I recently booked an apartment for what will be my mom and I’s 3rd annual Mother-Daughter weekend in the Grey Bruce area. When looking for accommodation, there’s a few things I do to ensure I get what I feel is the best bang for my buck, so here are my travel tips on finding the perfect accommodation without breaking the bank!
As I said, I booked my accommodation for our weekend which is in May… so about a month in advance. Depending on how busy your destination is, the time of the year, and if there’s anything else going on in the city at the time, it’s good to think ahead and take a look at your options. If you have access to a car, it might also be worth thinking about staying a little further outside any major areas to save some money without sacrificing amenities!
Try Being A Little Adventurous
If you don’t mind taking a gamble and not knowing exactly where you’ll be staying, give Hotwire a shot. It’ll give you the general area of where the hotel is located, along with all the amenities included (WiFi, pool, breakfast, etc). There is also a rating system of previous Hotwire users where they can weigh in about what they thought of the hotel during their stay. Often at a great discounted rate, you’ll be surprised where you might end up! As soon as you hit confirm and your payment goes through, you’ll find out who’s roof will be over your head. I’ve used Hotwire twice now, and both times have worked out fantastically. I was able to save over $20/night on anything else I could find in the area – with breakfast included! This meant I saved even more, and was one of the reasons why I was able to make it down to California for the WITS16 Conference.
Opt for Ma & Pa Hotels…
By this I mean avoid your Holiday Inns and instead go for a local establishment. Often these places have cheaper prices, and while they may not have all the fancy bells and whistles as some of the higher-end hotels do, you just might be surprised at what they have to offer. I’ve had great stays at non-chain hotels and I find the staff are often nicer and more welcoming. Always do your research ahead of time though – reviews are key for this!
…Or Support the Locals…
Airbnb is perfect for this! I’ve been a huge fan of the site ever since I started using it back in 2013, and because of it I’ve had some wonderful accommodation! With Airbnb I found an awesome photo studio which my boyfriend and I stayed in over Valentine’s, a beautiful cedar cottage that was built by the owners’ Grandfather, and even an amazing studio apartment in Ottawa that had a bottle of champagne waiting for me during my second stay! I love Airbnb since it means I’m supporting regular people just like myself, and it’s often much more cozy and welcoming than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. You can also find some sweet pads like rooftop apartments, old schoolhouses that have been converted, and even boats! Another thing to look for is places with a kitchen. This way you can also save money by cooking your own meals instead of eating out all the time! Want to use Airbnb for your next stay? Sign up using my referral link by clicking here and you can get $45CDN off!
…Or Avoid Traditional Accommodation Entirely
In Iceland Robin and I rented camping gear for three nights as it was cheaper than any Airbnb or hotel we could find for a single night! If you don’t mind roughing it a little bit (and having to walk outside a little to go to the bathroom), I’d say it’s definitely an option to look into. It also meant we could sleep by waterfalls, and wake up to beautiful views like this one!
Use Loyalty Programs to Your Advantage
I may have said earlier to try and avoid hotel chains, but I’ve seen many other bloggers use their loyalty program rewards for amazing deals. However, I prefer to be loyal to Hotels.com as they have a great program – book 10 nights through their website and you’ll get an 11th night free which is worth the average of the previous 10 you booked. I’ve redeemed 3 nights since signing up with them in 2010, all of which have been $80CDN or higher. If I’m going to be booking accommodation anyway, why not earn a free night from it at the same time? They also have ‘secret prices’, available to members only, which can get you 30%-50% sometimes!
Beware of Taxes and Fees
Most sites don’t include the taxes and fees while you’re searching but on all of the sites I’ve mentioned, you can view the total including the taxes and fees before committing. Just be sure to pay attention to them as some hotels tack on extra fees that you may not immediately notice (like parking).
There you have it! Here’s a few of the places I turn to in order to get as much as I can for my money’s worth while I travel. Hopefully a few of these will help you on your adventures! If you need help finding a cheap flight to get to your accommodation, check out my travel tips!