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How to find a cheap hotel: 17 spending secrets to find a low cost stay in 2016

Mirror logo Mirror 19/06/2016 By Emma Munbodh

© Provided by Mirror If you're lucky enough to be jetting off to France for the European Championships this summer, or you've a family break on the horizon, it may be time to get your accommodation in, before rates jump up last minute.

With big sports events just around the corner - including the Champions League Final this weekend in Milan, many central hotels will already be booked out, but, better late than never, and we've got some tips to get you sorted, even for this Saturday.

Hotel prices vary by provider and agent, for example a stay at The Marriott Hotel London on the 15 June 2016 booked via the Marriott website, is likely to be different to Expedia, Lastminute.com and Travelzoo. So ALWAYS do you research.

Likewise, if you're a frequent traveller, reward schemes and cashback tricks can help you earn as you stay - eventually leading to a free room.

To help you find a cheap stay in 2016, here are 17 money-saving tips to work your way through, before you book.

For hotels in Britain, this London hotel has been named one of the best in the world for family holidays, or, here are the 10 best value for money rooms in the capital.

1. 40% off Trivago in the UK and abroad


Travel search engine Trivago compares prices across 700,000 hotels and 200 booking websites to bring you a competitive rate for a stay in the UK, or abroad.

To use the search engine, visit Trivago.co.uk and enter your destination into the search box. You'll then be prompted to enter travel dates, and board requests during your stay.

Although Trivago is a registered comparison website, not ALL hotels are listed, therefore as with insurance, always compare prices across comparison websites too.

2. Earn cashback on your stay

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Websites like Earnaway and TopCashback will pay you to purchase your bookings through their website - this is better known as cashback.

How do these websites work? Sign up for free and purchase an item from one of their partner retailers to receive money back on your order. This can take up to two weeks, but the cash rewards are often amazing.

Unlike other sites, EarnAway has partnerships with a range of booking partners which enable them to bring back deals for over 500,000 hotels. They also offer members a best price guarantee.

TopCashback and Quidco, meanwhile, do not have exclusive deals - but if your vendor is on the list - they will pay out, so it's always worth comparing the three sites.

For more ways to save on your stay, we've rounded up our 10 favourite hotels in Manchester.

3. Use comparison websites

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Before you sign on any dotted line, make sure you've bagged the cheapest possible price on your stay.

Websites like TravelSupermarket and Kayak are experts at this, and will scour through hundreds of websites and millions of deals to bring you a round up of the best prices based on your destination and venue.

But, always remember to compare across comparison websites, as some may not cover specific chains or brands.

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4. Are taxes included?

If you've spotted the same hotel significantly cheaper on a different website (for the same date) find out whether taxes have been added to the advertised price.

A number of popular holiday destinations will charge a £20ish per day room tax. Not all sites include this, so always check - otherwise you'll see the price shoot up when you checkout.

5. Consider a top secret hotel

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A lot of four and five star hotels like to remain anonymous when offering discounts and run ‘secret’ deals for their mystery hotel rooms, meaning you can get a great rate but you won’t know where you’re going to stay until night before you arrive.

Lastminute.com is famous for this, with their 'Top Secret Hotels' booking system.

LateRooms.com also has a secret system, type in ‘Secret hotel’ into their site and it’ll bring up a number of hotels in your destination.

6. Booking a family holiday? Trade your hotel for a villa

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If you're booking a family holiday, you can save hundreds of pounds by ditching a hotel for a villa.

This isn't limited to abroad. Private homes rentals websites like Airbnb offer holiday makers in the UK, and all over the world, the chance to rent empty homes.

Out of season you can find seriously luxurious accommodation for around £10 a person per night (plus, there's the option to haggle).

You'll be responsible for your own cleaning and washing up, but it'll save you A LOT of money if you've a large family.

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7. Test out new hotels for free

If you're happy to play the guinea pig, new hotels are always on the look out for clientele - like you, to test out and offer feedback on their rooms.

Websites like Hotel News Resource will flag up new venues, and you can call up to ask about a discount or potentially free stay.

8. Join loyalty points schemes

Hilton Honors and Marriott Rewards offer loyalty schemes - and if you travel a lot, especially with work, it's definitely worth a sign up.

Points and loyalty schemes offer free rooms (once you've accumulated enough), special offers (like free breakfast) and discounts at certain times of the year, like your birthday.

9. Consider renting a revamped university room

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In recent years, there's been a spike in universities publicly renting rooms out of term time, and rooms start at around £37 a night in the UK and Europe.

Rentals website UniversityRooms revamp halls and bedrooms around the country, transforming them from boxy student accommodation to colourful, spacious rooms and studios for the public to rent out around key holiday times like Easter and throughout the summer.

Rooms in central London start from £37.50 a night. You can even stay at Christ Church in Oxford and eat in the Hogwarts Grand Hall from £50 per night.

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10. The early bird catches the worm

Going to a concert, festival, conference, or a popular event? Book in advance. It’s basic economics – the higher the demand the higher the price.

So, if you’re headed somewhere everyone else is headed too, it’s better to get in there early if you want the best deal. You’ll also avoid the dreaded ‘No Availability’ notice from your favourite hotel.

11. Get on your smartphone

Be tech-savvy about booking.

LateRooms.com has ‘app only’ deals and users can get between 10 and 40% off last minute getaways.

Tripadvisor also has a handy 'bargain hotels finder' with 25 of the best priced rooms in your chosen destination. See our Tripadvsior how-to guide for more.

12. Get on the bus

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Happy travellers should always consider hotels in neighbouring towns and cities to their chosen location if a big event means that rooms are scarce (or scarily pricey).

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13. City breaks are cheaper in summer

Bear in mind the season which you’re looking to go away. City breaks tend to be cheaper in the summer, as there are usually fewer events, fewer business travellers, and a mass exodus to the coast.

It’s worth pointing out that if you try and book a hotel for a June skiing break though, you’ll probably be left disappointed. Here's some ski holiday tips if that's what you're after.

14. Travel solo

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Take advantage of travelling solo – a lot of hotels assume it’ll be two of you staying in a room, but some offer great rates for singletons.

Shop around for the ones that do and you, and only you, will thank yourself for it.

15. Consider a hostel

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Backpackers will know all too well how much a hostel can save you on your travels - you can get a room for around £20 a night.

The downside is you may have to share with strangers - so keep your belongings close (avoid travelling with anything too valuable) and be social - getting to know your roomies will save you a fortune in stress.

How to find a hostel: Travel firms like Hostel World and Hostel Bookers are a good, and safe place to start.

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16. London rooms from £30 a night at Premier Inn

If you're after a cheap stay in London, Premier Inn has recently opened 10 new London hotels, and prices start at £30 a night.

Take a look at our top picks below:

Brentford: 30 minutes to central London, for £30 a night.

Kingston: From the riverfront shops to the famous town sculptures, enjoy the market town of Kingston, for £39 a night.

Aldgate: Enjoy Brick Lane and its many markets for £59 a night.

For more overnight stays in the capital, see our cheap London hotels guide.

17. £29 Travelodge rooms

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Travelodge regularly hosts big deals on hotel rooms - with half price (£29) sales around four times a year - mostly during peak seasons - and a free stay in January to beat the New Year blues.

English Wine Week kicks off on 28 May, and to celebrate, the hotels chain has released rooms from £29 for those looking to top up on their wine knowledge or get out of town for a weekend away.

If you’re more of a culture vulture, you can also use the deal to explore one of the UK’s amazing cities which are steeped in history and culture - and of course luxury shopping, such as London, Edinburgh Liverpool. Manchester or Newcastle.

To book your £29 room, visit: www.travelodge.co.uk.

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