Admit it. You want to save money. Swiping that shiny plastic credit card is beautiful but secretly it’s slowly killing you inside. I get it! I’m as stingy as they come. In fact, in the past I’ve been TOO stingy – especially when it came to traveling. Sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do (see my post There’s a Snake in my Boot! about the last time I was stingy and naive with hotels) and sometimes it can work out for you if you know how to find a good way to go about getting something cheaper but still at good quality.
I’ve recently began couponing and researching member rewards programs so I can start saving money the right way! One of the ones I use is MyCokeRewards. I’ve been saving codes for months so I could start getting some big rewards. Oddly enough, they had some travel rewards! One of which really caught my attention! It was a $50 hotel gift card through MyHotelGiftCard.com (only accessible with the gift card) for only 100 MCR points! I had used five 20-point codes to get my 100 points for this. The 20-point codes are on the 24 packs of cokes which I get from my mother who is a Diet Coke fiend. I purchased the reward with my points and minutes later I was comparing prices on the gift card website. Unfortunately, you can’t go combining offers. For example, I couldn’t put the $50 gift card on top of my AAA member discount.
So instead of spending $400 on a hotel for a week, I got a discounted rate through the website PLUS the $50 gift card. I only paid $310. That’s not bad! It is a 22% discount! I’ll take it! I booked my fiancé and I a room at the Days Inn Wilbur and Orville Wright Oceanfront in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina for a whole week! I thought the hotel would be the budget breaker for this vacation, but it’s been quite the budget relief!
Going back to what I said earlier about quality of hotels after what happened in Byron, GA last summer, I fully researched this hotel before I booked it. Here are some good steps to doing some quality research on a hotel you’re inquiring about:
- Do a Google search. Ratings come up right away within the first 5 search results in the initial search. Click on a bunch of them and read through critic and customer/guest reviews! You’ll get industry critiques as well as fellow traveler insights on the hotel.
- Search on travel websites. Go to Yelp.com, Kayak.com, Expedia.com, etc. and see what they rate the hotel.
- Go to travel blogs! People who write travel blogs have stayed in tons of hotels and know what to look for when it comes to quality. They’ll let you know the nitty-gritty!
- Look the specific hotel up on FaceBook.com! This is where people lose their criticism filters and get real with what they have to say. They don’t hold anything back! Not to mention, a lot of hotel pages on FaceBook update daily and do real-time posts. It has the potential to show the hospitality of the hotel and the area. You can get updated pictures of the hotel and the events and amenities that they have to offer. Honestly, Days Inn Oceanfront ‘s FaceBook page was the deal maker for me!
- AAA.com. I know, I sound obsessed. But they offer professional ratings of hotels within the AAA network that are reliable and updated and differ from many of the other hotel ratings based on standards and pricing.
Do your research and get to traveling! Take care of each other.