Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Every discount hotel reservation website out there will try to convince you that they have the best deal in town – and they often do. But don’t get sucked in to believing you should always go to one site – or one hotel chain for the best deal.

Shop around, compare prices…and when all else fails, call the manager of the hotel you’d like to stay in to see if they can do anything to help. Often, they’ll be glad to do what they can to make sure you stay with them instead of the competition.

1.     Don’t believe the online reservation system when it tells you there are no rooms for your family size. Call the hotel directly. They will often make allowances or allow more people in the room.

2.     If you are a hotel-for-points person, don’t be afraid to have memberships with more than one chain. I open multiple windows when shopping for a hotel and compare prices and locations.

3.     Sometimes, it’s worth paying a little more if the hotel includes free Internet and free breakfast, which can save you $60-$100 a day depending on the size of your family.

4.     Don’t get sucked into special vacation packages offered by hotels. They do not always save you money. See what it would cost to get the tickets to the event without it being built into your room price.

5.     Join AAA! The 10-15% savings on rooms and meals, plus the travel itineraries they will help you design are worth the membership fees! If you travel to Canada, your AAA membership will be honored by the CAA agencies there, and vice-versa.

6.     If you are a member of the American Legion or American Legion Auxiliary or other organizations, you may have access to additional discounts. Ask!

7.     Pay attention to parking! The hotel might be less expensive but require you to use a valet service or parking garage that costs $12-40 per day, making a hotel that costs slightly more but offers free parking the better deal.