There’s nothing like crashing at a nice hotel after a long day of driving for vacation. Unfortunately, lodging gets expensive and can eat up a lot of your travel budget. When my family travels, one of the first thoughts that cross my mind is, “How can I find cheap hotels near me?”.
It’s easy to overspend when you don’t research before traveling. Worse yet, if you don’t plan, you risk limited choice causing you to spend even more. That’s the last thing you want.
If you need to find cheap hotel rooms for an upcoming trip or a last-minute vacation, our guide shares a few of the top choices to save money on vacations.
Easy Ways to Find Cheap Hotels Near Me
When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised at the cost of staying at a hotel? If you’re like me, you can’t remember the last time you felt this way.
It’s nothing to spend $125, or more, on an “economy” hotel and wonder why it cost so much.
You may not realize this, but hotel chains feel a similar pain. They need to fill their rooms to stay profitable. Empty rooms result in lost income.
Many hotels entice travelers with discounts and other perks to attract business. This provides a terrific way to reduce your costs without staying at a “fleabag” hotel.
If you want to save money on travel, consider one of the below nine ways to find cheap hotels for your next trip.
1. Find The Lowest Price
Often the best way to find an affordable hotel room for tonight (and beyond) is on the internet. There are countless resources to use to save money on travel.
When it comes to finding the lowest price, there are a few websites that you can use to find a low-cost hotel that fits all of your needs.
The first option is Hotels.com. The Hotels.com site makes it easy to find cheap hotels, regardless of your situation.
When you go to their site, you use the search function to locate a hotel. Simply provide a few pieces of information to begin the search, including:
- Where you want to visit
- The dates of your visit
- How many people you’ll have in the room
From there, you’ll receive dozens of choices. You can also filter options by price, amenities, star rating, and guest rating.
As an example, I looked at the super cheap hotels near me and was able to find a savings of 25 to 30 percent when compared to the hotel websites.
Another website that you can use is Momondo. It works similarly to Hotels.com, but their filter functions are a little more exhaustive.
You can sort hotels by star rating, guest rating, amenities, and “freebies” (like free breakfast and free internet).
However, when I was searching the same hotels that I had on Hotels.com, I did find that the options on Momondo were slightly more expensive.
Of course, your search will vary, so using both would be a smart idea.
2. Get Price Alerts Through Kayak
While you can compare prices easily online, maybe you have a specific hotel in mind or want to be near a site or location you’re visiting. If that’s the case, searching through dozens of hotels may not make sense.
So instead, you can set up price alerts. Kayak makes this super easy. To set up a price alert, all you have to do is sign up or log in to Kayak and set your parameters.
From there, Kayak will alert you whenever a hotel fits your parameters and price range. You can then choose or deny the option.
If you choose to go this route, I recommend starting the price alert several months before your trip. That way, you can get the best deal and won’t be rushing to book a hotel.
3. Get Cash Back on Your Stay
Sometimes, you can find cheap nice hotels near you, but still want to save more money. One of the top ways to do that is booking a room through a cash back site.
This method lets you save money on a hotel room and receive extra cash to help supplement the cost.
Swagbucks is my favorite choice for a cash back shopping site. The Swagbucks platform is a loyalty rewards website that also offers a kickback for using their shopping portal.
You can receive up to ten percent back on your purchase through the platform.
You can use this choice if you’re looking for cheap hotels near me now, or if your trip is in the future.
Not only can you earn money shopping through Swagbucks, but you can do so in other ways, including:
- Taking paid surveys
- Using their search engine
- Testing new products
- Watching sponsored videos
You can redeem earnings, known as SB points, for gift cards to dozens of retailers. Swagbucks even offers Hotels.com gift cards if you want to use those to subsidize your travel.
Swagbucks also gives you a free $10 when you open a new account!
Read our Swagbucks app review to learn how to maximize your earnings on the platform.
4. Use Credit Card Rewards
One of the best ways to find an affordable hotel room is by using credit card rewards. There are typically two types of rewards you can earn on a credit card – cash back or points to redeem for hotel stays and flights.
Redeeming cash is self-explanatory. You contact your credit card and ask to redeem your cash rewards and apply it towards your upcoming stay.
However, using points is often the better option to save money on a hotel stay. If your credit card company partners with a hotel chain, you can redeem those points for lodging.
Alternatively, if you’re unable to use your points for a stay, many credit card companies allow you to book rooms through their portal with different partner chains. These often provide a discount.
Here are a few of the top choices for rewards credit cards that work with hotel chains for rewards booking.
5. Negotiate With The Hotel Directly
Did you know that you can negotiate a cheap hotel room for yourself? To negotiate, you call the hotel and ask if the rate they’ve listed is their best rate.
If you can ask for special discounts, or if you know a hotel nearby that is cheaper, you can mention that as well.
As long as you’re friendly and not overbearing, most likely you can negotiate a lower rate. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed, but it never hurts to try.
The worst that the hotel can say is no. Remember, they’re running a business, and they would often prefer to offer you a discount rather than leave the room empty for the evening.
6. Book The Day Of Travel
An excellent way to find cheap hotel rooms for tonight is to use HotelTonight. My husband and I used this website on a recent road trip from Kansas to New Jersey.
We planned to sleep in the rental car, but at the end of our first day, we decided at the last minute that we didn’t want that. At the last minute, we decided to book a hotel.
I looked up cheap hotels near me with vacancies and came across HotelTonight.
At first, I was a bit suspicious about the website. I had never heard of it before and didn’t know there was a website dedicated to last-minute hotel bookings. But after doing some research, I found that they were legit.
I looked up the exact zip code that we were in at that moment and booked a hotel room in less than ten minutes. I was expecting it to be super expensive, but even with fees, we only paid $89.
The hotel was safe, comfortable, and clean, which was great after 12 hours of driving.
If you decide to use HotelTonight, make sure you check the reviews of the hotels, especially if the price seems too good to be true.
HotelTonight is a third party that helps hotels fill vacancies, but some hotels may not be entirely clean or safe.
As a rule, you should read reviews of hotels regardless of the service you use to locate a place for your stay.
7. Name Your Price with Priceline
Do you like the idea of specifying the price you want to pay for a hotel? Look no further than Priceline.
Priceline used to have a “name your price tool” for flights, hotels, and rental cars. Now, they only offer it for hotels, but it’s still a helpful resource.
You enter the price you’re willing to pay for a hotel room (per night), and then Priceline will find hotels that are willing to accept that price.
The best part about name your price and Priceline is that you can book hotels around the world. It’s not just U.S.-based, so if you love country-hopping but still want to find great deals, this is a great way to do it.
8. Find A Non-Major Chain Hotel
It’s no secret that mom and pop shops are some of the most affordable and easy to work with businesses. That goes for hotels too.
If you find a family-owned or smaller chain that you like, you may end up saving a lot more money without sacrificing amenities. We like to use TripAdvisor to locate such properties.
When my family arrived in New Jersey during one of our trips, we stayed at a mom and pop type hotel. The owner worked and lived at the hotel and treated it like a bed and breakfast.
She was friendly, and when we checked in at 9:00 p.m., she offered us drinks and a discount for being friendly too. So, instead of the $99 we were supposed to spend nightly, we paid $79 because of her generosity.
To top it off, her hotel was one of the best we’ve ever used. It was well kept, clean, and super comfortable, with huge bathrooms and top of the line beds.
She offered her guests a homemade, buffet-style breakfast every morning.
It made me want to never stay at a chain hotel again.
9. Get Discounts
Last but not least, another easy way to find cheap hotel rooms is to use what you already have to save money. Many hotels work with different associations to offer discounts on lodging.
A few of those organizations include:
- Alumni groups
- Government employee
If you’re a Veteran, a senior citizen, or even work for a large company, you can often receive discounted hotel stays. Discounts vary but may result in savings of ten percent or more on your stay.
This discount may not seem significant, but when you combine it with other choices, it increases your savings.
Other Ways to Save on Travel
Locating an affordable hotel room is merely one way to save money on vacation. Below are several other ways to stretch your travel dollar.
Rent a car through HyreCar. Renting a car is often quite expensive. You don’t want to eat up too much of your travel budget for a car.
Renting a car through HyreCar is an excellent way to reduce the cost of a car rental. Using HyreCar allows you to rent a car from an individual and save money.
Think of the service as Uber for car sharing. You access available cars directly through the HyreCar app and they connect you with car owners willing to rent their cars to you.
HyreCar lets you rent by the day, week, or month and also offers insurance coverage and reasonable rates.
Take your own food. It’s easy to let food costs get out of hand when on vacation. You want to enjoy nice meals, but they also take too big of a bite out of your travel budget.
Taking food with you is an excellent way to cut costs, especially if on a road trip. Bring a cooler and some breakfast and lunch items so you only need to buy dinner.
If you’re flying to your destination, select a hotel that offers free breakfast. Depending on what the hotel offers you may get by with only purchasing one meal a day.
Book discounted excursions. No vacation is complete without taking in a few local attractions or events. However, it’s easy for expenses to get out of hand.
Groupon is one of my go-to resources to save money on such activities. Just go to Groupon.com and type in the city you’re traveling to for vacation.
The site will show you offers for discounted pricing at area attractions. It may also show you restaurant deals. Just make sure to read the fine print so you know what to expect.
There are countless ways to save money on travel. When you combine finding a cheap hotel room with a few of the above options you can save decent money.
Do you plan to travel internationally? Read our guide on where to find cheap passport photos near me to save money.
Staying at a hotel is often expensive, but there are plenty of ways to make them more affordable. Regardless if you have last-minute travel or planning a trip that’s months away, it’s probable that you can save money.
Even just using a few of these easy tips can help you save at least 20 percent off hotel stays, if not more. The best part is you don’t sacrifice any amenities; you just spend less!
What tricks do you use to find cheap hotel rooms? How much time do you spend planning trips before leaving? What’s your go-to site to save money on travel?