Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Are you thinking of taking a last-minute vacation? Don't fret, because you can still get a good bargain on hotels; it's just a matter of knowing where to find it and how to do it. With the travel industry being more competitive than ever, there are several outstanding companies all vying for your almighty dollar. In spite of missing typical tips like booking 45 days in advance or booking on a weekday, read on to learn about great tips on how to find a last-minute hotel deal.
Hipmunk.com (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Using Price Comparison Websites
Because of the competitive nature of hotel reservations, there is an enormous collection of online travel companies offering last-minute deals. It's as easy as performing an online search using keywords like "last minute hotel deals." While more familiar sites like Trivago and Kayak allow you to compare multiple sites for the best price, Hipmunk is increasingly getting more attention and has been described by Forbes as the World's Best Travel Site.
Expedia (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Other Online Booking Sites
It's important not to ignore the long-established online booking sites, such as Booking, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Priceline. Other sites worth visiting include Getaroom, BookingBuddy and relatively new to the travel game but the world's top search engine – Google Hotel Finder.
Related: Best Budget Vacation Destinations
Hotels Tonight App (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Some sites, such as Expedia and Orbitz, offer discount coupons simply by using their mobile app. Each site is currently offering a $25 discount by booking through a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Also worth checking out is Booking.com's Tonight App for last-minute deals and the Hotel Tonight app, first introduced in 2011 and also specializing in last-minute hotel deals. Initially available for Android and then iOS, this increasingly popular mobile app recently added an app for Windows devices and is currently offering a $40 coupon for Windows users using the promo code WINTONIGHT.
Call the Hotel Directly
Before booking a trip online, it helps to call your hotel of choice directly to inquire on any last-minute deals. Although it takes an extra step before making a final decision, consider this: hotels would rather book a last-minute deal than leave a room unoccupied. This is also important because many hotels have to pay a fee to be featured on online travel booking sites. Additionally, if you have a card from organizations like AAA or AARP or you're a government employee or in the military, you can save even more.
Groupon Hotel Room (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Deal Of The Day Sites
Groupon and Living Social offer tremendous bargains for hotels, sometimes saving more than 50 percent online or via their mobile apps. However, booking in advance is a far better prospect than last-minute booking, but requires a bit of patience in sorting out the available properties. For last-minute European hotel deals, try using Groupon's Blink app for same- or next-day bargains.
Related: Tips For Your Next Road Trip
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.
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