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You may have found the perfect destination and a cheap flight, but the cost of a decent hotel can quickly bump up the price of your holiday. Thankfully, the Internet has given us plenty of options when it comes to seeking out a bargain, so try these tips and save money on your ideal getaway.
If you've already picked your perfect destination, it's worth researching good hotels in the area. Look for those within your budget, and once you've chosen, the first step is to check the hotel's own website. There may be offers or special discounts available, and they may even offer an early-bird promotion that you may not find on comparison sites.
Be aware, however, that the star rating system is not standardised so a quick check of TripAdvisor should be carried out, just to make sure you get what you expect when you arrive.
Comparison sites often allow you to source the cheapest prices in just a few seconds. The likes of Trivago and TravelSupermarket do the hard work of trawling through chains and hotel brokers, and locate the cheapest price in an instant. It's possible to search for specific hotels too, so if you already have a place in mind, you can check the price against the hotel's own website.
One thing to double check if you book through a comparison site are the taxes. Some countries charge a 'room tax', which can be as much as £30 a day, and both the hotels themselves and the comparison sites will sometimes omit to tell you about it until you get through to the booking page, or worse still, when you've already arrived, so always check whether it is included in your final price.
For those who aren't too concerned about the prospect of an unnamed hotel, there are bargains to be had. Lastminute.com offers hugely discounted rooms at five-star hotels worldwide, the idea being that you don't know which hotel until you get there. However, in some cases the description posted on Lastminute has simply been taken from the hotel's own website, and often just pasting it into Google will show you exactly where you could be going, often for less than half the standard price. If you can find out which hotel is on offer though, a quick check of the comparison sites is advisable, just to make sure that your bargain is just that.
Other sites to try include Hotwire, which sells mystery rooms in cities in the UK, Europe, the US and worldwide, and Travelocity, offering secret deals in the US, Canada and parts of the Caribbean.
Bid for a bargain
We Brits have been using eBay for decades now, but few of us think of bidding for a bargain break. Priceline.com allows you to bid on hotel rooms by first picking an area, star rating, and then 'naming your price'. You'll only get one bid per day, but if your hotel of choice has rooms going spare, you could find yourself living in the lap of luxury for a fraction of the usual price. Since it's a US site, many of the best discounts are for hotels in America.
UK holidays have been growing in popularity since the recession, but hotels here in Britain can come at a price. Whether for a full two weeks or a weekend break, there are cheaper options available if you're not too fussy and you know where to look.
For example, Easyhotel offers basic, no-frills rooms in London, Luton, Glasgow and Edinburgh, starting from as little as £15 a night, and you might get an even cheaper price if you book early. Cheap rooms in the capital are also available courtesy of Tune Hotels, where you'll pay in the region of £30 for basic accommodation, and extra for towels, TV and services.
Meanwhile if you're looking for comfort but not luxury, hotel chain Travelodge sometimes offer sale rooms for £25 or less, releasing them in batches on a regular basis, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled. And don't forget that if you're a regular Tesco shopper, Clubcard points can be traded in for Rewards Vouchers worth three or four times the amount, and these can be spent at the likes of Marriott, Mercure and Best Western.
Are you a bargain hunter when it comes to hotels? What are your top tips for finding the best deals? Leave your comments below..