Accommodation is one of the most important parts of any trip. It is most important if you are a traveller who wants mid-range or high-end hotels. With this in mind, it is essential to know how to find cheap hotels near me, or at least the best prices and offers for the type of accommodation you are looking for.
Nowadays, with pages like Booking or Airbnb, it is very easy to find cheap accommodation on the internet. Nothing to do with those times when you had to pull recommendations from travel guides, internet pages that recommended hotels without criticism that you could trust, or even booking when you arrive at the destination.
Now everything is very simple. At your disposal, you have a good number of websites and applications that make it very easy for you to find your ideal accommodation at the best price. Using these tools properly and taking into account some basic tips and tricks, you will avoid overpaying for your accommodation and that your budget will fall apart.
How to find cheap hotels near me?
Below, I will explain my routine and the tips that work best for me to get the best prices on hotels and apartments. Find cheap hotels in Zurich.
Use a suitable search method. Don’t waste time looking for hotels
To find cheap flights, you can throw days and days looking for the best combinations and prices. The same can happen with hotels. Stick to a practical method and don’t waste more time than necessary, looking for cheap hotels. Remember: your time is also worth money.
My methods are:
- I search for my destination and dates in booking, applying the filters that interest me.
- Among the filters I apply: The price, location, type of accommodation. Some more as a pool if I’m interested, and above all, I put the ratings are 8 up.
- As I have previously filtered by price, I have the website show me the hotels from the best rating to worst.
- I open several windows and I discard the ones I like the least until I have a small selection.
- If I don’t find anything interesting, I change the filters.
I don’t always book the same day. Sometimes I give myself a few days of reflection if the date of the trip allows me. Of course, if I find a good offer in a hotel that I like to book directly without wasting more time, especially if it offers a free cancellation.
Before booking, I compare with websites such as HotelsCombined or Trivago to see if they offer me better prices. Anyway, as you see nothing out of the ordinary for me, the most important thing is not to go crazy, spending hours and hours on finding a hotel. My time is precious. My goal is to find a good hotel at a reasonable price without sacrificing more time than necessary.
Use the best portals
I book the vast majority of my hotels with Booking.com. It is, without a doubt, the market leader. In no other web, you will find more hotels and different types of accommodation and as many real reviews as you can trust.
It also has several advantages such as the best-guaranteed price on the market, many rooms with the possibility of free cancellation, and excellent customer service. In addition to booking, I also use Airbnb for villas and apartments. Occasionally uses Agoda when I travel to Asia.
They are not the only ones. The following are the best:
To book hotels
- Booking: The best and undisputed leader. The one I use the most.
- Hotels: A strong competitor. I do not use it.
- Agoda: The strongest in many destinations in Asia and it is growing for the rest of the world. I use it and I love it.
- Expedia: I don’t use it.
- Hotelscombined: The one I like the most.
- Trivago: I also usually look at it.
- Booking: It is also a leader in this segment.
- Hostelworld: The best alternative to booking.
- Hostelbookers: It had its moment of glory in the past. Now I see it in the doldrums.
For villas and apartments
- Airbnb: The leader and the one I use the most.
- Booking: Each time, they have more offers. In general, it is more expensive than Airbnb.
- HomeAway: Also, a very strong portal, especially in some specific destinations.
- Wimdu: An alternative when everything else fails you.
- Couchsurfing: Free accommodation in private homes.
- Lastminute: Specialized in last minute offers.
- Roomers: Book rooms that others cannot use.
- Home exchange: House exchange
Avoid the high season
Purify common sense. If you can avoid travelling when everyone does it, you will get better prices. While it is not so pleasant to visit cities in the middle of winter when it is cold and the days are shorter or to visit destinations in times when they are affected by rains and monsoons, the savings of doing so in the low season are considerable.
You can also look for a compromise. For example, in Europe, you travel very comfortably in months like April / May or September/October, avoiding July and August, months in which hotel prices are impossible.
Be flexible with your travel days
Travelling a few days before or after may be key to finding cheap hotels. Depending on the destination you visit, prices will vary greatly depending on the day of the week.
In many tourist cities, prices are lower during the week than during the weekend. In others, the opposite is the case. For example, in Brussels, you can find excellent deals during the weekend.
The Belgian capital being the headquarters of the European Institutions receives during the weekdays a massive number of business travellers and representatives of various governments and institutions.
Check the usual days of tourist arrivals and departures
On the other hand, in sun and beach holiday destinations where renting villas is very common (and recommended), it is common for many properties to be marketed for weeks and set a specific day of the week to avoid gaps between booking and booking.
I have a villa in Menorca that I rent on Airbnb and this is the method I use. My villa will only be found in the listings if you are looking for a Saturday, the day with the highest number of regular and charter flights.
Extend your stay
Extending your days of rest, you may find better deals per day in some establishments or find offers type … book 3 nights and we give you a free night of stay.
Other times as I have already mentioned, it is possible that some sites require a certain number of days to accept reservations.
Another example of this: during the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan (Thailand), many hotels and youth hostels require a minimum stay of 3 or 4 nights to accept customers.
Instead of a hotel, why don’t you consider staying in an apartment?
In the last years of each time, I choose more to stay in apartments. Especially in cities such as Rome or Amsterdam, where it is almost impossible to find cheap hotels more or less central.
As a general rule, by renting an apartment on Airbnb or by booking, you get better prices and more space. You also have all the facilities to save something by having breakfast or making a meal in the apartment.
Of course, if you travel as a family or in a group, it is more important to rent an apartment or a house with several rooms than several hotel rooms.
Stay in a hostel
Fortunately, I stopped being a low-cost traveller for a long time. Although occasionally I stay in cheap guesthouses and some other modest hotel, I no longer stay in beds in shared dormitories, nor do I do Couchsurfing, nor do I opt for different types of ultra-cheap options.
However, if you do not mind sharing a room, staying in a hostel is one of the best ways to save on accommodation. Also, the hostels give you that exotic social touch that allows you to meet people.
On the other hand, hostels do not only offer beds in shared dormitories. Many also offer single rooms with their bathroom as in any standard hotel, but generally cheaper.
Waiver of being in the centre of the city
Usually, hotels are in the most central and tourist areas are the most expensive in the city area. Often, moving away from the centre, you can get substantial price reductions in exchange for sacrificing just a few minutes on public transport per day.
A paradigmatic example is Amsterdam. It is incredible how the hotels located in the neighbourhoods outside the main canal ring. It delimits the most central area of the city, fall so much in price.
The last time I was in this city, I stayed in the South Station area, where I have visited more than once. I recommend as an alternative to the more central areas to sleep in Amsterdam.
I found an excellent offer at a 4-star hotel for half the price they charged me for a hotel of the same category in the centre.
Book rooms with free cancellation
Booking and other platforms offer a large number of places that allow you to cancel the reservation without charge until a specific date. Why not take advantage of this possibility to ensure reasonable prices?
Book rooms as far in advance as you can at reasonable prices and see monitoring the prices of other hotels or the same hotel to see if you get a better offer. Just make sure you keep track of what day you can cancel for free.
Consider what benefits each hotel offers for your reservation
What do you get for what you pay in addition to the room? Do you enter breakfast, do you have free parking? Has a self-service laundry service? Any you free airport pick-up service?
If they are included with the price of the room, these things allow you to save. Otherwise, if they are missing, you will have to spend more than expected. You have to take them into account.
Open a profile and book always logged on pages like Booking.com
The OTAs (Online Travel Agency) and Metasearch engines such as Booking, Hotels, or Agoda have loyalty programs that reward their members.
You are opening a profile in the portals that you use in addition to making your reservations faster and easier. You will also have special offers, free nights, discounts, and other benefits.
The vast majority of my hotel reservations are made with Booking.com. When you make a certain number of tickets, you access its genius program with exciting benefits such as a 10% discount on some of its hotels upon registration.
I have a level 2 that offers me advantages such as discounts of up to 15%, free breakfasts, upgrades, or free transfers from the airport, among others.
When a new hotel is opened, these in their first weeks of opening usually offer very low prices to attract their first customers. However, all that glitters is not gold.
Entering a recently opened hotel also has its risks: it is possible that they are still doing works, that the staff is not very shot, or that you have to endure smells of recent paint in yours.
Become a member of the hotel chain loyalty programs
It is the same concept as with OTAs and Metasearch engines. It is worth it if you are a regular customer of a hotel chain. If you travel for business or work, you will certainly be paid.
However, if the vast majority of your trips are for leisure, it is normal for you to stay indifferent hotel chains so you will get more out of the loyalty programs of sites such as booking or Agoda.
Use the best hotel search by region
Probably like the vast majority of people use booking.com to make your reservations. However, there are other alternatives that work very well and sometimes give you more alternatives depending on the region you are going to travel to.
Two clear examples that I have used several times are Agoda for Asia (especially Southeast Asia) and Ctrip for China. What I usually do is look at booking and when I decide on a hotel, I compare with any of these alternatives.
On one of my visits to Malaysia, I spent a few days in the Perhentian Islands, a fabulous destination, but where accommodation is scarce, much of it is of poor quality and mostly not advertised on the internet. With the booking, I was unable to find something free. However, Agoda offered me several options. I ended up booking with them.
The booking gives you the best price in the guaranteed market
The best price in the market is a guarantee offered by booking to its customers. If you find the same at a lower price, they match the price. Booking, like other Metasearch engines, requires this guarantee from their hotels to advertise with them.
However, this refers to the kind of room that hotels give to booking for marketing. The hotel may be marketing another type of room on its own or on other platforms.
That’s why when you find a hotel that you like on your favourite platform, it is worth checking the prices that the hotel page gives you and also comparing it with other metasearch engines. In my case, I usually look at the hotel page and also at Hotelscombined.
Hotelscombined the hotels Skyscanner
Hotelscombined is a very useful website to search for cheap hotels. It works with the same concept as Skyscanner (one of the best search engines to find cheap flights). Compare and present the prices of various websites such as Expedia, Booking, Agoda, Priceline, etc.
It is frankly useful. However, my searches are based a lot on the comments and reviews of the guests, and that nobody beats Booking. What I usually do is once I have decided on some hotels is to make sure in Hotelscombined that they are not cheaper elsewhere.
Travel at night
Travelling on trains and night buses is a big money saver. You save a hotel night and do not waste time travelling during the day. When you wake up, you are at your destination with the whole day ahead to explore it.
The only disadvantage is that if you don’t sleep, you end up needing a nap the next day. It is a great idea if you are able to sleep on trains or buses.
I personally hate night buses. However, I like night trains. I have travelled several times on bunk trains in Southeast Asia, and the experience has been fun, relatively comfortable, and I have saved a little money.
Read travel blogs
Travel blogs are the best source of information you can find about travel. As for accommodation, they can give you interesting tips about the destination you are going to, which can be passed to you in another way.
You can inform yourself about the particularities and customs of the destination, the best areas to stay, the best portals to search in each area, or make recommendations for specific accommodations.
On the other hand, for places that do not offer much accommodation online, in travel blogs, you can find interesting recommendations.
Sleep for free
Is it possible to sleep for free when travelling? You are right. By doing Couchsurfing, you can travel and stay all over the world without paying a cent. It is not an option that appeals to me too much and I have never tried it, but maybe you enjoy the experience.
Appear without reservation and negotiate directly
Sometimes it is possible to get the best bargains by booking accommodation directly when you arrive at your destination in which countries. There are still countries where there are establishments. It is the most basic and cheap one that does not operate on the internet.
If you travel in the low season and you appear directly, you can negotiate with the staff of several hotels. Before losing a reservation, they may lower their usual rate considerably.
In the past, I have achieved very good prices in this way travelling in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, or Indonesia. But the eye also has its risks. In my backpacking time travelling to the Gili Islands (Indonesia) without accommodation, I found that there was not a free bed in the whole island. I had to sleep a night in the open.
If you are a long-term traveller without an overly defined plan, you will probably end up working like this on more than one occasion.
If your trip is going to be a few days or a few weeks, it is best to book in advance online for cheap hotels near me and don’t waste your precious time negotiating accommodation in accommodation.