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Hotel Travel Tips on a Budget: 8 Ideas for Getting the Most for Your Dollar at Hotels

Jonathan Bentz has been 'getting rank' online since 2004. He is a Digital Marketing Manager and has been featured on many top sites.

Most people who travel regularly for business or pleasure know several ways to stretch their dollar further, get more perks from the hotel, or at least make off with some free swag. Most anyone who has stayed in a hotel has probably made off with (or noticed how easy it would be to make off with) the shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

Some even sneak out with the extra pillows they request! But anyone can do that – we’re here to give you a few tips on how you can make the most of your hotel stay, whether through extra service or freebies.

Tip #1: Reserve Your Room Over the Phone With the Hotel Directly – No 1-800 Numbers, No 3rd Party Travel Sites

You can do your initial research online, check out the 3rd party travel sites, etc. but getting a live person on the phone at the hotel is the best way to find out all the extra deals you can get for little to no money. Many times even the 800 number on the website can send you to a corporate headquarters that already have set rates in place, no negotiation. You’re better off speaking directly with someone at the front desk in the hotel. After all, they WANT to rent you a room – and they’ve got the decision makers right there to be able to match prices you may find online, upgrade your room, or offer free meals.

You’ll definitely want to mention if you’re traveling for a special occasion – anniversary, bachelor/bachelorette party, etc. Knowing you’re traveling for a special occasion makes it more likely the hotel will honor your request for a corner room or one with a great view. They might even throw in some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for free!

Tip #2: Don’t Ask for a Free Upgrade, Especially When Other Guests Are in Earshot

If you’d really like a better room for the same price, leave some time at check in to chat with the front desk and see if they have a room that’s a bit more spacious. Typically corner rooms and handicap rooms have more space, so don’t be afraid to request one.

Tip #3: Call After 2 PM for Special Requests

The front desk is typically swamped between 9AM and 2PM with check outs and check ins. They’ll be more likely to listen and handle your request in a timely manner if it comes at a time when there’s not a huge line at the front desk.

Tip #4: Don’t Get Greedy With the Freebies

You’ll notice that things like soap and shampoo have the hotel’s logo on them – so when you swipe them and set them out in your own bathroom at home, you’re actually providing free advertising for the hotel. When you make off with things like linens or an iron, you’ll more than likely see a charge showing up on your credit card.

Tip #5: Don’t Ask for Free Wi-Fi Ahead of Time

Many hotels actually offer complimentary Wi-Fi to their guests. For those that don’t, refrain from asking for it free in advance. According to hotel receptionists, it’s easier for them to remove the charges at checkout then to offer it up at the beginning of your stay.

Tip #6: Chat up the Front Desk Clerk About Things to Do, Rather Than the Concierge

Some concierges get kickbacks for sending visitors to expensive tourist traps. The front desk clerk is more likely to tell you about the real hot spots – and might have some great coupons or discount tickets behind their desk.

Tip #7: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Free Hot Breakfast

If a hotel has a free continental breakfast and a hot breakfast bar buffet, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get the hot breakfast with your room. Many hotels will say “yes.”

Tip #8: Always Ask for Clean Linens at Check In

While all hotels change sheets daily, many only change blankets and bedspreads weekly – or even monthly (unless there’s a visible stain). Always ask for clean linens at check in!