The travel and tourism industry has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and many hotels are battling low occupancy rates. While it is tempting to stay at home, this is the best time to take advantage of low rates and discounted airfares, if you can.
The key to saving on hotel rooms is to be flexible with your travel dates. You can save hundreds of dollars by flying on less popular days and staying in hotels during the week instead of the weekends.
Another way to save money is to choose a hotel chain and sign up for their loyalty point program, which often offers free stays after you earn a certain number of points. Another option is to look at what the price of the hotel includes-parking, breakfast, fitness club access, happy hour-to see if these extras are worth the cost of your room.
Airbnb and other short-term rental services are booming as travelers seek a more authentic experience in their travels. This can be a great option for families or groups who prefer a private space with more amenities than a typical hotel room. These options also tend to be more affordable than traditional hotels and offer a wider variety of accommodations, from sofas in a stranger’s living room to entire homes and condos.
Vacation rentals can also be a cheaper alternative to hotels for solo travelers who want the comforts of home without the cost. Many people also find that renting an apartment or house is more convenient than navigating public transportation and finding food. Lastly, renting a property usually gives the traveler a more local experience and allows them to interact with the locals and get a feel for the culture in a new place.
Prepaid hotel rates are a big savings for anyone who is certain of their travel plans. But, these are usually non-refundable and can be a burden for those whose plans may change.
Inflation is a big factor that can drive prices higher on both hotel stays and flights. This is true even if the specific travel demand doesn’t change, as higher worker wages, increased property costs and interest payments on businesses all pass along to consumers.
In addition, the weakened U.S. dollar can make foreign travel more expensive, especially since the majority of Americans’ bookings are for international destinations. So, it’s important for travelers to be prepared not only for a busy travel season but one that will likely be more expensive than normal. HerMoney has tips to help you save on both travel and hotels.