Where to stay, where to stay? Always a tough question when you’re visiting an unfamiliar city. If you have friends in the area, ask if you can crash with them during your trip. Just remember you’re a guest and be courteous. Buying a gift card for their favorite local restaurant or grocery store as a thank you doesn’t hurt either! This can save you a bunch of money and gives you a free tour guide to the city. Score!
For the times when you don’t have a place to stay there are many options for finding a fantastic hotel at an even more fantastic price! Here are some sites that can help in your quest:
Expedia and Travelocity: These sites are about the same and it usually comes down to user preference. I tend to book with Expedia more often solely out of habit. It does help to check both sites. Sometimes one has hotels the other doesn’t or is running a special discount.
Hotels.com: Hotels.com is pretty awesome, especially if you sign up for their emails. I get emails from them about once a week with deals and sale offers.
TravelZoo: TravelZoo has the most amazing weekly email with great deals on everything from vacation packages to savings on car rentals. They also profile a city in each, which can coincidentally be the one you’re visiting (happened for me when I was visiting Phoenix- happy surprise). Sometimes they offer deals on tickets to baseball games, so I highly recommend checking their site and at least signing up. Word of warning: the weekly deals tend to go fast!
Priceline: For those who are set on getting the most for your money, use the other sites to research hotels and prices. After you gather that information, bid on the hotel of your choice using Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” option to get an even lower deal.
A word of caution to extreme deal seekers: sometimes the price of a hotel is so low because it is in an area you should probably avoid. Usually paying $20 more a night is better than getting shot, but maybe that’s just me. If you’re unsure on the area, check the hotel reviews or give the hotel a call.
Do you have a hotel website that gives killer deals that I didn’t mention? Have a hotel disaster story or words of caution? Please tell!