We have all been there. You are going out of town, you have found the perfect flight deal and your lodging plans fall through at the last minute. What do you do next? Book an overpriced hotel? Cancel your trip? Heck, no!
The next step is to find inexpensive accommodations! Although I prefer to book one of the Airbnb alternatives, sometimes there is nothing ideal available through those sites. My next stop is to try one of the 5 sites below!
The first stop for finding a last minute hotel is always Hotel Tonight. The company prides themselves on being an app that makes it incredibly easy to book great hotels at an amazingly low price. In fact, about a year ago they came out with a “geo rate”. A geo-rate is a special, limited-time offer for that particular hotel. The rate is even lower than the already-discounted rate and may not be available to app users. Typically it appears when you are in a geographical area close to that hotel.
Hotel Tonight is only available as an app! So, don’t go checking your computer for deals. You can use hotel tonight when searching for a hotel even if it isn’t last minute.
Priceline Name your Price
Priceline Name your Price advertises as being able to save you as much as 60% on Hotels. The tool allows you to choose the area that you would like to stay in, the number of stars in terms of quality for the hotel, and the price that you are willing to pay. Unfortunately with this tool, when you place your bid and put in your payment information, you have no idea what hotel you may end up in. The good thing is the hotel will meet the standard that you previously imputed in the system.
I experienced Priceline Name your Price when I attempted to find a last minute hotel downtown Chicago. Of course, I waited until the last minute to try to book an Airbnb and none of the hosts had responded to my inquiry yet. After I entered the neighbourhood I wanted to stay in, the quality of hotel I was willing to stay in, and the price I was willing to pay, the tool matched me with a four-star hotel downtown Chicago for a third of the price posted other places online. I will say it was a bit nerve racking not knowing what hotel the service would choose as I always like to read the hotel reviews.
Groupon & Living Social
Groupon, Living Social, and other similar deal sites are great ways to find a budget friendly last minute hotel. Deal sites are known for providing deals for meals and random gadgets, but they can also be awesome when planning your next getaway.
Make sure you note the fine print when reserving through a daily deal site. For example, it may show that the hotel is $60 per night; however, the price may vary when you enter your needed dates. In addition, there may be parking fees depending on the city. Ensure that you are aware of all fees prior to reserving a room.
Booking.com & Hotels.com
Booking.com is a site that I use when booking a last minute hotel as well as when there is not a good cheap hotel alternative in the area. The site is awesome because there are typically refundable rooms available. Therefore, you can always reserve something through Booking.com that is refundable and keep checking other sites. Make sure to reach the fine print, though, most times you must cancel at least 24 hours in advance if you don’t plan on staying in that hotel room.
Most recently, I used booking.com when planning my trip to Panama. I didn’t end up booking the room until the day before I left for the trip and still managed to find an awesome deal!
Hotels.com is very similar to booking.com. They have rooms available that are refundable for last minute changes. Both programs have loyalty programs that help you earn a free hotel through booking through them regularly.
What is your go-to site for booking a last minute hotel? Have you tried any of the sites listed above?
Subscribe below for posts regarding budgeting, saving, investing, and travel hacking to be delivered straight to your inbox. No spam!