5 Must-know holiday hacks from the experts
Many of us are planning to make up for lost time and travel more than ever before in a post pandemic world – 77% of us according to a recent survey (and who can blame us? Pass BALANCE the Factor 30 for a start). If you’re dreaming of Egyptian cotton sheets, mints on pillows and breakfast buffets (my, my, how we have missed thee) and are intending a splurge on hotels in 2022, you will be in the market for learning all about how to get the best deal on your reservation – because hands up who has spent hours, nay days, on every website out there trying to get the price down every time you’re booking a hotel.
Editor of boutique hotel website i-escape Jake Hamilton shares his top tips in how to hack the booking process. From booking the best room to getting a cheeky upgrade, Jake shares his advice on how to have the best experience possible on your next vacay.
NAIL THE BEST RATES
In order to get the best bang for your buck, I recommend booking either early or late. For small properties, the earlier the better as they can fill up months in advance. But, if you can be more flexible and are willing to stay in a bigger property, waiting until 2-3 weeks before you travel can make a lot of difference. For staycations outside big cities like London, aim to travel from Sunday to Thursday for the best prices.
SCORE YOURSELF AN UPGRADE
Bagging an upgrade can be tricky but timing your travel outside of peak seasons makes it much more likely. Staff will be less stressed and the better rooms will be available. Email the hotel a few days ahead and always be polite when asking. Mention something personal to you such as a birthday or anniversary and make enquiries about dinner and other facilities – it will make them look on your request more kindly. A gentle reminder when you check in is always worth it, too.
SPEND THAT LITTLE BIT MORE
In order to make the most of your holiday, be sure to book the best room for you. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest rate but sometimes spending an extra £20-30 a night can get you that all-important sea view or a suite with much more space which could totally change your overall experience.
PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Make sure that you always check the finer points of in-room facilities and ensure they are right for you before you book. If you are a caffeine lover, the last thing you want to find in your room is a sachet of Nescafé and a plastic teaspoon; you’ll end up spending over £10 a day on decent coffee from the hotel bar. Alternatively, if a soak in a bath is important, check that your rooms bathrooms has a tub and maybe even some luxury complimentary smells.
LEARN THE LINGO
Always read the small print and contact the hotel directly if you’re unsure of anything. Advance purchase rates are always the cheapest but you need to pay 100% upfront and usually this will be non-refundable if you have to cancel. The best B&B rates will have more flexibility and breakfasts can run until mid/late morning and can serve as brunch if you are not an early riser. Or, if you’re not big on breakfast, choose the best room-only rate and just grab a coffee and croissant at a café nearby.
Jake Hamilton is the editor of boutique hotel website www.i-escape.com.
i-escape features over 1500 boutique hotels, B&Bs, apartments and villas in approximately 50 countries around the world.