Travelling overseas can be a costly affair. However, there are possible ways to save on hotels or make your hotel stay worth it.
Usually, booking a room at the last minute will result in cost savings (yes, unlike plane tickets where booking early is better). But do you know when you should book directly with the hotel, or through a third party site?
Moreover, did you know that some hotels offer special services and freebies for children?
Here are eight hotel hacks so that you can use during your next family vacation to free up more cash for your trip.
#1 BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE HOTEL IF YOU ARE ON A LOYALTY PROGRAMME
Hotel conglomerates such as Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide have a hotel loyalty programme where you can gain points if you book directly on their website.
Usually, most major hotel chains do not grant points if you book through a third-party site. This is to push massive traffic to their respective sites instead.
The implementation of a points system helps to generate loyal customers and guests who want to rack up points for rewards and promotions. Large families who constantly travel together will stand to gain from loyalty programmes.
#2 USE CREDIT CARDS THAT PARTNER DIRECTLY WITH THE THIRD-PARTY SITE
Third party sites such as Agoda collaborate with banks to offer Agoda credit card promotions. For example, back in March, there was a promotion where OCBC card users got to enjoy 12 per cent off worldwide hotel bookings.
Similarly, Expedia has an ongoing partnership with DBS Bank. If you book here, you will get to enjoy 10 per cent off eligible hotel bookings on the Expedia site.
If your credit card has a collaboration with the third party side, consider booking through the third party site to enjoy greater cost savings.
#3 TAKE NOTE OF THE BEST BOOKING, CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT DATES
Travel website Kayak analysed its search data and revealed the best and worst days to book rooms and check-in and out. The results are as follows:
Cheapest day to book a hotel: Friday or Saturday
Most expensive day to book a hotel: Tuesday
Cheapest day to check-in: Sunday
Most expensive day to check-in: Friday
Cheapest day to check-out: Friday
Most expensive day to check-out: Sunday
Here's when to book your hotel (international trips):
|Length of Stay||When to Book|
|Short Stays (1-3 days)||6 days in advance|
|1-2 Week Stays||2 weeks in advance|
|2+ Week Stays||4 weeks in advance|
#4 BOOK HOTELS WHERE KIDS EAT FOR FREE
If you are travelling with your spouse and young children, consider booking hotels where kids get to eat for free to save on food bills.
For example, at Marriott Hotels, kids ages 4 to 12 get to enjoy free breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the children's menu.
At Holiday Inn hotels, children also get to eat for free, although there are age restrictions based on the country the hotel is located in. However, the Kids Eat Free offer is limited to up to four children per dining family per meal, or up to two children per parent per meal.
#5 WAKE UP EARLY FOR THE INCLUDED BREAKFAST
Many international hotels offer a complimentary breakfast to all guests. However, there are often time restrictions, such as an 8 am cut off time for breakfast.
Although travelling can take a toll on your rest time, you should try to wake up early to enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee and indulge in a filling breakfast with your family. Breakfast will also keep you energised all morning as you explore the city.
#6 MAKE USE OF CHILDCARE SERVICES AND COMPLIMENTARY GIFTS FOR KIDS
Some hotels and resorts provide childcare services for residents at no or low cost. Simply google "hotels with free childcare" and a list of hotels and resorts from Europe to Australia will be shown.
Should you want a romantic night out with your partner, leaving the kids at the in-house childcare centre might well be worth it.
Most hotels also offer freebies for young children, such as a colouring book with markers or an amenity kit. Try asking reception or call the hotel service line to request for them.
ALSO READ: 5 ways to save money on top hotels
#7 BRING SNACKS OR BUY FROM CONVENIENCE STORES NEARBY
We all know that consuming food from the hotel's minibar is a costly affair.
To avoid unnecessary expenditure, buy snacks from a supermarket or nearby convenience store before you retreat into your room.
#8 REMEMBER TO ASK THE CONCIERGE FOR COMPLIMENTARY PARKING
If you plan to drive overseas and want to rent a car for a few days, remember to ask concierge for free parking instead of driving into the car park straightaway.
That way, you will be able to save on overnight parking charges, which are typically quite expensive.
This article was first published in Dollars and Sense.