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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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      Published on July 4, 2018

      Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

      Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

      Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

      The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

      One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

      Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

      1. Personal Capital

        When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

        Here are some of its main features:

        • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
        • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
        • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

        With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

        Available for: iOS and Android

        2. Mint

          If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

          Here are some of its main features:

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          • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
          • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
          • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

          Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          3. YNAB

            Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

            Here are some of its main features:

            • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
            • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
            • Customized categories setting saving goals

            The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

            Available for: iOS and Android

            4. Wealthfront

              Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
              • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
              • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
              • Daily tax loss harvesting

              Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

              Available for: iOS and Android

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              5. Clarity Money

                If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                Available for: iOS and Android

                6. Acorns

                  What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Automatic contribution option
                  • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                  • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                  Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  7. Albert

                    Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                    • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                    • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                    While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                    Available for: iOS

                    8. Prism

                      Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • View all your account balances in one glance
                      • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                      • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                      If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                      Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                      9. Mvelopes

                        Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                        • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                        • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                        Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                        Available for: iOS and Android

                        10. Wallaby

                          Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                          • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                          • Free to use

                          If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                          Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                          It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                          You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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