10 Clever Hotel Hacks That Will Save You Money



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Suitcase delivered standing in hotel room. concept of Hotel service and travel

Booking on a Budget

With the cost of living continuing to climb, the times when you manage to save enough money to take a trip have become true moments of luxury. But just because you're treating yourself by staying at a nice hotel doesn't mean that you've completely lost the ability to save money by thinking outside of the box

You've got to be a bit creative and unconventional when it comes to saving money on a hotel room. Read on to discover some of the best hotel hacks used by seasoned travelers to help you save money the next time you book a room.

A receptionist is making an online reservation at a hotel reception.

Book Your Stay Directly With The Hotel

Sometimes the best course of action when it comes to booking your next stay at a hotel is to reach out to the hotel directly. More often than you might think, by contacting a hotel directly you may be eligible for enticing discounts and upgrades that otherwise aren’t listed on the hotel’s site, through travel booking sites, or featured in their social media posts. 

You might end up happening upon the Holy Grail of hotel discounts if you experiment with booking during the hotel’s off-peak or shoulder season (such as booking a New York hotel during January or February). Sometimes, during off-season a hotel will have numerous rooms completely empty that they need to book for wildly agreeable price or offer an upgrade to a better room for less. From there, it’s the simple matter of being a calculated negotiator. 

Man Booking Hotel Using Smartphone

Book Your Hotel Room 15 Days Out

A  recent study by NerdWallet took a look at over 2,500 hotel room rates throughout 2019, 2020, and then the first half of 2021. These hotels were plotted out across the globe, had a wide variety when it came to the class and brand, and then the room rates themselves were compared for nights 15 days out vs. four months out. 

As often as 66% of the time, the hotel rooms were cheaper when booked 15 days out vs. four months out. Then, the disparity ended up being even more noticeable in 2021, where folks had an even better chance at scoring a deal through booking a hotel room last-minute. Those same rooms that NerdWallet’s team analyzed from 2021 ended up being cheaper 73% of the time when they were booked 15 days out vs. four months out. 

Related: Hostel vs. Hotel: Why Redditors Are Ditching Hostels and Airbnbs for Hotels

Man watching TV, lying on sofa, legs on table

Stream Movies And TV Shows on Your Computer or Tablet

Whether you’re on a trip for business or pleasure, you'll likely have your computer with you. Even if you don’t normally travel with your computer or a tablet, this point here is a call to action. Many hotels offer an array of movies and shows that you can purchase for streaming. 

However, if your hotel is already offering up complimentary Wi-Fi, you can save yourself the typically steep prices of ordering a movie through the hotel by either using your hotel TV’s HDMI port or by casting your favorite shows and movies to the TV from your computer, tablet, or smartphone by using Google Chromecast. 

Related: 6 Best Streaming Services, According to Frugal Redditors

All that you need. Waitress in uniform delivering tray with food in a room of hotel. Room service. Focus on tableware

Order Room Service From The Kids Menu

The key to hacking this particularly clever, wallet-protecting travel tip is to order that meal off the kid's menu through your hotel's room service. What would originally be an alarmingly pricey brunch meal off the hotel's traditional adult menu, could end up being a similarly portioned kid's menu meal that doesn't leave your bank account noticeably down for the count. 

Related: The 20 Best Free Hotel Breakfasts in America

Woman enjoys magnificent view from hotel window

Take Advantage Of Promos And Loyalty Programs

If you’re fortunate enough to have an elite status with at least one or more hotel loyalty programs you could be able to start benefiting from great perks like early check-ins, later checkouts, complimentary breakfasts, and even the occasional though heavily appreciated free room upgrade. 

What’s more is that if you already have an elite status with one hotel’s loyalty program, it could be as simple as you reaching out to another hotel to inquire about their loyalty program and potentially receive a matched status in the process. Numerous hotels are already a part of a larger chain, so staying at a hotel for a certain amount of nights is usually enough to get you through the door when it comes to gaining elite status across the entirety of the chain. 

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Luxury bar with drinks and bar stools

Take a Rain Check On The Hotel Bar

While there are plenty of hotel bars out there that can be dangerously inviting when it comes to their large TVs, cheery customers, catchy music, vaguely reasonable drink specials, etc., they can also be terrible money-holes that can add all kinds of unwanted, accumulating charges to the total cost of your stay. 

So, ask the concierge or use your phone to hunt down the nearest convenience and/or grocery store, where you can stock up on whatever kinds of drinks and snacks you might want to start your own in-room hotel bar. That way you also avoid the pricey temptation of the in-room mini bar.

Related: 42 Incredible Free Amenities at Hotels Across America

Pocket wifi

Use A Wi-Fi Travel Router

While, thankfully, plenty of hotels are ready to offer you complimentary Wi-Fi service, there are also just as many hotels that will charge you anywhere from $10-20 a day to use their Wi-Fi. Not only could you end up having to bear the brunt of daily Wi-Fi charges, but some hotels simply have terrible Wi-Fi. If you're going to rely on your hotel's Wi-Fi to help you get your work done while you stay there, then you might as well shell out the initially required money to invest in a nice Wi-Fi travel router. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of enhanced security while using your own router, as opposed to using a publicly configured Wi-Fi router. 

Related: Need a Packing List? Here Are 10 Essential Items for Travelers, According to Redditors

Businessman typing on a computer keyboard, customer service satisfaction survey concept. Business people choose the highest satisfaction rating and give 5 stars. Satisfaction, rating, rating.
Sakorn Sukkasemsakorn/istockphoto

Write A Hotel Review In Exchange For A Discount

If you're someone who has generated a following on a site like Trip Advisor or Yelp, you might as well see what kinds of money-saving benefits all that hard work can serve to provide you during your travels. 

Simply reach out to the hotel manager to gauge their potential interest on providing discounts or upgrades in exchange for you providing exposure to their hotel through your platform. Granted, you'll want to make sure that you maintain full transparency with your followers by letting them know that you received a discount for writing up the review. 

birthday cake at hotel

Let Your Hotel Know About Any Special Occasions

We recommend being honest about any special occasions and not electing to take the inspiredly creative, though deceptive route of dreaming up an imaginary birthday situation. If you or anyone in your party has an upcoming birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc., you should go ahead and let the hotel staff know during your stay. Perfect strangers can surprise you with acts of kindness, and even if it's just a free slice of cake, that's still something to celebrate. 

Laundry hotel cleaning services
Igor Vershinsky/istockphoto

Pass On The Hotel Laundry Service

While pleasantly convenient, your average hotel laundry service can end up running you quite the sizable tab. Instead of paying for your hotel's laundry service while you're out on the road, you can get crafty with your own travel-sized laundry detergent and your hotel bathroom's sink. Just make sure to give your newly cleaned clothing items enough time to dry out on the bathroom's shower rod.