Once you’ve figured out where you’re going. You need to figure out where you are staying! This is something that requires a bit of research, especially being in a new place with unfamiliar surroundings.
Pull Up a Map
You may think this is silly but when we were looking at hotels for our trip to Europe we thought we were getting great deals. Once we did a little research on the hotel locations and entered the location into the city map, they were 30-40 minutes outside the city! It was crazy and we were glad we did the research! You may think that staying 30-40 minutes outside the city isn’t that far but you then have to factor in travel time and transportation costs. This can eat into your budget and it can eat into your sightseeing times!
Bundle Bundle Bundle
Bundling through sites like expedia and priceline will get you awesome prices! We bundled our flights and 2 nights stay in a hotel in Dublin and we essentially got our flights from Nashville to Dublin for $500 RT. It was crazy how much we saved! Now, you don’t have to just bundle flight and hotel. If you’ve found a great price on either of those, you can bundle flight and car, or car and hotel, or hotel and car. The options for bundling vary but the outcome is always going to save you some money!
Google All The Things
Google your hotel options. These hotels may have put their rooms up on different websites and one of those websites may have a room cheaper than what you’ve been looking at. We did this to make sure we were getting the best possible prices while staying in London. You can also use google to search for some out of the box accommodations. We are “glamping” on Loch Ness for part of our stay in Scotland! We just happened upon the website for glamping while we were searching for things to do. The owners of Loch Ness Glamping don’t advertise anywhere other than their website itself. So if we stuck to searching big brand websites we never would have found this lovely little place!
Check Apps AND Websites
I only say this because sites like Expedia also have app versions of their sites. The app price can vary significantly from the website price. Sometimes hotels that are on the website are nowhere to be found on the app and vice versa. They also tend to run sales that are either exclusively on the website, or exclusively on the app. That’s why it’s always best to check both versions!
READ THE REVIEWS!
Trust your fellow travelers! Before you say some people are just super picky, I know and you can definitely tell which reviews were left by those people.. But if you have 15 people saying that the service was severely lacking or that the rooms were dirty, then you may need to heed their warnings. The last thing you want is to start your vacation off in a gross situation!
If you want to know something that isn’t listed on the website or in the reviews, call or email the hotel directly! They will be able to tell you what you need to know and more than likely put you at ease about booking!
Look at the Perks
When we were booking our London hotel we had a few musts when it came to perks. We wanted where we were staying to have WIFI, Breakfast included, and a little Extra room. We needed WIFI to be able to call our families and do some uploading and saving throughout our stay. We wanted breakfast to be included because that alone saves a ton of money in your budget. The whole extra space thing is because most London hotels have tiny rooms. Just keep in mind the perks you want and make sure your hotel meets those needs!
Watch for Fees and Deposits
Our London hotel has a £50 deposit that wasn’t included in the price of the hotel through Expedia. It was in the fine print of the confirmation email we got after we booked. Just be sure to watch for these hidden little fees before booking.
I know that staying in hostels can be a great way for you to save some money that you can use on other experiences during your travels BUT hostels could be too good to be true. You really need to research the hostels that you have chosen before you pull the trigger and book. Make sure that they have a secure place for you to store your valuables and CHECK THE PRICES PER NIGHT!! We looked into a hostel for our stay in London and it was going to be almost $235 a night!!! That’s double what we paid for a 4 star hotel room with free breakfast!!!