People think travel is expensive, but if you learn how to find cheap hotels, you can shave hundreds or even thousands of dollars off your travel bill. Today I'll show you four easy hotel booking tips that'll help you find cheap hotel deals like an expert, and we're not just talking about dinky budget hotels either. This works for luxury hotels as well. The tips are in order from least to most expensive, plus a bonus tip at the end. All of these tips have different use cases, and they're all good to have in your tool belt – even the small ones – because it all adds up in the end. The first tip is to use apps. Now, this one is incredibly simple. Many people like doing their travel research on the computer because you can open up loads of different tabs and compare prices and things. But when it comes time to book, do it on the booking website's mobile app.
Use in just a second, booking websites want the masses to download and get hooked on their mobile applications so they often offer cheaper prices and different discounts that are mobile-only. Some sites even offer extra discount codes for first-time users when you download their app. Now, you're not always going to find mobile discounts available but it's definitely worth checking. Also, if you're traveling with multiple people, you should check the prices on each person's account because for some reason, whenever my wife looks at her account, they offer more discounts and it's cheaper than when I log into my application and use it. Tip number two is Google hotel search. There are tons of different hotel booking sites out there like Booking, Agoda, and Expedia, and some of these sites are stronger in certain countries compared to others. The prices between these apps are often similar but not always. We tend to use Booking.com a lot.
Really flexible cancellation policies, but that's not necessarily the best way to do it. We could be easily missing out on cheaper prices listed on other booking sites. Now, it can be a pain to compare everything manually between the different sites, so if you're lazy, you can just use Google hotel search to compare everything instantly. Google Hotel search is considered a meta-search engine, and so it searches all the different search engines at once, and then it shows you the prices for each one all in one place. It's super handy, but once in a while, you'll find some bugs. For example, a couple of times, the photos that Google was showing for a property were actually for a different property. So you have to be careful and double-check, but it's a good starting-off point to kind of get an overview of all the different prices really fast. Speaking of Google, if you want to quickly learn how to find cheap flights using Google Flights, check out this video.
Next tip: number three is last-minute deal sites. If you like to live on the wild side and plan at the last second, there are a bunch of different sites that claim to show you the best last-minute deals. Some work better than others, but two notable websites are Priceline and Hotwire. The last-minute deals on these sites are often between 20% and 70% off the normal price. For example, here are a few of the current deals right now on the Hotwire homepage. Also, note this big section here that talks about discounts for using their mobile app. Anyway, these huge discounts come with one big catch, and that is that you're booking a mystery hotel. They don't actually tell you the exact hotel that you're going to be staying at. They give you a star rating, reviews, a general rough location, and a description of the hotel, but they don't.
Give you the actual name of the hotel. They do, however, give you three different options on the hotel that you could be buying so you know that you're getting at least one of those three. There's a trick to narrowing it down and figuring out the exact hotel that you're going to book on these mystery sites. So make sure to subscribe and leave me a comment below if you want me to make that video. Anyway, the reason it's set up like this is because these big luxury hotel brands have open rooms that they need to fill but they don't want to just give out huge discounts to anyone because that would dilute the value of their hotel brand. And so they use these mystery hotels as a way to fill their open spots. Because of this, you'd think that the very best deals are on the last, last, last minute bookings, but I found that that's not actually always the case. I've even tried searching for hotels a couple.
Months out on these last-minute booking sites, and it turns out the prices were still cheaper than what it would be on a normal site like Expedia. That said, some people just get weirded out by not being able to know a hundred percent which hotel they're booking. For those types of people, I recommend this next option. The next way to find cheap hotels is reward points. I did a whole other video on how to use rewards points to find dirt-cheap flights, like my five-dollar flight from the US to Europe. So, you can check that one out if you want a full step-by-step walkthrough on what the process looks like. But really, the exact same idea applies to hotels. You open a rewards card and then use it for all your everyday purchases until you receive a huge signup bonus. Then, your bonus points, which are often worth hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars, hit your account.
Account: Finally, you can use these bonus points instead of cash to book your hotel rooms. Now, there are several different cards specific to different hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, and Hayat. But they're also bank rewards cards where you earn more general points that you can transfer to each of these different brands, making it a lot more flexible. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards, which you can earn with pretty much any Chase rewards card, can be transferred to Hyatt, Marriott, or IMG hotels. This makes it easier for beginners who aren't super loyal to one brand or the other. Overall, this rewards point strategy is a great way to score cheap and free accommodation for more luxury travelers. But since we're more budget-minded travelers, we usually find cheap accommodation in other ways so that we can save our points for free flights. And that leads me to my bonus tip, which is to be flexible with your location if you're dying to save on travel.
To go on vacation, but have a limited hotel budget, just choose a cheap country that has cheap hotels. For example, we were recently traveling in Spain and looking for hotels in Seville, Spain, and we couldn't find anything under $80 to $100 that wasn't super far from the city center or had horrible reviews or something. But if you're willing to flow across the sea for a few hours down into Morocco, as we did, you can find super cheap places that are really cool. For example, this one that had an epic view that we paid just $15 per night or this other one that looked like it came straight out of a museum that cost just $20 a night and included two big breakfasts. Now, these are by no means five-star resorts, but they were super unique, cool, and unforgettable. Plus, how can you argue with $15 bucks a night? You can often negotiate even cheaper prices by booking your first night through a booking website and then extending your stay.
Stay directly with the hotel, just be careful when doing this in popular destinations or during high tourist season. Because the last thing you want is to try to extend and they're all booked out, and you have to switch hotels. These are just a few of the tricks that we use to save money on travel. For even more cheap travel hacks that can save you thousands of dollars, check out this playlist next.