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Hotel Booking Hacks: Expert Tips to Save Big on Your Next Stay

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Have you ever felt that twinge of frustration when booking hotel stays, knowing there might be a cheaper option out there?

As an experienced globetrotter, I’ve honed a few tricks to make this process much less painful on the wallet.

So let me share a bit of the inside scoop on how to save money while booking hotels. In this post I will focus on incorporating technology like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and smart tips for savvy travelers.

Here are our tips on how to save money while booking a hotel stay

Understanding VPNs and Their Benefits

First things first—let’s chat about VPNs. You might already use one for privacy, but did you know a VPN can also help save money on hotel bookings?

By connecting to a server in a different country via a VPN, you can potentially unlock lower prices that vary due to currency fluctuations and regional pricing strategies. As an example, hoteliers in the EU are not allowed to offer different hotel prices to different guests from different countries… and still this seems to be happening sometimes. And outside of the EU? Different country, different laws. 😉

So it’s worth taking a service like Surfshark VPN, which is a fantastic tool to check the accommodation prices. They supports various devices like Android, macOS, Windows, iOS, Linux, and more. With one subscription, you can protect unlimited devices, which is perfect for the committed traveler.

Why Prices Vary by Country

Prices can differ wildly from country to country for several reasons, including currency fluctuations and the location of the Online Travel Agency (OTA) or hotel provider.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Currency Fluctuations: The value of currencies can change rapidly and significantly impact hotel prices in different countries.
  • Provider’s Location: Servers in the provider’s home country often offer lower rates. For example, booking a hotel from a European server may yield a better deal than from the U.S.

Pro Tips for Selecting the Best Country for Hotel Deals

Based on extensive research and my own travel experiences, here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Check European Countries: European servers often offer the lowest prices. It’s a good starting point for your search.
  2. Don’t Ignore the UK: Booking from the UK can sometimes show even lower prices than European countries, so be sure to check there as well.
  3. Connect to the Destination’s IP Address: If you’re booking a hotel in Thailand, for instance, connect to a Thai server. This trick often results in lower rates.

Comparison is Key

Once you’ve found a hotel you like, in whatever country that may be, don’t rush into booking. Comparing prices on different devices can reveal significant savings.

Helpful Tip

Use the RatePunk or Trivago tool, which automates this process by checking major OTAs and showing the cheapest options in seconds. It can even reveal which country’s servers offer the best rates, allowing you to switch your VPN location strategically using the VPN service. Keep in mind that those tools are not always the cheapest.

Be Skeptical of Loyalty Programs

While loyalty programs can offer perks, they don’t always guarantee the lowest prices. Sometimes, logging out of your loyalty account and checking as a guest can yield cheaper rates. It’s worth a try!

Play the Currency Exchange Game

Pay attention to the conversion rates between your currency and the one used at your destination. Sometimes booking in the local currency, or another globally stable currency like Euros, can save you money. During economic downturns, the value of some currencies might drop, making it more advantageous to book in a different one.

Check Multiple Websites

Different OTAs can have varying agreements with hotels, leading to significant price differences. Checking multiple platforms, even if it takes a bit more time, can be worth the effort.

Each site might add a commission fee ranging from 5-25%, and this could vary over time. Comparing multiple sources ensures you get the best deal. Also check the hotel’s own website, as that’s where the hotelier does not have to include a commission and should be able to offer cheaper rates. 😉

Some examples from the real world

BookingCom

Hotels in London: 17.06.-19.06.2024

Save up to €156 in this example.

Hotels in London – Price comparison

BookingCom

To: Bali / Date: 01.-15.08. / 1 person

Same hotels, different prices based on the location (Indonesia vs Germany)

Save up to €314 in this example.

Hotel comparison Bali - Hotel Sahaja Sawah Resort - search 1
Hotel comparison Bali – Hotel Sahaja Sawah Resort – search 1
Hotel comparison Bali - Hotel Sahaja Sawah Resort - search 2
Hotel comparison Bali – Hotel Sahaja Sawah Resort – search 2

Airbnb:

To: New York / Date: 01.-15.08. / 1 person

Same hotels, different prices based on the location (Germany vs Brazil)

Save up to €68 in this example.

AirBnB comparison New York City East Village - search 1
AirBnB comparison New York City East Village – search 1
AirBnB comparison New York City East Village - search 2
AirBnB comparison New York City East Village – search 2

How to Use a VPN for Booking Hotels

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Installation: Set up a software like Surfshark on your desktop, smartphone, or other preferred device.
  2. Connect to a Server: Depending on where you’re booking, choose a server in that country or in suggested low-price regions like the UK or various European countries.
  3. Compare Prices: Use RatePunk or Trivago to manually compare prices across different OTAs. Check prices while connected to different servers to maximize savings.
  4. Currency Check: If applicable, consider switching the currency during booking to see if it results in lower costs.
  5. Finalize Booking: Once you’ve found the best deal, complete your booking and enjoy the savings!

VPN: A Traveler’s Best Friend

Let’s take a closer look at why Surfshark VPN is a solid choice for travelers looking to save money:

  • Robust Security: It uses AES-256-GCM encryption, one of the strongest encryption standards available.
  • Unlimited Devices: A single subscription covers unlimited devices, making it perfect for families or tech-savvy individuals.
  • Privacy Protections: With a 2048-bit RSA encryption key and RAM-only servers, your data is safe and wiped clean regularly.
  • Geo-Blocked Content: Access local content, blocked websites, or even international streaming services with ease.

Using Surfshark, you can seamlessly switch between countries to find the best hotel rates. Plus, it helps you maintain privacy, which is invaluable in today’s digital age.

Additional Money-Saving Tips

  1. Book in Advance: Early bookings often come with discounts and better availability.
  2. Travel During Off-Peak Times: Rates can be significantly lower during the off-peak season. Research your destination’s peak times and plan accordingly.
  3. Flexible Dates: If your travel dates are flexible, use tools that allow you to view prices over a range of dates to find the cheapest options.

So, next time you’re planning a trip, remember that a bit of tech-savviness can go a long way in saving you money.

With VPNs like Surfshark and tools like RatePunk/Trivago, combined with these practical tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing the best hotel deals around.

Happy travels and may your journeys be both exciting and budget-friendly!

  • Travel Dudes

    I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You’re in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.



    View all posts


    I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You’re in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.





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