It is getting to be vacation planning time, for some of you who are more organized than myself you may have already made plans for your summer travel, but in our house we just started discussing it last week.
This is one of my favorite vacation planning resources.
What is one of the biggest expenses when you travel? Your hotel room.
I suggest checking out Roomsaver to get the most bang for your buck. They have a pamphlet that you can pick up in the front of almost any hotel or even some restaurants, but for me it is most convenient to use the website (Roomsaver.com). I find that I have the best luck when I am planning last minute weekend getaways, though I have used it for "planned" vacations too.
The website is simple to use: From their homepage you select the state, then select the city and they will show you their current hotel discounts. It usually includes a picture of the hotel so that you can get an idea of what it looks like, for me I tend to check the hotel out on other travel sites and read reviews to ensure that they hotel meets the guidelines that I set for my family vacations. You can find discounts at most of the chain hotels, but we have found really nice places that weren't associated with the big chains as well.
You can book the hotel right through their website, though for me I like to call the hotel directly. Either way, I have found (with the hotels that we have gone to) that they will give you the same deal. Just tell them that you are calling because you saw the price of $XX on roomsaver.com. For me I need to be able to talk to someone and ensure that the amenities that we want / need are all in working order, specifically making sure that the pool is open and that there is a crib available if we decided against bringing the pack and play.
We have used the Roomsaver hotels multiple times and have had no problems. This past summer we stayed in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We stayed less than five miles away from Hershey Park, on a weekend during the summer and paid only $59 per night including breakfast. We also stayed right outside of Boston on a weekend for just over $60 per night. You can even find rooms as low as $40 per night in some popular destinations such as Orlando. [Having said that, I probably wouldn't take my family to the $40 per night hotel in Orlando. If I am going to Orlando, I am most likely going for Disney - stay at one of the All-Star resorts and get a package including tickets. You will get a good deal, you will be on Disney property, you can use their transportation and you won't need to rent a car or worry about parking]
A word of caution - as I said, I have had no problems with the roomsaver hotels but I do my research first. Since I am traveling with my little guys, I need to make sure the quality of the hotel is up to my standards. If I could provide one word of caution it would be that if you see a $30 per night hotel in a big city or a popular travel destination be sure to check out the hotel prior to booking. It may be fine, but you want to enjoy your whole vacation, including the hotel you are staying in so my advice would be:
1.) Read some reviews (make sure they say that it is clean, has good service and that they would return)
2.) Make sure you know the check-in / check-out times and ensure they will work for you
3.) Call the hotel to double check on amenities / services that are important to you and your family.
Once you are comfortable with the hotel you have selected, book it and enjoy the fact that you have saved a significant amount on your hotel.