These expert tips and tricks will help you find affordable hotel rates and special deals, allowing you to save and stretch vacation dollars on your next family reunion

Hotels and resorts are popular choices for reunions and family vacations. Families spend tons of time searching for the perfect home base with features to please their entire crew. Pricing is also key since accommodations account for a significant percentage of the typical family travel budget.

Travel demand has increased significantly, and hotel prices have skyrocketed this year. Data from Hopper, a leading travel booking app, showed U.S. hotel prices a few months ago were nearly 55% higher than last year. International hotel rates have soared as well.

Inflation and rising travel costs may be causing you stress, but don’t worry. Destination Reunions has you covered with a wealth of stories on top family-friendly properties and free guides on budgeting and accommodations. In addition, we’ve uncovered the best tips and resources for saving money on hotels and resorts.

If you’re thinking about staying in a hotel as part of your next reunion or group family vacation, here are 15 ways to save big on your next hotel booking.

Use The Best Sites To Save Money On Hotels

Many online booking sites promise great hotel prices. Rather than visit each one, check out websites and metasearch engines like TripAdvisor, Kayak, Trivago and Skyscanner to see which booking sites provide the lowest prices. Sometimes TripAdvisor offers better rates than the leading booking sites.

According to research surveys, some of the best websites for booking cheap hotel rates include Expedia, Priceline,, Orbitz, Agoda,, Travelocity and Hotwire. Mr & Mrs Smith is another good site for boutique hotel accommodations and luxury travel bookings. 

Travel advisors may be able to provide additional hotel perks and amenities, including room upgrades and special welcome amenities.

Travel advisors may be able to provide additional hotel perks and amenities, including room upgrades and special welcome amenities.


Save Money Working With A Travel Advisor

A top-notch travel agent can help you score excellent hotel deals, including some that may only be available to travel advisors. In addition, a good travel advisor can match available hotel and resort options with your needs and help you plan the best travel experience for your family. Travel agents may also be aware of money-saving strategies and itinerary issues that can impact your trip, and they’re available to provide assistance if things go wrong. 

Booking through a travel advisor may provide you with additional perks and amenities. These can include a guaranteed room upgrade, late check-out time, free daily breakfast, food and beverage credits and complimentary welcome amenities.

Use Your Membership Cards For Savings

Membership in clubs such as AAA, AARP, Costco and Sam’s Club can deliver substantial savings on hotel room rates. Make sure to inquire about reduced rates and bring your membership card with you to the hotel. Certain credit unions have programs that provide hotel discounts, too.

Uncover Hot Deals Like A Pro

Travelers can obtain significant discounts when booking hotels through Hotwire Hot Rates and Priceline Express Deals. Hotel prices can sometimes be as much as 50-60% off published rates. However, it can be stressful to book a hotel room on these bidding sites since travelers only see the hotel’s name after their accommodations have been purchased. In addition, bookings are non-refundable.

If you’re considering purchasing your accommodations on Hotwire or Priceline, check out websites like This site uses information from previous Priceline and Hotwire shoppers to help predict the hotel names for advertised deals. There’s also a relatively new Chrome extension called Travel Arrow that reveals the names of specific hotels featured on Hotwire Hot Rates and Priceline Express Deals. Families and those requiring special arrangements should be aware that bed types and other amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Pay With Credit Card Points

Points earned through credit card purchases can be a great way to save on hotel and resort stays. Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Card, American Express Platinum and Gold Cards, Citi Prestige Card, and hotel-branded credit cards offer affiliate programs that allow members to use points for hotel stays or buy down the rates for certain hotels and resorts. If you’re a member, check out the options for using your points and compare them with the best hotel rates available for your desired dates.

Members in hotel rewards programs may receive a complimentary night at any of the brand’s hotels or resorts worldwide.

Members in hotel rewards programs may receive a complimentary night at any of the brand’s hotels or resorts worldwide.

Sign Up For Hotel Rewards Programs

Join hotel guest rewards programs and sign up for their newsletters. There’s no cost to join and the benefits can be substantial. Hotel chains often send out e-mail newsletters with special savings offers. In addition, your membership in hotel guest loyalty programs can provide additional special perks such as free Internet, room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, late checkouts, certificates for a free night stay, and other amenities. You’ll also receive points to use for a future free hotel stay.

Look For Discount Codes

Hotels sometimes offer special promotional codes and coupons for great deals on accommodations. Visit sites like and to see what’s available. For an even easier option, check out the PayPal Honey online shopping assistant. This free Chrome extension searches the Internet for discount codes and special deals on select hotels and other purchases. It also provides coupons for some booking sites such as Priceline and Travelocity.

Take Advantage Of Last-minute Steals

If you’re making last-minute or same-day hotel reservations, consider using sites and apps like HotelTonight and for low rates. Both are good tools for family vacationers who opt for a spur-of-the-moment getaway or are betting that last-minute low occupancy rates will yield great deals on accommodations. Just be aware that this can be a risky approach since certain conferences and events may generate high rates and sold-out conditions in your destination of choice.

Book A Package Deal

Sometimes, it’s possible to save money by purchasing your airfare and hotel room together. The best package deals may be available through travel advisors, but you can also find good options on booking sites like Expedia. If you’re considering a Flights + Hotel package option, price out the two separately before purchasing the package to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Join Travel Site Membership Programs For Big Savings

Certain online travel sites offer paid programs that provide members with deeply discounted hotel rates, special amenities and deals on travel experiences. Some of these include,, and TripAdvisor’s TripAdvisor Plus. These memberships can be worthwhile for frequent travelers and those who would like to afford luxury hotel stays at significantly reduced prices.

I joined TripAdvisor Plus to see if it was worthwhile. Within the first year, I saved more than eight times the cost of membership by purchasing discounted hotel and resort stays. As one can imagine, I’m a big fan.

Try To Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates

If you can be flexible with your travel itinerary, sometimes supply and demand can work in your favor. Certain hotels and resorts may have more availability during the week, while others are more affordable on the weekends. Research hotel prices for various dates when planning your trips, and adjust your travel dates whenever possible. 

Many leading hotels and resorts offer great deals during holiday sales.

Many leading hotels and resorts offer great deals during holiday sales.

Shop During Holiday Sales

Many resorts and hotel chains offer special deals around holiday periods. Some of these include Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day and Labor Day. Savings during holiday sales can be as much as 35-50% off regular rates. Make sure to note any restrictions and fare additions when shopping for hotel accommodations. These can include nonrefundable rates, mandatory resort fees, minimum stays and other caveats.

Holiday sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can yield massive savings on domestic and international hotel and resort bookings. Do a simple online search using keywords like “Black Friday Cyber Monday travel deals” and use hashtags to find stories and landing pages listing dozens of great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on hotels and resorts.

Be Social

Some hotels offer special rates on social media, so make sure to follow your favorite hotel brands on their social channels. Promotional offers are particularly common during holiday periods, but some campaigns may pop up unexpectedly. You may also find great local deals by searching using the name of your destination and the “hotel deals” search term or hashtag.

Check For Employer And Professional Discounts

Large companies often provide travel deals to their employees. Programs like Plum Benefits, a leading corporate entertainment benefits supplier, offer discounts of up to 60% off on hotels and special rates for theme parks and attractions. Certain professional organizations also provide travel discounts to their members, and military members may be eligible for special offers.

Go Direct

Once you’ve completed your research, call your preferred hotels to ask for their lowest room rate. Most hotels would rather have you book directly with them than through a third-party booking site, since eliminating the “middleman” results in more money for them. You may receive a better rate or a complimentary room upgrade by speaking with a hotel staff member. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, let the hotel know. That information may help you get a room upgrade or a special gift that will make your stay even sweeter.

Destination Reunions magazine has plenty of other tips for families seeking to save on vacations and reunions. If you’d like to get more money-saving ideas, Subscribe for FREE to Destination Reunions.

By Nancy Schretter, Contributing Editor

All photos provided courtesy of Pexels