There are many different ways to shop for a hotel, but you always need to set some parameters ahead of time. Is money no object? Are you on a shoestring budget? Do you want luxury or are you OK with more basic accommodations? Follow our tips to find the best hotel to fit your vacation budget.
Sort out your budget
Personal finance site ValuePenguin crunched the numbers on travel spending and found Americans dish out an average of $150 on lodging for a four-night domestic vacation. If that sounds low, it’s because this number covers everything from luxury stays to people who crashed in a spare bedroom at grandma’s house. If you’re staying in a hotel, chances are you’ll be paying more than $38 per night.
The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index shows the average cost of a night’s stay can vary quite a bit, with New York City coming in at around $250 per night while Las Vegas hovers around $140. Get a feel for pricing at your destination and remember that special events can drive up costs considerably.
Look at your overall travel budget, factor in the must-haves (Tickets to Disneyland? Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon?) and figure out how much you can delegate toward your hotel. Now you have a price to work with and can search for accommodations that will fit your needs.
Check hotel booking sites
Get the lay of the land with the big online booking sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity or Orbitz. Aggregator sites like Kayak or Trivago search multiple booking sites. Put in your destination, select your dates, and then narrow down the results by looking for the price slider, which is usually located on the left side of the page. From here, you can further filter the offerings by reviews, amenities, and location. If you’re not finding a good match, consider trying different dates or widening your search area.