6 Easy Ways To Steal A Better Deal On Your Next Hotel Visit

There are easy ways to get a good hotel deal if you know how to look for them, so I’ve showed people some of the tricks they can use to get one.

Sometimes you feel like choking on your tongue when you try to book a hotel as the prices seem so expensive, but that is because you don’t know how to find a good deal. There are some little tricks you can use and we’re going to look at them today. Try out some of these and I bet you’ll be surprised at how often they work.

Choose a hotel with free meals

When you go out for a meal it will usually cost you a lot of money and it eats into your holiday budget. You’re lucky because there are lots of hotels out there offering free meals, so if you can find one it means you won’t have to spend money in a restaurant. If there is more than one person staying in your room you can save a lot of money. Sometimes you might not be eligible for a free meal, but they can give you one if you ask.

Try to be flexible

A hotel will usually try to get rid of as many rooms as possible as it gets close to a particular date. They do this because if they don’t fill the room it will sit empty and they will lose a lot of money. If you’re flexible you can wait until closer to the date of arrival to book your room. Just be aware it doesn’t always work that way, plus if your desired hotel is fully-booked you will need to find somewhere else.

Ask for an upgrade

We’ve already talked about the fact some hotel rooms will be sitting empty, but do you have any idea what this means? If the hotel were to upgrade you to a new room it would mean your basic one would be sitting empty. This isn’t going to cost the hotel more money and upgrading you will turn you into a raving fan, so if you ask the front desk clerk for an upgrade they might say yes. Try to do it later in the afternoon because they’ll know what rooms are not going to be filled.

Forget about amenities

A lot of people spend money on a nice hotel because it has a swimming pool and a gym, but they don’t actually use any of them. This is crazy considering the hotel will probably make the rooms more expensive to cover the cost of those ‘free’ amenities. Unless you pack your sneakers and swimming trunks you should definitely look for a hotel that has exactly what you need because it will work out cheaper for you.

Look out for hidden charges

Any smart hotel owner will know they can offer a cheap room rate and make up for it in hidden charges. Do you think it’s weird that a lot of expensive hotels still charge people extra money to use the Wi-Fi? It won’t cost them a lot of money and they could easily afford to offer it for free, but you end up paying extortionate prices if you must use the internet. Look very closely for hidden charges before you book your hotel.

Book well in advance

We’ve already covered booking closer to the date of arrival, but I did tell you it sometimes works the other way too. This is because some hotels will be happy they’ve filled a room even if it means offering it for a cheaper price. The money in your pocket is better than the money you’re still waiting for. Phone up a hotel and ask someone if you can get a discount provided you book well in advance because there is no harm in asking.

You need to do something

It’s very likely you can get a better deal when staying at any hotel. The only reason you don’t is because you don’t ask for one. Some smart people get great deals every day, so you need to teach yourself how to get them too.

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This post has been authored by Ralph Wilkins, an accountant at Admiralty Motor Inn, a hotel based in Geelong, Australia. He is quite passionate about reading and enjoys catching up on his favourite novels when he gets free.

Best Places To Travel In The UK

North, South, East, or West – where should you travel in the UK? The truth is, you can’t make a poor choice. The UK is a fascinating land of history, culture, and tradition, with plenty of entertainment thrown in. Here is some information to help you make your decision for your next holiday destination.

North

Ah, the North of England. Where else can you take in championship golf, then spend most of the night at one of Europe’s most impressive “dark sky parks”? In Northumberland, You’ll find the Kielder Water and Forest Development, as well as the Kielder Observatory. This place is protected from light pollution, and is challenging Galloway in Scotland as the largest dark sky observatory. The result is that people come from thousands of miles away to observe the night sky in a pure and unpolluted area. Others just travel to Lancashire to golf on the Royal Birkdale course, or any of the other 5 championship courses.

Going even further north, you find Scotland, with its castles, countryside, and art galleries and museums. The Isle of Sky draws many visitors, with its pristine waters and spacious beauty. But, don’t overlook the Glasgow Science museum – an astounding structure well worth the trip.

South

Stonehenge. Do you really need to know more about the South of England? It that doesn’t work for you, try London. The southern part of England is home to this, and more. It’s also a fast growing economy. So, for a more urban flair to your holiday, consider the South of England. You’ll have access to 5 star hotels, fine dining, and exclusive shopping in London, while you still have the chance to get away from it all in the more bucolic settings along the southern coast. Visit Bath, Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, while you’re there, all of which offer their own bed and breakfasts, chain hotels, and RV parks.

East

In the East of England, you can have such a wide variety of experiences your head will spin. Walk the grounds of the famous Cambridge University, and soak in the history of this illustrious place that educated such famous people as John Milton, Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Alistair Campbell, Oliver Cromwell, and about ½ of the group that formed Monty Python. Or, you can simply enjoy the beautiful Norfolk beaches. Even the locals say they enjoy the beaches, meaning that they are not crowded out by tourists.

West

The Western UK is home to Wales, with its Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and Harlech Castles, Oakwood Theme Park, Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, and much, much more. You can enjoy shopping in Cardiff, or walk the entire coastline!

Travel a little further west, and you have Ireland. Enjoy the Dublin Zoo, or kiss the Blarney Stone. However, there is much more to see and do in Ireland. Connemara, Slane Castle, and the Cork Opera House are all calling you.

With this much variety, you’re sure to enjoy your holiday in the UK.

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Ed Brooke loves to write about travel and all things related. Ed has been all over the place and is currently settled near the Carew Arms at the foot of the Quantocks.

Edinburgh’s International Storytelling Festival – Accommodation Deals + VIDEO

The truly magnificent and entertaining International Storytelling Festival 2013 hits the streets of Edinburgh from Friday 18th to Sunday 27th October. Storytelling events at many venues across Scotland’s capital city will be thrilling, exciting and inspiring audiences of all ages – check out the video below for a taste of what to expect from this superb festival.

The 2014 International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh looks at the role of bards and vagabonds in recording and communicating some of the most important stories from Scotland’s distant history. Festival organisers have also invited some of the world’s best storytellers and story historians to Edinburgh to entertain and educate local audiences.

You can view the complete Scottish International Storytelling Festival programme here.

If you’re planning a visit to the International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh, then you should stay a night or two to soak up the atmosphere of the festival and the city.

Use the search box on the left to compare room rates across the very best hotel booking websites all at once – saving you time and money.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2014 – LAST MINUTE DEALS!!!

New YearRight, so now that the Pet Shop Boys have been announced to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations, this is the time to book your accommodation to get the best deals and to make sure you get a bed for the night.

If you’re not a fan of the 50 million record selling duo, don’t worry, there’s a shed load of other gigs, parties, events and activities going on across Edinburgh for the 3 days of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations.

Okay, so let’s get on to the deals. If you know what you’re looking for then get started searching for your accommodation using the search box on the left-hand side of this screen. By searching here you can compare room rates across all the leading hotel booking websites all at once – saving you loads of cash and time. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in Edinburgh for this New Year then check out the tips below for some local knowledge and inspiration;

  • Edinburgh has a fab bus network so you don’t have to stay in the city centre and pay the higher room rates. Stay near a good bus route and you’ll be nipping in and out of
  • the street events in no time from your accommodation.
  • Edinburgh has loads of apartments for rent – they offer loads of privacy and space, and are often much cheaper than hotels. Plus, they are great for groups looking to socialise.
  • Book your accommodation as soon as you can. Prices only get higher the longer you wait.
  • Prepare to come for a few days. Accommodation providers in Edinburgh typically require a 3 night minimum stay over Hogmanay/New Year.
  • Edinburgh is open every day – although the 1st and 2nd of January is a national holiday in Scotland, Edinburgh will be buzzing every day, with bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops open as normal.
  • I can guarantee you that it will be cold in Edinburgh this Hogmanay so make sure you wrap up warm. If you really don’t like the cold make sure you book accommodation not too far from the Princes Street activities.

Enjoy your stay in Edinburgh and I hope you get the chance to see the magnificent Pet Shop Boys. I hope to see you at one of the parties whilst you are here.

Tip: By searching for Edinburgh accommodation using the search box on the left you will compare room rates across all the leading hotel booking sites all at once – saving time and money.

Free Days Out In Edinburgh This Summer Holiday

edinburgh architecture

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, has often been referred to as ‘The Athens of the North’, largely due to the predominance of its classical architecture. With its annual arts and music festival, and a wide variety of other concerts, plays and events during the rest of the year, it’s a popular destination for the tourist, but it can also be a costly one. Fortunately, there are many museums, galleries and other attractions throughout the city and in the counties around it which can be enjoyed for free.

Open-air

For a panoramic view of the city from its highest point, and for a bracing, energetic walk, make your way to Holyrood Park, and follow the footpath up Arthur’s Seat to the summit. This can be reached in around 45 minutes by those in good health, and you’ll be rewarded with, on a good day, views over the whole of the city and beyond.

For other open-air attractions, you could head north from the city centre, to The Royal Botanic Gardens, founded in the 17th century, and now extending over four diverse gardens. The ‘Botanics’, as it’s known locally is a renowned centre for education in plant science and related topics, but is also an oasis in the city, a place for reflection and admiration away from the crowds of the city centre.

The Port of Leith is now a suburb of the city, but was once a separate settlement in its own right, and the Water of Leith meanders through the city from its source in the Pentland Hills to the docklands on the Southern shore of the River Forth. Footpaths and cycle tracks run adjacent to the Water of Leith for much of its length, and these can be a good way of exploring the city, away from the bustle of the streets.

Galleries & Museums

Many of Edinburgh’s galleries and museums are open to the public for free, and these include The National Museum on Chambers Street, The National Gallery of Modern Art near the Dean Village, and The National Gallery, in the heart of the city at the junction of Princes Street and The Mound.

As mentioned, the International Festival, and its counterpart, the Fringe, are an annual event, and many of the performers can be found, weather permitting, on the streets of the city, performing extracts from their shows and providing street entertainment. The hotspots for this activity are usually at the foot of The Mound and on The Royal Mile.

Where to Stay

Of course, you’ll need somewhere to stay, and it may be possible to find discounted hotels or guest houses, along with other discounted Edinburgh deals at Deal Zippy. The Government’s promotional website, detailing many of the attractions above, along with many more, can be found at edinburgh.org.

Lastly, with a well-timed visit, you can see a number of Edinburgh’s attractions and civic buildings during Doors Open Day, an annual autumn event in which the public are often given access to areas of these establishments which are normally closed off, making for a unique visitor experience. Past participants have included Edinburgh Castle, The Zoo, and many others which would normally charge for admission.

Featured images:

Amy is a freelance travel writer from the UK

WIN a luxury holiday to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

There are still hundreds of great deals available for accommodation in Edinburgh for the summer festivals – search all the best websites at once and compare room rates using the search box on the left.

It’s also worth entering the latest VisitScotland holiday competition where you could win a break at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer – click here for the full details.

Cheap Staycations In The UK For Families On A Budget

Family in front of a plane

In 2013 almost 30% of Britons can’t afford even a week’s annual holiday according a recent report in The Guardian. The figures are “up from less than a quarter before the financial crisis, according to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics, which reveals the day-to-day struggle facing many families.”

During this extended period of financial struggle, Brits are turning more and more to staycations and exploring their homeland, when they can’t afford to go abroad. Spending your break time in the UK, is a realistic alternative that can be every bit as entertaining and restorative as roving farther from home.

In a BBC report, Michael Oliver, a senior analyst with Mintel, says, “Around three-quarters say they are always on the lookout for deals. So if attractions want to keep their customers, that is what they really need to focus on. Tourist boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken this on board. They are running a campaign to persuade people to holiday at home or, as they call it, enjoy a staycation.”

Areal staycation

According to Hello Magazine, going on a staycation “might just be the best way to escape, relax and rejuvenate for a few days – without the expense of airports and long distance travel to boot. Research conducted by holiday lettings agency HolidayCottages.co.uk reveals a family of four could save up to 81 per cent this year, by holidaying at home instead of heading overseas.” You don’t even have to leave your own home for a successful staycation, as long as you set a few ground rules. Make sure you adopt a holiday mentality – that means relaxing routines, switching off the computer and generally shaking things up. Let the kids take the lead when it comes to meal choices, swap bedrooms, or even camp in the back garden.

Plan in a programme of day trips and activities – visit friends and family, have people over for a garden party, or hold a neighbourhood funday. If you always shop in one town or store, make a change, and have fun exploring your local area as you would any other unfamiliar new holiday destination.

Tourist information

Start viewing yourself as a tourist, with the capacity to make new discoveries even when it comes to the familiar. Visit your local tourist information office for leaflets and literature to inspire and inform. Research resorts, activities and attractions, and ask whether well-learned staff have advice or opinions of their own.

It’s also worth enquiring as to whether any UK tourism bodies are currently pushing initiatives for holidaymakers to visit certain areas – these can take the form of improved amenities and facilities or special offers and discounts. A quick trip to the TI can be a real eye-opener, often revealing a wealth of things to do and places to visit you’d never even considered.

Hard work hols

Kid after harvestWhen you’re on holiday, it’s amazing how hard kids will work – and thoroughly enjoy doing so, too! Farmstay UK – which recently celebrated its 30th birthday- is a scheme that offers families the chance to stay on a working British farm on a B&B or self-catering basis, and even get involved with the day-to-day operations if they like.

Once you’ve arranged a base, simply getting out in the fresh air and open space to discover the delights of the Great British countryside costs nothing and is great for family bonding. If you embrace a strong work ethic, check out UK conservation schemes and archaeological digs for interesting and worthwhile working holidays.

House swap

If you have friends who are also ‘staycationing’, why not propose a house exchange? The business is clearly booming according to a feature by Techcrunch on company Love Home Swap: “Love Home Swap grow revenues by 37 percent and triple traffic since funding was closed in December of last year. The company just acquired 1stHomeExchange, to add 23,000 listings.” The greatest thing is that it could be ten minutes down the road or ten hours away by car, the important thing is the change of scene. Alternatively, sign up with a trusted home swap site online and supply information about the type of place you’re after and where you’d like to go. Provided you’re happy to have a family staying in your own home, this is a great option for families on a budget.

The real deal

A real sticking point with a staycation is the cost of transport and attractions. Plan as far ahead as possible to net the best deals, and consider the best way to travel – car, bus or train? Some transport networks offer bundles which include travel, activity costs and even accommodation. Cashing in vouchers from loyalty schemes can mean free or reduced entry to nationwide activities, as can signing up with online group discount ‘experience’ sites.

Take a tour

Whether you’re near home or farther afield, join up to a coach or walking tour of the area. Aside from being a fun way to spend a few hours, you’ll come away enlightened and inspired on what’s around and what you might then want to explore further. Tours also offer first-hand access to a local expert who is bound to be full of ideas, and are social occasions full of like-minded people you could potentially befriend for the rest of your holiday.

Shared experiences

Why not join up with another family who are staying in the UK and split the cost of renting a cottage? If you get on well, there’s the potential to collaborate on cooking meals and sharing childcare. If you can share equipment, your physical load will be lightened, and the presence of constant companions for your kids can be stimulating enough on its own without having to plan a programme of additional activities.

Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/

A lifestyle journalist from London, Kitty Hastings has years of experience writing about home economics, parenting, fashion and travel and how to balance your budget both inside and outside the house. She recommends Eccount Money, a leader in the field of companies specialising in helping people with debt. Kitty’s articles appear in a wide range of blogs and offline publications - and she loves nothing more than relaxing with a cup of tea and a great book and adores anything vintage.