We recently went on a trip where we stayed at an upscale hotel. I’m sharing that because although we love staying at this specific hotel and love all the amenities it has to offer, the cost of the stay at the end of the trip can hurt – like A LOT. Especially when I try to forget about the room charges we made during the trip and then see them on the checkout bill.
So, this was our second time going back to this hotel. But, this time I was determined to find ways to save us some money and find ways to spend less money while staying at the hotel. I’ve created a list of frugal hotel travel hacks that you can use the next time you want to stay at your favourite hotel.
Here are some ways to justify staying at your favourite hotel but also save yourself some money that you would ordinarily be spending:
1. Pack a refillable water bottle in your carry on bag or in your purse. When you get to the hotel, find the gym and fill up your water bottle up there. The water is usually cold and filtered. I know that I wasn’t the only one doing this at the hotel.
2. Find the gym. You never know what kinds of free snacks or treats the gym will have that you can scoop up and save for later in the day, while you’re out sightseeing. Sometimes there is fruit (bananas, apples and oranges) or protein snack bars. We actually enjoy and look forward to going to the gym while on vacation, because it’s not often that we get to workout in the morning on a workday and the workout can be as long as we want. (If this is your first time to our site, we are two lawyers in Canada on a financial independence path with some travel indulgences along the way, – read about our story here.) After my workout, I normally take an extra couple snacks to eat later in the day or the next morning before my workout. I also wasn’t the only one doing this at the hotel.
3. Before you get to the hotel, research and find out about ALL of the hotel amenities. If you don’t look, it’s unlikely that someone will just tell you about it. I don’t know why they don’t, but they just don’t. Be sure to look if your hotel has a resort fee. If it does, find out what comes with the resort fees i.e. what “extra amenities” are included? It wasn’t until staying at the hotel a second time, that we learned there was a shuttle to and from the airport included with our resort fee (obviously you have to tip, but still, you think they mention something about that being an option). We were surprised to find out about it, and it was easy to arrange. Maybe a little more work than an Uber. It was the same price as an Uber ride to the hotel.
Other amenities that we loved were coffee and tea in the morning and wine and beer hour at the hotel in the evening for all guests. Also included as part of the amenities were bikes and helmets (of course we opted to wear helmets – we’re 2 risk adverse lawyers).
4. Before you get to your hotel, map out what’s nearby your hotel. Is there a grocery store? Is there a local coffee shop nearby that’s cheaper than Starbucks for the morning to buy a muffin? We find the closest grocery store and get ourselves some “supplies” for our trip. We buy chips, mixed nuts, and yogurt to keep in the room, eat at the pool and to go on hikes. This way, you don’t have to buy them from the hotel or room service.
5. If you like to have some refreshing drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) at the pool or in your room, there are 2 things you can do.
You can go to the liquor store or grocery store and buy wine, beer, coolers, etc. for your hotel room. If your hotel has a pool, then you might want to pack your own sealed, dark plastic drinking container. I didn’t do this this trip, but I say other hotel guests doing this and thought about all the money they were saving and I was spending (the drinks at the pool were $14 US). That can add up when you’re at the pool all day. Remember though, you can’t take glass to the pool area.
One thing I did do was buy some white wine coolers and poured them into a water glass and took them up to the pool. The 4 pack of coolers was $9 US and a glass of wine at the pool was $11 US, so I saved myself $35 US in pool wines!! That’s insane isn’t it!!
If you want some frugal travel hacks, check out this post of 18 Airline Travel Hacks You Need to Know for Your Next Flight. I absolutely LOVE the ideas in this list and have already started trying them out.
- Pack a refillable water bottle in your carry on bag or in your purse.
- Find the gym. You might find some free snacks and purified water.
- Before you get to the hotel, find out about ALL the hotel amenities (especially the ones they don’t want you to know about).
- Map out what’s nearby your hotel – grocery store? liquor store? local coffee shop.
- Buy alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from the grocery store and save yourself some money at the pool or before going out for dinner.