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How to Get the Best Hotel Deals

How to Get the Best Hotel Deals

I’m a big fan of comparison websites. They allow you to compare all your options and prices on one screen without having to spend hours researching prices on different websites. In some cases, like car rental, comparison sites can work out really well, with no booking fees, cancellation fees and no payment up front. But when it comes to hotels and accommodation, do comparison websites really get you the best deal? Before you book your next vacation, read this guide to make sure you don’t get ripped off!

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Family at the hotel check in

    Tips to get the Best Hotel Deal

    • Comparison sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com are good for doing initial research and comparing your options.
    • Once you narrow down your choices to the hotel (or few hotels) that you would like to stay at, head to the hotel’s own website to see if their price is the same. Often they will have extra room types or prices that they don’t supply to comparison websites.
    • Look on the hotel’s website to see if they have any special deals or coupons.
    • Watch out for booking fees and credit card fees. This is not exclusive to the comparison sites; some hotels also charge for this.
    • Check cancellation and amendments policies before you book. This applies to both comparison websites and the hotel’s own website. Check to see if they charge you a fee for amending or canceling bookings. Your travel insurance may cover this, but it’s easier to get your money back straight from the hotel.
    • Check what’s included in your room rate. Some places will include things like Wi-Fi internet and local calls. Ironically, it’s usually the expensive five-star hotels that charge for these things like a wounded bull!
    • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Try calling the hotel and see if they can offer a better price, room upgrade, or throw in some extras. This can work well if it’s close to the date and they still have plenty of rooms vacant.
    • Some people swear by bidding sites like Priceline, and others hate them. If you want to give it a shot, Gadling has an excellent guide on how to game Priceline to get the best deal.

    Resort Pool

      Let’s Look at a Real Life Example

      The following example is searching for the same hotel on various websites. In each case I’ll choose the cheapest available rate and highlight any extra costs for the booking. The hotel I’m looking at is in Australia (my home country), but I’ve tried it for several different countries around the world and got similar results.

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      Two nights (weekend) at the Mantra on Queen in Brisbane, Australia.

      Hotels.com
      Room: $298.00
      No credit card or booking fees
      Free cancellation until two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $298.00

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      Wotif.com
      Room: $298.00
      Credit card fee: $5.50
      $25 cancellation charge up to two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $303.50

      Mantra.com.au
      Room: $248.00
      2% credit card surcharge: $4.84
      $25 cancellation charge up to two weeks before the arrival date
      Total: $246.84

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      As you can see, even with the credit card surcharge, the hotel’s own website worked out cheaper in this case, as they had rooms that were not advertised on the comparison websites. I should point out that Mantra is quite a large chain of hotels in Australia, so they have some strict terms around cancellation and other fees. I’ve found that if you’re booking at much smaller independent hotels or B&Bs that you can often negotiate much better rates by going direct.

      Do you have a great tip for booking accommodation? Leave your best tactics in the comments below! And before you plan your vacation, don’t forget to check out my guides on getting the best deals on car rental, and how to take great travel photos!

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      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

      40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

      40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

      Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

      1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

      Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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        2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

        We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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          3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

          Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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            4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

            Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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              5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

              Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                  7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                  This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                    8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                    One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                      9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                      If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                        10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                        Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                          11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                          Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                            12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                            Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                              13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                              You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                  15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                  Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                  Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                    16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                    If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                      17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                      The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                        18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                        If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                          19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                          Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                            20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                            I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                              21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                              Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                  23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                  Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                  Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                    24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                    Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

                                                    Baja-Cali-Black-Bean-Salad-1024x682

                                                      25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                      Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                        26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                        If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                          27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                          Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                            28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                            A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

                                                            Quinoa-Brussels-Sprouts

                                                              29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                              You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

                                                              Butternut-Squash-Chili

                                                                30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                  31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                  Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                    32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                    Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                      33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                      Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                        34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                        If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                          35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                          Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                            36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                            Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                              37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                              You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                  39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                  Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                    40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                    You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

                                                                                    stuffed-sweet-potatoes

                                                                                      Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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