By Chloe Mulliner, on September 12, 2017

Top ways to find an affordable hotel

When it comes to booking a vacation, price matters. We recently conducted our American Travel Habits survey, and we discovered that 76 percent of respondents consider price the most important factor when booking a hotel. The second most important factor? Amenities. From this, we surmise that just because you want a good deal, doesn’t mean you’re willing to skimp on hotel features.

Due to our findings, we set out to find some of the best ways to score an affordable hotel room. We rounded up some of your frequently asked questions surrounding the topic, and sprinkled in a few of our burning questions, too. Check out our answers below to find fun, budget hotels (affordable places that offer basic amenities) that won’t break the bank.


What do budget hotels offer?

You may not have your own personal butler or Michelin-star restaurant on-site when you stay at a budget hotel, but you just may be surprised at the extent of amenities and services that are available. Many affordable hotels provide fitness centers, swimming pools, complimentary breakfasts, and even on-site eateries. Also, believe it or not, many budget hotels are situated in desirable locations.

Budget hotels in Chicago, for example, invite you to stay in the heart of the action, without spending a fortune. The Best Western Grant Park Hotel is just one mile from famous attractions such as Millennium Park, and it has a restaurant and wine bar on the premises. Another nearby wallet-friendly option is Hotel Chicago Illinois Medical District, which sits less than 2 miles from Willis Tower. It features its own fitness facility, business center, and free Wi-Fi access.

What are the best budget hotels?

The best budget hotels cover all your bases without skimping on comfort. While there are tons of options all over the nation, some of our favorites include:

The Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle sits in the heart of the city’s hotel hub, and offers many comforts. Located fewer than 5 miles away from the sand and sea along Ocean Beach, and just 6 miles from the oceanfront Belmont Park, this hotel is in a prime location. Not in the mood for leaving the hotel grounds? Take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool and grab some farm-to-table gourmet grub at Bunz: A Burger Joint.

As for the best hotels in Orlando on a budget, the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista fits the bill. You can’t argue with a thrifty accommodation that’s half a mile from the House of Mouse and only 9 miles from Universal Studios Florida—it even provides complimentary shuttle rides to and from the theme parks. On-site, you’ll find an outdoor swimming pool, arcade, cocktail lounge, and activities for the kids. Oh, and did we mention children eat for free?

How do you find budget hotels?

The best place to start is by browsing through budget hotel inventories. At, you can narrow down your options, pick your travel dates, and search by one-star, two-star, and three-star hotels, seeing not only their pricing, but their corresponding user ratings, too. This helps give you a better sense of what the rates are like in that city during specific days of the week or months of the year. Keep in mind, hotel rates are bound to be more expensive during the high season, especially in popular tourist destinations.

Are certain days better for finding lower rates?

Typically, low and shoulder seasons yield cheaper hotel rates. These periods see fewer tourists, which means fewer crowds and less competition. When searching for a budget hotel, you may find that if you tweak your vacation plans by a week or two, the rates could change drastically. The same goes for if you’re planning to stay over the weekends or weekdays, as Friday and Saturday rates tend to be more expensive than a Monday or Tuesday stay. A Friday through Monday trip could wind up being more affordable than a Thursday through Sunday visit.

As for the day on which you book your hotel, some experts recommend booking during the cancellation period, which is generally 24-48 hours ahead of your stay. Many hotels offer this grace period in which guests can cancel free of charge, and then the hotel turns around and offers those rooms for lower rates in a last-minute effort to fill them up. If you don’t mind cutting it close, you could snag some good deals on your stay.

Can loyalty programs help me find affordable hotels?

Through the Expedia+ Rewards program, you rack up points when you purchase flights, hotels, and activities through Expedia. There are three levels of status, and the higher the level, the more points you’ll earn. You can then put your points toward the cost of a qualifying Expedia hotel to help reduce the overall cost.

Can you save money by booking flights and hotels together?

Yes. offers vacation packages, in which you can bundle qualifying flights and hotels into one package and purchase them at the same time, thus saving yourself money. Though some restrictions may apply, such as requiring that you stay at the hotel for a minimum number of nights, this is a good way to receive a cheaper rate on a hotel that may otherwise be outside of your price range.

What other questions do you have about finding hotels on a budget?