Which country has the highest-priced hotels?
The immediate answer is the Maldives, according to Hotels.com's recently released Hotel Price Index. But the real takeaway is that for the past few years hotel prices have been rising across the globe, no matter which country you choose to visit.
The average room rate rose by an average of three percent in 2012, with significant gains in the Caribbean (six percent) and North America (five percent), according to Hotels.com.
Thankfully, there are plenty of savvy ways to save money on a hotel room today -- you just need to know the insider tricks. Many have to do with navigating the increasingly complex landscape of online booking. You'll find start-up websites such as Tingo, which offers automatic refunds when a room rate drops. DealAngel, meanwhile, will help you decide if that online find is really such a steal. And all the major booking sites are embracing "bundling" as a way to drop rates to unprecedented lows.
Read on for Travel + Leisure's best tips for saving money on your next hotel stay. —Amy Farley
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips Hotels drop prices to unprecedented lows when they can “hide” their room rates from the general public. One way they do it: bundling rooms with airfares through online travel agents such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. In a recent test, we searched for round-trip tickets from New York City to Los Angeles with a seven-night hotel stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Bought separately, we’d have had to pay $2,367. Bundled on Travelocity, however, we’d pay $632 less—that’s a full 20 percent savings. Photo: Orbitz.com
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips Don’t be fooled: club-level rates at brands such as Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, and Marriott may be higher, but they can offer real value. Here’s what you get when you pay $100 to upgrade to a Gold-floor room at Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza: Breakfast for Two: $52; Evening Appetizers: $20; Evening Dessert: $20; In-Person Wake-Up Call with Juice, Coffee, or Tea: $30; Large Bottled Water: $7; Soft Drinks and Snacks from the Lounge: $10; Welcome Drink: $10; Wi-Fi: $15. The total amounts to $164, which means those who pay to upgrade will save $64. Photo: liv friis-larsen / Alamy
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips DealAngel, our favorite new online hotel search tool, doesn’t just aggregate bargains and sort them by price; it also compares the offered rate with the hotel’s average, assessing just how good a deal you’re getting. Bonus: the site’s handy color-coded calendar helps you figure out the most affordable times to travel to your favorite destinations. Photo: DealAngel.com
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips The divide between airline and hotel loyalty programs is shrinking. A new partnership between Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Delta Air Lines allows Starwood Preferred Guest platinum and gold members to earn Starpoints for every dollar they spend on Delta fares. Similarly, Delta Medallion members with silver or higher status will get SkyMiles for money spent on Starwood rooms. And status members of both programs get priority treatment at the other. Photo: Peter Titmuss / Alamy
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips Loyalty pays—especially when it costs nothing to join. Many brands offer perks and benefits to even the lowest tier of loyalty-club members. So next time you’re at a hotel, sign up. What do you have to lose? Photo: Oliver Munday
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips You no longer need to pay exorbitant in-room or cellular roaming fees to make international calls. Internet phone services such as Skype, Rebtel, and Line offer free calls within their networks, as well as greatly reduced rates to landlines (17 cents per minute on calls from France to the U.S., for example). All you need is a Wi-Fi or mobile hot spot and you’re good to go. Photo: istockphoto
More Money-Saving Hotel Tips The new website Tingo makes it extremely easy to get a partial refund if your hotel rate drops. Book a refundable room through the site, which monitors the price. If the rate goes down, Tingo will automatically refund the difference to your credit card shortly after your stay. Photo: Courtesy of Tingo
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