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How To Find Cheap Hotels Online

Updated on September 14, 2010

While most travelers are aware of the significant savings that can be achieved through shopping for cheap airfares online, many travelers forget that they can also book cheap hotels online. Many of the same resources can be used for both chores, but it’s vitally important to use them correctly and completely. And, if you haven’t yet booked your airfare for the trip be sure and consider the savings you might be able to achieve by using one of the vacation package offers that combine airfare and hotel cost into one price.

Search Engines – The Key to Finding Cheap Deals Online

Thanks to modern technology, booking hotels online and checking hotels availability is now easier than ever. But in order to maximize this incredible benefit, travelers need to use the system as wisely and efficiently as possible. And the first step in this process is to find the most effective search engine to use as your guide through the process.

Everyone is familiar with search engines such as Travelocity and Orbitz that help travelers find and book cheap hotels online. But there several much more useful sites that actually research not just Travelocity and Orbitz but hundreds of similar sites in order to find the absolutely cheapest deals available anywhere online. Use CanuckAbroad to make online hotel reservations.

Although there are a number of these extensive search engines for finding cheap deals online, my favorites for finding both cheap airfare and cheap hotels online are Canuck Abroad, Trip Advisor and Kayak. Sure we’ve all heard about Travelocity, Orbitz and many others, but both Tripadvisor and Kayak search some 200 different web sites to find the best prices and availability. And in numerous test searches each site seems capable of finding the same or similar low rates for cheap hotels online.

Most of the better search sites also provide you with a great deal of useful search refinements that you can use such as selecting neighborhoods within a city, setting price ranges for acceptable rates, selecting certain hotel classes and listing amenities that you require in any hotel you might consider.

If your expectations regarding hotel accommodations can be satisfied by a hostel, be sure and investigate this possibility as well.  Click here to book hostels online

Search Engines – Beyond Booking Hotels Online

Unlike looking for cheap flights online, the successful search for cheap hotels online goes far beyond just price and affordability. Most airlines you’ll consider are relatively equal in terms of quality and performance. But when you start booking hotels online these critical issues become important considerations when making a final choice.

A reliable search engine can, and should, go far beyond merely finding you a cheap online hotel. It should also provide you with what are usually independent reviews of each hotel from previous guests. Trust me, no amount of money you might save by finding cheap hotel deals online can ever compensate for the pain of spending several miserable days at a lousy hotel. But the same method that found you that cheap online hotel can also warn you about the hotel’s attributes or shortcomings.

So if you can book cheap hotels online equally well at my favorites, what does each have to offer in terms of hotel reviews? Again, in checking several hotels through both Tripadvisor and Kayak both had a large number of insightful reviews, often ranking the same hotel similarly. The difference is that in most cases Tripadvisor has many more recent reviews, meaning the information is more timely and, probably, more accurate.

For example, in one particular search Kayak had no reviews for the hotel over the last 3 weeks and only 1 in the last 3 months. For the same hotel, Tripadvisor offered 4 reviews in the last 2 weeks and 16 reviews in the last 3 months.

Also, even though you elect to use Tripadvisor or Kayak to find your cheap hotels online you can still use all of the other sites, including CanuckAbroad, Travelocity and, to look at even more reviews of the hotels before making a final selection.

Beyond the Search Engine

While all of these online resources make the task of checking hotels availability and making online hotel bookings much easier, it’s important to remember that your responsibilities don’t end when the reservation is made. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that everything is now correct and just waiting for your arrival.

After you make your hotel reservation through the online site, call the hotel itself to confirm the reservation. And my advice is to call the hotel directly, not the 800 reservation number. Don’t just confirm all of the details of the reservation with a live person at the hotel; ask them some questions.

Are there better rates than the one you booked that the specific hotel may be offering? Are there additional savings that might be available such as AAA or AARP discounts? Will the manner in which you reserved the room affect your room selection and, if so, what can you do to ensure a better room?

If you take full advantage of all of the online resources available to you, and follow up with your own personal confirmation of all the arrangements, you can make sure that your cheap online hotel booking experience will lead to a successful and enjoyable trip.

Funny hotel signs

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    • profile image

      Big D 6 years ago

      I normally book cheap hotels using advice in this article which shows how to search 30 hotel booking sites with a single mouse click..

    • Iris Emery profile image

      Iris Emery 8 years ago

      Hi - never mind the hotels the flights can cost the earth! Check out cheap airline tickets for students:

    • profile image

      orlick 8 years ago

      I'd check out if you don't care about frills and just want a really cheap place to stay.

    • kappa022 profile image

      kappa022 8 years ago from Florida

      Nice tips, I'll definitely use these tips the next time I travel. Excellent hub!