“What’s your hidden talent?”
An ice breaker question that’s been used again and again and I would always give the same answer: I can find a gorgeous, Instagram worthy hotel with a great location that suits my budget. ALWAYS! Haha It didn’t happen over night though but it’s been developed over time, after many errors. Verniece and Ben even tease me sometimes that I can run my own travel agency! lol
Like many other things in our lives, whenever we travel Verniece and I half the work. She researches on our itinerary and I look for the cheap flights, budget friendly hotel and any other part that needs to be affordable! :) Alot of people wonder how we get to travel so much and while most of our trips are sponsored, our personal ones are within the price range we want to! :) So now, on this blogpost, I’ll be sharing with you how I find a hotel suited to a budget:
1. Decide on your budget before booking anything. Have two, your dream amount and your tipping point. I’m lucky that Verniece and I half everything but before planning, this is the first thing we decide on. It depends on what country and which continent we’re going to but most of the time we only spend 1/8-1/4 of what we earned or projected to that month! That’s our tipping point, it means that it’s the most we’ll spend given all the extras that might come our way.
2. Become a member of a hotel website. This is not a sponsored post but I’ve been a member of Hotels.com for about 2 years now and the advantage of becoming loyal to one website is that it gives you access to rates that non-members can’t see. Usually I get about 15-20% off the rate everybody gets, depending on what hotel or country I’m looking at. However, there are times that it pays to book directly with the hotel since they sometimes have special rates or promos or other websites like Agoda or Booking.com are cheaper.
3. Browse on Incognito mode. Whether you’re booking a hotel, tour or flight, make sure to look through sites this way because when you’ve inquired or looked a prices more than twice, the flight fluctuates and gives you a higher price. This is the reason too why suddenly all the ads you see are hotels on the city you just looked at!
4. Research on the area you want to stay in. Do you wanna be near a shopping area? Near the airport? Near a certain landmark? Decide first and that way you can narrow down on what hotels you want to find. Also, do you plan to commute the whole time? If yes, get a hotel that’s in walking distance to the train or bus station.
5. Pick only two main things you’re looking for in a hotel. We always look for two things: Nice (poopable!) restroom and it has to be in a nice area. With the amount of hotels that are popping up everywhere, it’s easy to have more than two but these are our top priorities! We’re namamahay (English: Our butts choose where to poop lol) so that’s our top priority and we always choose a nice area for security reasons because most of the time, it’s just the two of us travel together.
6. From there, you can fix the filters on the website you’re looking at. Then you can even narrow it down to your price range and how nice you want your hotel to be. Then compare prices on all websites then check again a day or two later. Remember, do all of these on Incognito mode!
7. If money wasn’t an issue, I would stay in big chain hotels like The Ritz or Shangri-la all day everyday but it is so this is always my favorite advice: Research on new boutique hotels at the city you’re going to. What I love about them is that it’s small enough for the staff to give quality and personalized service, the rates are usually reasonable, the location may be a little bit off beat by like a street or two but the hotels are gorgeously designed, beds are comfortable and they’re mostly new. New means less than a thousand people have slept and walked on those hotels and that’s always great news for germaphobes! lol What I do is I usually Google “New boutique hotels in _____” then from there, I just compare prices.
8. Travel on off peak season. Just save your leaves and opt to travel on these months as everything’s cheaper and the city’s usually less crowded! Plus when you stay home in Manila on long weekends or holidays, the city becomes a new place to discover! There’s no traffic so it’s easier to explore :)
– If you’re booking a hotel here in the Philippines, call the hotel directly and ask for a local rate. Not all hotels offer this but the prices you see online are usually meant for foreigners and tourists and sometimes they give cheaper rates for Filipinos :) This always works for me whenever I book a hotel in Cebu!
– Before booking, make sure to be sure on your travel dates because most deals don’t come with cancellation fees!