Monday, February 8, 2016

Tips for booking hotel rooms

Viceroy Riviera Maya Mexico
Once you’ve decided where to travel, you’ll probably need a hotel room. The Internet has made searching for good deals easier than ever, but it still requires a bit of research. Even if you find a great price at a discounter site like or, you still need to be sure the hotel is convenient to places you want to visit in the area. On-site maps can help you determine the best accommodations for your needs--so you don’t shell out big bucks on expensive taxi rides or have to nurse sore muscles from walking miles to events or attractions.

Whether you should book far ahead or last-minute depends mostly on the popularity of the location and/or time of your visit and your need for certainty. If you’re easily accommodated, you can bid on a hotel in the general location on sites like Hotwire, but you won’t know exactly where the room is until your bid is accepted.
Free breakfast is a welcome amenity
Often you can get the best deal by calling the specific hotel you're interested in directly. Ask if they will match rates found online or add extras like free Wi-Fi or late checkout. It’s usually an advantage to deal directly with a specific hotel staff rather than a third party, especially if something isn’t up to snuff during your stay. While checking with the hotel, be sure to ask if there is a resort or parking fee or any other charges you need to know about as those can add up quickly.

Many hotels offer this amenity.
Not all hotels participate on major search sites. Use Google to find accommodations in a specific city or check TripAdvisor for recommendations from users.  If you plan to stay awhile in one spot, consider renting an apartment or house. HomeAway, VRBO, or other sites offer a variety of long-term rentals.
Be wary of sites that require advance payments, and be sure to read the fine print. Often it’s worth a few extra dollars to book a refundable rate, especially if your stay is several weeks or months away. If you forego making advance reservations, calling a hotel the day of your stay may net you a lower rate, but expect to have your credit card charged on the spot.

Local tourist offices, especially in Europe, often have discount coupons or services for finding same-day rooms. This works best if you’re traveling at a less popular time for the destination.
Beacon Hotel in Washington D.C.
If your travel is primarily to one destination, booking a package that includes airfare, car rental, and hotel may be cheaper than buying each part separately. Ask your travel agent, or check with airline companies  and consolidators that offer such packages.

Many credit cards allow you to use accumulated points for hotel stays (score bonus points at sign-up). If you especially like one brand, apply for a loyalty card. If you use the card for additional purchases, you may get numerous free nights a years—and some even offer free nights annually to card holders.
The best advice for booking hotel rooms at the best rates is to do research and planning before arrival. Then you’ll know that you’ve secured a reasonable rate, and you'll avoid scrambling for a room at the last-minute.

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