debaird via flickr
People don't have to sleep in their cars or in tents to save money on vacation. There are several easy ways to save money on accommodations.
Kristen Kuchar at Money Crashers says the first thing to figure out is a vacation budget. From there, people can decide the trade-offs between having a nicer hotel versus, for example, going out to nicer restaurants.
Kuchar also recommends being flexible about when to go on vacation. The seasonal costs can vary widely.
"Traveling during the offseason costs less and allows you to avoid contending with crowds, which makes sightseeing easier," she says. "Even staying in a hotel midweek instead of during a weekend can save you money."
The real estate mantra of "location, location, location" is also important. Closer to the action means a higher priced hotel. A few miles away can drop the price, but be careful: further away could add transportation costs into the mix and more time stuck in traffic.
Kuchar also recommends bundling vacation costs together in one deal: "Through websites like Expedia, you can acquire cheap airfare, a hotel reservation, and a rental car in a package, saving hundreds of dollars."
Diener says sometimes hotels have third-night promotions. Many people got to hotels for only two nights, so some hotels lower prices to get people to stay an extra third night.
Another tip from Diener is to think beyond chain hotels and consider independent, boutique hotels: "More adventurous travelers like to find something that's more unique and charming and kind of reflects the city that they're going to."
A list article from the Deseret News last year offered 16 tips to save money at hotels, such as trying a business hotel for weekends.
Kuchar at Money Crashers suggests leaving behind the idea of hotels entirely and trying, instead, home exchanges where people live in each other's homes for a few days. Airbnb.com is another way of finding a variety of places to crash.
Once people get a hotel, the quest for saving money doesn't end. Many hotels add fees for various services that don't show up in the hotel cost quotes. People should try to find out all costs associated with a hotel when making decisions.
But not everybody worries about saving money at a hotel. An Associated Press article by Scott Mayerowitz and Christopher S. Rugaber finds what the super rich expect from their hotels.
"Private elevators, personal shopping assistants, six-bedroom suites — even helipads," they write. "Luxury hotels are catering to financial elites from Russia, China, Brazil or the Middle East who now routinely hop around the world and don't mind dropping $20,000 a night for a glamorous accommodation."