One of the most expensive items on any trip would probably be the hotel (that is, if you can’t scrounge an invite to stay at a friend’s or relative’s home with your brood in tow). But there are ways to cut cost on lodgings without necessarily sparing some of the luxuries you would find in any decent hotel.
- Book through third-party booking sites that offer some kind of reward for using their services. One site that was my go-to offered a free hotel stay (less than $100 worth) after the 10th visit. Membership at hotel rewards programs may be convenient, but you may not always get the full range of choices offered by a third-party site.
- Use the filter option when choosing the right hotel for your family. My usual filters include free breakfast (save money on another meal), at least a 2½ star rating, non-smoking rooms, and most importantly, prices before tax shouldn’t go over $100 (this will really keep that hotel cost down). Pick what works for you and your family and you’ll be surprised that there are actually plenty of good options even with your filters in place.
- Don’t rely on star ratings. During the peak seasons for travel, it may be challenging to find a decent hotel for the budget you have. You could book a decent 2-star hotel if you carefully go through the reviews. There are hosts of sites that offer customer reviews of motels/hotels, and if you are really working under a tight budget, spend the time to read the reviews before making a final decision.
- Book a little further outside the destination. If you are visiting a popular tourist or family destination (i.e., a theme park), check out the adjacent city or town to book your hotel and you will probably end up paying less for the same-rated hotel near the tourist hotspot. When we decided to do Sesame Place for two consecutive days, we booked a hotel 15 minutes away so we could stay within our budget.
- Ask for personal recommendations. If you don’t have time to do the online research, ask other mommy-friends (or daddy-buddies) who may have taken their little ones on the same trip you are planning. They may know of some secret gem of a place that is still affordable or they may have other tricks up their sleeves… you just never know!