Standard castle room: $302 ($500 full price) and includes a double occupancy room in this 13th century fortress. For a little more ($350) you could stay in a themed castle room. Both have their own bath and other comforts.

Or perhaps you'd rather experience a decadent South Pacific holiday on Fiji. For $300 ($350 full rate) a night you can stay in the four-star Sonaisali Island Resort. Enjoy a restful holiday on a small island across the lagoon from mainland Fiji, with a health spa, tennis courts and a child minding program that includes sandcastle building. Children stay free of charge.

  • Smarter Travel: ( This is an awesome site to review if you want hotel, flight and car hire information. They have a page with links to assorted deals, such as booking a night at the Hilton in NYC and receiving free breakfast or free parking. If you've ever tried to park in Manhattan, you'll realize what a bargain this is!

Plus you can't beat the advice. In the Hotel section, the editor posts his/her favorite deal links which takes you to a detailed page that outlines the fine print (like having to stay for three nights, one being a weekend night). There are also sponsor deals to choose from.

The great thing about this site is that they aren't doing the booking--they link you to the hotel or sponsor in charge of the deal they advertise.

Check with Your Credit Card

This may sound silly, but checking with your credit card could result in cheap hotel rates. Sometimes the major credit card companies will link up with a hotel chain to promote travel and business in a specific area, giving discounts if the consumer uses their credit card.

For example, the Hilton Latin America and Visa have teamed up to give travelers a discounted rate on a stay at the Hilton hotels across Latin America if using a Visa card to pay. You'll also get a continental breakfast and a generous credit toward food and beverage. Of course, there are conditions and limitations, such as a three-night stay, but if you're traveling to somewhere as gorgeous as Buenos Aries, you're going to want to stay for a long holiday.

Check Directly with the Hotel or Hotel Chain

Sometimes you can get a great deal by calling the hotel directly and asking about cheap hotel rooms. If you're calling a chain, such as the Hilton, call the hotel in the town you're staying in, as calling the main line will often get you an operator that's located somewhere else. He/she may not know of the deals that particular hotel branch has to offer.

You can also check online for deals. Many chains, in an effort to beat discount travel websites, offer guaranteed lowest rates if you book directly with the hotel.

In Conclusion

A holiday doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg in hotel fares alone. By doing some research, comparing rates and contacting companies you wouldn't typically think of, you can definitely find a cheap hotel room. Then you can sit back and relax on that well-deserved holiday trip, knowing you didn't have to pay top dollar.

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