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Frugal Travel Tip: Re-Book Your Hotel to Save Money

Written by Nickel - 7 Comments

Frugal Travel Tip: Re-Book Your Hotel to Save Money

As we wind down our family vacation, I wanted to share a tip for saving money when you’re traveling… While it’s always a good idea to book your accommodations well in advance, I also recommend double-checking rates shortly before you depart.

When hotels have excess capacity, they often discount rooms at the last minute to fill them up. In our case, we were able to save upwards of 30% by booking a new reservation and canceling the old one a few days before we left.

While we may have been able to get a price adjustment on our original reservation by asking for the new rate, re-booking online was easier. It took me about two minutes and I saved hundreds of dollars.

If you do this, just be sure you’re aware of the cancellation policy. Often times the lowest available rate at the time of your original booking is non-cancellable. In other cases, you may need to cancel a minimum of 24 or 72 hours in advance to avoid being charged for the first night.

Also note that this strategy doesn’t always work. In popular places or at peak travel times, there may not be any rooms left at the last minute. That’s why you should always make a primary reservation early in the planning process.

Good luck, and happy travels.

Published on June 1st, 2012
Modified on June 10th, 2012 - 7 Comments
Filed under: Frugality, Travel

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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7 Responses to “Frugal Travel Tip: Re-Book Your Hotel to Save Money”

  1. 1
    Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley Says:

    Thanks. I had not thought of doing this before, but I can see where the savings might be substantial. I’ll try this next time we travel.

  2. 2
    Felicia Says:

    This is a good suggestion. If you do much traveling it really adds up! Thanks!

  3. 3
    Squeezer @Personal Finance Success Says:

    Often you can ask the hotel for the government rate. It is always less than your quoted rate, and most hotels do not ask for any government ID when checking in.

  4. 4
    evelyn Says:

    The same is usually true for car rentals. I normally book with Alamo – using Costco’s discount codes. I will reserve a car about 3 weeks before my trip and then check daily after that to see if the rates go down. Most of the time they do come down. I recently went from a price of $180(including airport tax) for a week in Vegas to $124 for a full size car. Alamo makes it very easy to cancel a reservation.

  5. 5
    Jeff Says:

    I have found this true myself many times not only for hotels but also for rental cars. Just last month I was about to get on a flight from FL to CA and checked my rental car price and was able to save 50% on what I had reserved. A few quick clicks and I cancelled the old reservation and booked the new.

  6. 6
    Vincent Turner - Planwise Says:

    This is a great idea! .. I’ve never thought to do this in all my years of travel! .. the hotel/car companies must hate it though!

  7. 7
    Master Allan Says:

    I agree with commenter Evelyn and Jeff. Rental Cars.

    I just returned from Florida where I had a rental car for 48 hours. Originally the reservation price through my favorite rental car company was about $120.

    A few weeks after my reservation date I was surprised to find the new quote at $80. I cancelled the old and booked a new one at the lower rate.

    But thanks to a credit card reward, the price dropped $40 to a 48 hour rate for $40. That on it’s own was frugal but I was traveling with a friend and we split the cost. Out of pocket for me $10 / day for a rental car in Florida during the summer? Great deal.

    It takes effort to check and recheck and most people couldn’t be bothered. But a few minutes of my time saved us at least $40.

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