Budget Travel Tips to Save Big on Hotel Stays

If you are a frequent business traveler or planning on being on the road for leisure with your family, there are plenty of ways to save big on your next hotel stay. Many people may not like to stay constantly at hotels and motels when they are on the road, but it is sometimes necessary in order to complete business. Here are some tips on saving money at your next hotel stay.

Hotels can be very expensive. You can easily spend over $100 a night when out of town. Most business hotels can charge much more and if you are staying in a top city or destination expect to pay over $200 for a night at a hotel. If you are looking to save on your hotel stay here are some things that you can do.

If you find that you are using a certain hotel often, sign up for a frequent customer program. Many hotels have a frequent customer programs in which you can save easily 10 to 20% right off the bat. This adds up over the course of a year.

Many hotels also offer specials if you book very early in advance and during off peak times of the year. You may save lots of money on how early you book. Many hotels have liberal cancellation policies that if you cancel within a few days of your booking you won’t lose any money.

If you need to spend a weekend at a hotel, look for hotels that cater to business travelers. Most of these hotels are usually very empty during the weekend when most business travelers are at home with their families. So follow these great tips to save bring on your next hotel stay.

Budget Travel Tips on Saving Money on the Road

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With everyone pinching pennies and tightening their belts in the face of higher oil and gas prices these days, vacationing seems like a luxury most of us simply can’t afford. But if you choose your destinations carefully and take advantage of a few tricks, you can still make traveling the joy it’s supposed to be.

Tip 1: Overnight trains and buses
This is one way to kill 2 birds with one stone, save time AND money. By opting for a train or bus you save one night’s accommodation and cover distance at the same time.

India, and Thailand’s overnight trains are quite comfortable and not much more than a night’s accommodation. Waking up to a fantastic sunrise in Northern Thailand while speeding along to the rhythm of the tracks is one of this writer’s most cherished travel memories.

In Spain, however, the overnight train can be quite costly, so check the prices carefully.

As for overnight buses, none compare to Turkey. Coffee, tea, cakes, clean rest stops, and lemon cologne put Turkey’s bus system in a league of it’s own.

Tip 2: Pick a hotel that delivers the extras
Some hotels offer a place to sleep. Other hotels offer a place to sleep, plus complimentary breakfast (and maybe dinner), airport pickup, Internet, walking tours, tea and coffee, and other creative extras. Usually small budget and boutique hotels are eager to please as they survive on word of mouth referrals and recommendations.

Tip 3: Pick a hotel that isn’t in a guidebook
A hotel owner in a popular destination in Turkey once shared a story about his first years in the hotel business. Every person who arrived in town was headed to the same competing hotel because it was given a glowing review in one of the “Travel Bibles”. Try as he might, he could not break the cycle of people flocking to his competitor. Finally, he started offering the first night free and unbelievable cheap beer to lure customers to his hotel. It worked, and ironically, today he is given glowing reviews in all the “Travel Bibles”.

Another seasoned traveler once related that as she looked back over her six-week trip to Rajasthan, India, she realized she had not once spent a night in any of the recommended hotels in her guidebook. She was perfectly happy with each and every one. So take a chance and spread your business around, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Tip 4: Day trips
If you check carefully, you’ll find some day trips are definitely worth their money, especially if you are paying in the local currency. Some places just can’t be visited on your own, or if you could, it would be such a hassle it would take the enjoyment out of visiting altogether.

The floating market in Bangkok and the underground cities in Cappadocia, Turkey spring to mind. Considering that many of these day trips include lunch and entrance fees on top of transportation it doesn’t take superior math skills to figure out that some are a good deal.

Tip 5: Look online and book locally
Not the huge, well-known, Internet booking monsters out there; think smaller, local agents. A travel agent based in Bali can recommend a reputable hotel in Ubud that will suit your honeymoon or family needs, compared to a huge booking site that lists overbooked hotels in every country on the planet. If you run into unexpected trouble, (missed flights, delays), or just want to spend more time somewhere, a travel agent will be able to shift your reservation at no cost to you. With a booking site, you will have just lost your hotel deposit.

Tip 6: Pick an off the beaten path destination
Get off the “banana pancake highway”. Every country has a “route”, take a few days to step off track and you’ll notice the people are friendlier, the experience is richer, and the prices are lower. How do you find these places? Continue to the next tip.

Tip 7: Get help
Although budget travelers are often reluctant to get professional help, often an agent working on your behalf will save you time and money. Local agents know of great places that are under-visited, new hotels that offer specials and ways to make connections that will save you time and money. Generally, agents don’t make their commissions from the customer, but from the hotel or ticket company you have booked with. Again, you’re spreading your money around and reaping the benefits.

 

Budget Travel Tips on Saving Money on the Road

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If you are anything like me, heavy weather sailing can be a challenge and make you tired fast. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more energy you will save. Follow these ten “do ahead of time” sailing tips to prepare for less fatigue and more comfort the next time the rough stuff crosses your path!

  1. Make Up “Zero-Prep” Energy Bags

Use small Ziplock type bags to hold high energy snacks. Combine nuts, dried fruits, tasty seeds like sesame or pumpkin, banana chips, and dried coconut for a super snack. Press the bag tight before you seal to keep air out and your energy snack will last longer when stored aboard your sailboat.

  1. Top Off Your Trusty Thermos

Purchase two large thermoses. Before the rough stuff arrives, fill one thermos with a hearty soup or stew. Fill the other with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. That way, you won’t need to worry about boiling water in choppy seas for a nutritious meal or drink.

  1. Eat Before the Weather Arrives at Your Boat

Fix a light meal with pasta if you expect rough seas when sailing. Stay clear of greasy, fried foods. Concentrate on foods that you boil, broil, or bake. Pasta has a good reputation as a “tummy tamer” when it comes to sea sickness. It’s economical, easy to digest, nutritious, and provides good energy for sailing in rough weather.

  1. Lash and Stow Below

Check the galley for loose pots, plates, and silverware. Wrap silverware in towels to avoid clanging. Store pots in cabinets. Stuff towels or pieces of foam between stacks of dishes, glasses, or pots and pans to keep things in place and noise to a minimum.

  1. Keep a Clothes Change Handy

Pull out a full change of clothes. Fold and stow in an oversized Ziplock or waterproof bag outside of your sailing duffel bag. You want this change of clothes ready in an instant so you won’t need to hunt around for it. Include underwear and socks. If you get soaked when sailing, you will want to slide into a set of dry clothes right away. Do this now to save you time and effort later.

  1. Clear the Decks for Clean Decks

Studies of past heavy weather sailing races show that those racing sailboats with clean, uncluttered decks had an easier time. Take a tip from the racing crowd. Check the outside decks from bow to stern. Neaten up sheets and lines. Turn cowl vents around to face astern to prevent water intrusion below; in extreme conditions, remove the cowl vents, stow them below, and screw covers in their place. Keep decks clean for safer sailing in any weather.

  1. Add extra Lashings

Check all lashings on deck-stowed Jerry jugs (cans), propane bottles, life raft canister, dinghy, and anchors. Double or triple lashings with small diameter line. Seas that break aboard can break weak lashings like a knife going through butter. Make lashings strong and robust to keep deck-stowed gear in place.

  1. Seal Ports and Hatches

No matter what the manufactures tell you, expect ports and hatches to leak. Heavy weather or squalls can bring high winds, seas, and horizontal driving rain that will find any nook and cranny. Use strong, waterproof duct tape to seal around ports and hatches on the inside your cabin. This will keep water out and dryness in for greater crew comfort in heavy weather sailing.

  1. Set Up Sails Now

Hank on your storm jib or trysail now with sheets run, halyards cleared, and all ready to hoist. If you decide to delay on the hoist, stop off the sail along the deck with sail ties or next to the mast (in the case of a trysail). This way, your storm sails will be ready to set in a matter of seconds when you need them.

  1. Rest and Hydrate Often

Heavy weather sailing saps energy like few other activities. Get as much rest as possible between watches. Remember to keep hydrated with water or non-sugar energy drinks like Gatorade or Emergen-C. These beverages replace critical electrolytes and minerals that you will use to keep your balance, hang on when heeling, or move about when changing sails or standing watch. Remind your sailing crew to rest and hydrate for greater comfort.

Follow these ten heavy weather sailing tips to get ready before the tough stuff arrives aboard your boat. These tips will help keep your sailing crew safe and sound and provide them with more comfort–wherever in the world you choose to cruise!