When you decide to go away on vacation last minute, it can be hard to find a reasonably priced hotel room. This is especially true when you’re traveling at a busy time of year (like spring break) when lots of other people will be traveling to the same city that you want to.
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Luckily, there are some awesome websites and apps available that can help you out when you’re looking for a place to stay for a decent price. We’re going to tell you about some of our favorite sites to use to book cheap last-minute hotels, and give you some of our best tips for getting a great deal on hotel reservations. But first, let’s talk about whether or not it’s cheaper to book your hotel reservation at the last minute.
Is it cheaper to book a hotel last minute?
Yes, it can be cheaper to book a hotel last minute. Though you’re less likely to get the exact reservation you’re looking for, many websites offer discount deals on hotel rooms if you book within a couple days before your stay. Hotels partner with these sites in order to avoid having empty rooms.
If you’re planning to go away for a longer period of time, or want to stay at a specific location, we’d recommend booking your accommodations further in advance. If you’re just going away for a short amount of time, or if you’re not too picky about where you stay, booking last minute can be a great way to save money on the cost of your vacation.
Now, let’s talk about our favorite websites and apps for finding and booking last minute cheap hotels.
9 Sites and apps to find cheap hotels last minute
SellOffVacations.com is a site that sells discount travel packages. They partner with travel companies to offer their users the best deals on travel accommodations. On their site, you can find deals on flights, hotel rooms, cruises, car rentals, and all-inclusive travel bundle deals. Some travel providers partnered with SellOffVacations do offer price guarantees, and you can read about them here.
Another site to find a cheap hotel is Hotwire.com. Hotwire offers awesome prices on hotels, flights, and rental cars. Hotwire makes it easy for their users to get low prices by working with travel accommodation providers to sell seats and hotel rooms to keep them from sitting empty. Hotwire also offers “Bundle + Save” deals on their site, so check those out if you need more than just a hotel!
Priceline.com is a travel booking site offering hotels, flights, and car rentals. Their unique “Name Your Own Price” bidding system allows users to get great prices on their travel accommodations by naming the price they’d like to pay. Once you make a “bid,” Priceline will attempt to find accommodations to fit your criteria within your price range. If a match is found, Priceline will inform you of your booking details.
Head over to our Priceline course if you’re interested in learning more.
Trivago.com is a bit different from some of the other sites we’ve mentioned in this list, in that it’s not a booking website, but rather a method of comparing prices to find the best deal on your travel reservations. With Trivago, all you need to do is enter the place you’d like to travel to and the dates you need a room for, and they’ll show you a selection of options that meet your criteria. Compare prices and narrow your search with advanced filtering to find the best deal!
Hotels.com is next up on our list of sites to find deals on cheap hotels. Hotels.com is owned by travel giant Expedia, and offers discounts on hotel rooms in destinations around the world. Just tell them where you’d like to stay and when, and they’ll show you the best deals they have available. Filter your results by star rating, distance to landmarks, and price range to find the right place to stay during your vacation.
Another site you can use to find good prices on hotel rooms is Booking.com. They help their users find the best prices on accommodations in 226 different countries, and their service is available in over 40 languages. On Booking.com, you can find deals for staying at all kinds of properties, from small bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels.
Kayak.com is similar to Trivago – it allows you to look at prices from hundreds of different travel sites all at once to help you find the best deal without having to take the time to do a lot of research. Find great prices on hotels, rental cars, flights, cruises, and travel bundles. Sign up for Price Alerts to be notified when prices drop, or use their Explore feature to see where you can travel on a set budget.
8. Red Tag
Next up we have RedTag.ca. Red Tag is a Canadian travel company offering low prices on travel accommodations to worldwide destinations. With deals in their “Last Minute” section, you can save up to 50% on the cost of your vacation. Red Tag also has a Best Price Guarantee, so if you happen to come across a better price for the same accommodations after booking through Red Tag, they’ll match the better price.
The last site we recommend to book cheap last-minute hotel rooms is HotelTonight.com. Hotel Tonight specializes in last-minute hotel bookings, because they advocate for “a life less planned.” Hotels can list available rooms on the app, and users can find awesome deals for a place to stay in the near future – whether it’s tonight, tomorrow night, or in a few days! Hotel Tonight has listings for hotels in hundreds of cities, so you’ll likely be able to find a place to stay wherever you’re traveling.
Those are all of the best sites and apps to book cheap, last-minute hotel reservations. Next, we’re going to give you our top five tips to get the best deal possible when booking your stay.
Tips for getting the best deal on hotel bookings
1. Compare hotel prices from several different travel websites.
Several booking websites may have deals for the same hotels. Look around on different hotel booking sites to see which one is offering the lowest price, or use a site like Trivago or Kayak that allows you to compare prices from different sites all in one place.
2. See if you’re eligible for any additional discounts.
If you’re a member of any big associations or unions (like CAA, AAA, or the military), you may be eligible for discounts when booking hotels. When looking into a hotel to stay at, call and ask them if they offer discounts to members of any associations you are part of.
3. Check for guarantees that ensure you’ll get the best deal, even after you’ve booked your stay.
Some travel booking websites offer price guarantees that provide you a refund if you happen to find the same hotel room offered for a lower price. The hotel will refund you the difference between what you paid and the lower price you found.
4. Book package deals to save more money.
If you need several accommodations for your trip (flights, hotel, car rental, etc.) you can sometimes get great discounts when you book all of them at the same time. Check your favorite travel booking site to see if you can find a good package deal for the destination you’re traveling to.
5. Be willing to make a few compromises.
If your main goal is to get the best price possible on your hotel stay, you may need to make some compromises on your hotel preferences. There may be a cheaper room at a different hotel than the one you were hoping to stay in, or even a different type of room at the hotel you’d like to stay at (e.g. one king size bed instead of 2 queen beds.) Try to be okay with these changes if you really want to get a good deal on your hotel stay.
Those are all of our money-saving tips for booking hotel rooms and our top nine websites and apps to use when looking to book a hotel room last-minute. Check out this article on planning your winter getaway if you’re looking for some guidance on how to book your dream vacation. Also, head over to the rest of our site and have a look at the free courses we offer on Travel & Vacation websites. We’ll show you how to use popular travel booking websites to help you make the best of your vacation.