How to save money on hotel reservations: the best time to book a room

By Tetiana PavlichenkoDec 26, 2023 08:24 AMBudget trips
How to save money on hotel reservations: the best time to book a room
Proper travel planning can help reduce your accommodation costs. Source: Image Freepik

Among all the expenses of traveling, the biggest part is travel and accommodation. And you'll often have to spend even more on a hotel than on a flight, so it's worth considering how to save money on hotel reservations while planning your trip.

The most obvious way is to determine the best time to book a hotel to catch the moment of greatest benefit. Hotel and vacation rental prices are dynamic and depend on demand, season, etc. During your planning, you may notice that the cost of the same hotel room may differ on different days, even if you choose it for the same date. So, when should you book a hotel to save money? Here are some tips for thrifty travelers.

When to book a room for a bargain?


How to save money on hotel reservations: the best time to book a room
During peak periods, demand for hotels increases several times over. Source: Image Drazen Zigic/Freepik

Just like with booking airline tickets, there is no exact date or specific day when you are guaranteed to get the best price on accommodations. To determine the best time to book a hotel cheaply, you should first look at statistics.

Usually, the lowest room rates appear 15 days before the arrival date. Yes, in the case of hotels, earlier booking is not always the most favorable. You can often get better deals at the last minute. The platform NerdWallet in 2022 conducted a study analyzing over 2,500 hotel room prices for 2019-2021. According to their results, travelers who booked rooms 15 days before arrival were able to save approximately 13% compared to those who made a reservation 4 months in advance.

However, keep in mind that this is an average of the best time to save money on a hotel, and peak travel periods, such as holiday time, were not taken into account to determine this. For these periods, you should book a hotel well in advance, because the demand increases many times, and if you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of being left with nothing.

You should also take into account the destination you are traveling to. According to research by travel platform Hopper, a 15-day window is a good benchmark for big business cities like Chicago or New York. But for popular tropical destinations like Hawaii or Caribbean resorts, it won't be accurate enough to consider it the best and most favorable time to book a hotel on that basis. For these popular destinations according to Hopper, better deals on accommodations appear about 2-3 months before the trip.

What are the risks of booking late?

The first thing that can disrupt your plans is if there may not be any rooms available at your chosen hotel. If you are planning to travel to a popular destination or during a busy period, you may find that there is no vacant room in other hotels.

To minimize this risk of being left with nothing, book a room at a hotel that offers free cancellation. Then, if you see that a better offer has become available, you can take advantage of that free cancellation. Just keep track of the rates regularly: that way you won't miss the best time to book a hotel to save money. But be careful and familiarize yourself with all the cancellation policies. Double check the fine print before you reserve a room so you don't miss out on the possible presence of cancellation penalties or restrictions. This method of finding the best time for an inexpensive hotel reservation takes some effort, but it is really effective.

How do you choose the best day and time to rent a room?

How to save money on hotel reservations: the best time to book a room
Monitor hotel prices for several weeks for favorable hotel reservations. Source: Image Freepik

That a certain time of day or day of the week can affect the cost of a reservation is mostly a myth. Between one day and the next, the difference in room rates will be negligible. In order to choose the best time to book a room and save money, you should take a complete picture 2 weeks or 2-3 months before arrival, depending on where you are going. This way you will be able to determine the approximate boundaries in which room rates fluctuate and choose the right rate.

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