Top Hotel Booking Tips—Including the Best Time to Check In

Travel pros analyzed data to help you save some serious cash on your next getaway.

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Who doesn't want a luxurious vacation that's also affordable? According to hotel booking data from Hopper, it's possible to score a high-end hotel even if you're on a budget. After analyzing millions of hotel prices around the globe, Hopper's travel aficionados shared hotel booking tricks that frequently save travelers extra cash—including the best time to check in at the front desk. So get the best bang for your buck before the start of your next vacation with these hotel booking tips from the pros.

How to Secure Cheaper Rates

Sure, travel sites alert you of the best available times to book. However, some hotel rates simply aren't available online. Hotel prices are subject to change just as quickly as flights, but unlike major airlines, travelers can opt to call hotels directly to save.

Prior to booking your next hotel stay, give the front desk a ring and inquire about their package rates, member rates, and pre-purchased inventory blocks to make sure you're securing the most affordable room option.

The Best Time to Book a Room

Size matters, especially when it comes to the population of your destination. Travelers headed to larger, more business travel-heavy cities (think Chicago, Boston, and New York City) should book hotels 1-2 weeks in advance of their stay for optimal pricing. That's because hotel prices in these cities tend to drop in the 3 months prior to check-in, and the cheapest room rates are available at the very last minute.

In smaller cities that experience a higher concentration of leisure travelers (think St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Phoenix) Hopper suggests reserving your room two to three months in advance. Accommodations located in popular weekend getaways like these offer the best rates three months in advance of check-in, and prices often spike for last-minute bookers.

Ideal Check-In Day

Consider the start date of your vacation if you want to save some extra cash on your trip. In general, Sunday is the least expensive day of the week to begin your stay at a hotel. In fact, settling in on a Sunday can save travelers up to 19% on overall room rates, compared to mid-week check-ins.

Hopper's data further revealed that Tuesday is often the most expensive day of the week to check into a hotel, especially in populous cities that experience a high proportion of weekday business traffic. Avoid checking in on this heavy travel day if possible. Also, after you have your accommodations secured, be sure to track flight prices to continue the savings.

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