Even if you’re not traveling to be with family, there’s plenty of places you can travel this winter in order to take advantage of both time off and great holiday rates. Here we’ll (with the help of Priceline travel analyst Brian Ek) provide you with some simple tips on how to capitalize this holiday season.
Try to Be Flexible
Easier said than done. Sure. But there are real benefits to being flexible when booking a hotel stay this time of year, especially if you’re headed to a popular holiday destination.
“If you have any flexibility, try different dates for your hotel stay,” said Ek. “For example, if you’re taking a shopping trip to New York, and Black Friday weekend is booked up, look into the weekend before, or the weekend after. There may be availability, and the rates may be better.”
Part of being flexible may include having the freedom to book more than one night in some cases. “Sometimes during holiday periods, hotels will give preference to guests who are booking multiple nights at the property,” Ek added.
Finding a little extra time off or being able to move around obligations could be the difference between a memorable trip and staying home.
If you own a smart phone or tablet, look into different booking apps like Priceline, Hotels.com and others. This way you’ll be alerted to the best deals.
“That’s because hotels know customers with smartphones and tablets are much more statistically inclined to be last-minute hotel customers, so they’re reaching out over those platforms,” said Ek.
Not every can’t-miss offer will cooperate with your schedule, but all it takes is one to make the simple app download worthwhile.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
“Try naming your own price,” Ek said. “Around the holidays, when business travel is down, many hotels will allow their rooms to go to leisure travelers at discounts up to 60 percent below published rates.”
Even if you aren’t able to take advantage of 60 percent savings, a simple phone call and a little hardball could result in a four- or five-star experience at a price you would have typically paid for a mid-range hotel.
“The key here is, think big quality, low budget,” said Ek.
Look into Travel Packages
Lastly, if you plan on flying to your holiday destination this year, booking your flight and hotel room together might be an easy way to save. This could also be a potential solution if you’re struggling to find available rooms at your destination.
“Sometimes, while there might not be availability for the hotel alone, they may have committed inventory to be sold as part of a package deal that includes airfare,” said Ek.
Destinations to Consider
With average daily rates around $89, according to data from Priceline, Las Vegas is an affordable getaway destination around Thanksgiving. If you don’t mind warming up leftovers when you get home, Sin City is the perfect place to relieve holiday stress on a budget.
Nonetheless, travelers will also find excellent rates in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and outside of Washington, D.C., with the two areas boasting average daily rates of $78 and $82, respectively around Turkey Day.
Those content to spend a little bit more on their Thanksgiving accommodations should consider the Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando, or Jersey City. According to Priceline data, average daily rates for the two destinations range from $102 to $155.
While Jersey City isn’t technically New York, it’s right next door and you can use the money you save to take in more New York City attractions.
It turns out that you can celebrate Christmas without snow. This December, travelers are likely to find tons of great deals in warm weather coastal destinations.
Average daily rates in Florida’s Tampa-St. Petersburg region this Christmas will be around $93, just slightly above those in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Salt Lake City ($91 each). Long Beach, California is another underrated December destination, with average daily rates coming in at just $108.
If you’ve got your passport handy, Costa Rica is an ideal international Christmas destination, boasting average daily rates of $115, based on data from Priceline.