A Travel Hack without the Hack

Aloha my beautiful Friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Travel Tip Thursday” post, so today I’m sharing a tip that has been right in front of us this ENTIRE time. I just recently figured it out and it’s so obvious that you’ll probably end up “face-palming” yourself and exclaiming “DOH!” in your best Homer Simpson voice. Or maybe I’m the only 20-something still using Simpson references… 

Homer Simpson

The internet is an amazing and helpful tool when it comes to travel planning, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming (Thailand planning, I’m looking at you!). There are hundreds of hotel reservation websites with each and every site offering the “best deal”, “hot rates,” and “rock bottom prices,” so how do you know if you’re really getting the best deal?


If you couldn’t tell from my original post, we were head over flipflops for the Bo Phut Resort & Spa on Koh Samui; in fact, we loved it so much that we rearranged our entire itinerary just so we could spend our final few days relaxing poolside.

When we originally toyed with the idea of heading back to this resort, we checked the third-party reservation sites which unfortunately showed that the resort was completely booked. My heart skipped a few beats and slowly sank into my stomach as I thought that we were completely out of luck, however before claiming defeat, we checked the BoPhut Resort website and found limited availability for our specific nights. (Pictures and Plane Tickets: 1, Third Party Hotel Sites: 0).

Upon our second departure, the front desk encouraged us to reach out to them personally when planning our next visit. They explained that they could offer us better deals in email or on the phone than what their website shows and they also promised to take very good care of us. (Sure… Allllll hotels say that when you’re leaving, right? Well, maybe. But keep reading…)

BoPhut Resort

Fast forward to last month.

Cody and I have been busy dreaming about, and planning, our fifth anniversary trip for next summer. You guys, I get butterflies just thinking about this trip. And there may have been a time or two where I squealed like a little five-year old being told we were going to Disneyland. Yes, suffice it to say, I am beyond excited about this trip.

With our destination pinned down, I got online to scan hotel prices and I quickly found out that most of the typical booking engines offered the same room category for basically the same cost. Even the hotel’s official website advertised prices in the same range, but here’s where it really gets good…

While browsing the hotels’ official website, I reviewed the incredible deals listed on their “Promotions” tab; and of course, the hotel promotion that really caught my eye ended during the middle of May. (Damn the timing!) I decided to email the hotel to ask if they’d honor the promotion into June because at the very worst they would say, “No”, and I figured that at the very least, perhaps they’d tell me about a different promotion scheduled for the month of June.

To my surprise, the agent emailed me back within the day and said they would extend the offer into June, and the best part about it, they even offered daily continental breakfast for two for FREE. Just by emailing the hotel directly, I not only got the promotion that I wanted, but I also received an additional comp, and the best part is that I saved over $300 on this trip, so far. 🙂

So the next time you’re reserving a room I encourage you to reach out to the hotel by phone or email to ask about their promotions. It’s an additional step, but from my viewpoint, the more money you save, the faster your vacation fund grows for the next adventure.

So tell me, have you previously used this “hack” or are you going to try it on your next trip?

17 Comments

    • November 5, 2015 / 6:58 PM

      Thanks, Jamie! I’m so excited to announce it! 🙂
      xoxo

  1. November 5, 2015 / 7:01 PM

    That’s awesome. We’ve contacted the hotel directly when we were dealing with a group, but I hadn’t done it for when just our family traveled. I’ll have to give it a whirl. We’re off to Boston with the kids next Summer.

    • November 8, 2015 / 5:36 PM

      Boston in the summer sounds fantastic. It’s such a fun city!! Hoping this tip will work for you too, it never hurts to ask. 🙂
      xoxo

  2. November 5, 2015 / 8:57 PM

    We do that all the time. Nothing like a voice at the other end. Saved a few bucks over the years. We use the sites to narrow the search, then call or email. Ended up with some stunning places at way below advertised rates. We always try and book way in advance, sometimes up to a year ahead of time. Nice to see you pop up in my email by the way. Been away a bit myself. Started up a new venture, more info coming. I think I’ve linked my name to the site.

    • November 8, 2015 / 5:45 PM

      Hi John,
      Glad to hear this tip has worked for you over the years. I think it’s a great idea to use the third party sites to narrow down your options and then contact the hotels directly. I don’t know if I’ll be able to book any other way in the future. 🙂 I love the feeling of finding amazing travel deals and saving quite a bit of money in the process.
      I’ve been trying to get back into the blogging grove but it’s been a busy fall. Hoping to get on a normal schedule soon. I saw a new post from you in my email this morning… heading over to check it out now.

      • November 8, 2015 / 6:29 PM

        That’s great. I see you popped in on the new one. Thanks. Revving up the new go pro and new camera and giving it all we got.

  3. November 5, 2015 / 11:52 PM

    wow, that is fantastic. I will keep this in mind for future trips

    • November 8, 2015 / 5:45 PM

      Thanks, Ruth. Cheers to saving on future travel expenses! 🙂

  4. November 6, 2015 / 2:34 PM

    So smart! My husband is the travel planner in our family, I’m pretty sure he’s tried this too. Never hurts to ask a human, right?! 🙂

    • November 8, 2015 / 5:50 PM

      Thanks! 🙂 The worst that can happen is they say “No,” so it never hurts to ask. Even though the planning stage is one of my favorite parts of traveling, I have to admit that having someone else do the travel planning sounds so nice. I might have to try that at some point!!
      xoxo

  5. November 6, 2015 / 9:57 PM

    One of the best travel tips out there! I just arrived in Bali and instead of booking online just wandered into a few places to see what was nice. When I found a delightful place to stay I went to pay and found out that I was making a great saving compared to those who had booked in advance on booking.com … Can’t help but make your stay feel even more wonderful!

    Always good to ask, as you said… They can only say no! … But it’s unlikely xoxo

    • November 8, 2015 / 5:52 PM

      Hi Charlotte,
      Bali! That place looks so incredible. 🙂 I heard that in SE Asia you’ll get the best deals if you just wander in and negotiate from there. And you’re right, saving money during travel is one of the best feelings. 🙂 I know that the more I save, the faster my vacation fund will grow, and the quicker that next trip will happen.
      Heading over to follow along with your Bali adventure.
      xoxo

  6. November 11, 2015 / 5:14 AM

    Refreshingly good advice. I suppose the current generation of hotel comparison sites searchers makes us all forget how it used to be done!

    • November 14, 2015 / 8:53 AM

      Thank you 🙂 I thought it would be a good reminder, and I’m happy to hear it has worked for other readers as well.
      Have a happy day.

  7. November 19, 2015 / 11:34 AM

    Ugh can’t wait for your next trip already!

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