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How to Book a Cheap Hotel in London
Check your insurance policy. Some insurers will cover you in the event of a cancellation, and possibly for other elements of your trip too, like flights, if you can't find anywhere else to stay. Alternatively, if you booked using a credit or debit card, see above. Spare room and apartment rental sites have mushroomed in recent years, and can often offer cheap short-term stays worldwide.
The idea is hosts put you up in their spare room or rent out their whole apartment to earn cash on the side. You can stay everywhere from swanky LA lofts to houseboats in Paris, and it's a great way to meet locals. Crashing in spare rooms often beats hotel prices too. The sites below act as middlemen between hosts and guests to help. It's worth trying a few, as sometimes prices differ for the same room between sites.
When comparing, always click through to the payment page, as they can add extra fees at the final stage.
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Before booking Scour reviews from visitors and check photos closely. If there's a choice of payment method, go through the site's own payment system for added protection rather than handing over cash — that way, your money will be held for 24 hours after you've checked in. Rooming with strangers can be a lottery. This isn't for types who like to run fingers along doorframes for dust.
Sometimes check-in times are restricted or email replies slow. Before booking, always do your research and find out as much info as possible about the host, neighbourhood and property. Check reviews from visitors and inspect photos closely. This isn't a specific hotels tip, but it's one that needs to be high on your agenda if you're paying for a hotel in foreign currency.
There's one way to spend abroad that smashes all others — using a specialist travel credit card. As an added bonus, you earn 0.
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The big advantage is that Clubcard points are worth 1p in store, but they're worth three times as much when converted into 'Rewards'. The snag though is that hotels usually only let you use vouchers against their rack rates ie, normal prices , which are often much higher than their cheapest internet ones. So before exchanging your Clubcard vouchers, carefully compare prices first, as you may get better value for your vouchers elsewhere.
This guide helps you cut the cost of any hotel worldwide, but it's always worth looking out for special one-off promotions which can save you a packet. Then you upload photos and a description of your place. Feedback varies — some have found it a way to make lifelong friends, while others wouldn't try it again — so you'll need to decide if it's for you.
Good ol' camping's a fun way to explore the great outdoors and get away on the cheap, especially if you're staying within Europe. Pack up a car with your own equipment and book a pitch at one of the many campsites across the Continent. When you're booking a room it's always worth checking if the price includes breakfast — sometimes it will, sometimes it won't. Always check. There's no hard and fast rule on this. Sometimes booking-sites or hotels will throw in a 'free' breakfast as an added incentive to book and it's worth it, but sometimes you'll find you end up paying much more for the night as a result.
So factor in the cost. Most places are likely to have nearby cafes, bakeries and eateries that will allow you to pick up inexpensive breakfast items if you don't pay. However, if breakfast is included for only a little more, it might be worth shelling out the extra amount. Breakfast also makes an excellent haggling point — if you're trying to persuade a hotel to beat a comparison site's price, ask them if it'll throw in breakfast for free.
It's sometimes possible to bag free food and accommodation in exchange for a few hours' work each day, usually on farms. We found vacancies listed near Rio working on a country estate, with jobs including gardening, cooking and working in the plantation. However, none of the sites we've mentioned will organise, or help to organise, a working visa for you.
For most countries outside the European Union, you're likely to need one to work. If you're not sure either way, contact the UK embassy in the country you plan to work in — it should be able to help. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link.
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The Demotivator Stops you spending when you can't afford it. Sally Francis Edited by Steve Nowottny. Facebook Twitter Print Whatsapp Mailme. Use a review site to check if the hotel's a dud.
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When picking your hotel there are a couple of things to watch out for:. Check TripAdvisor. Don't trust the star system. Comparison sites usually give the best price. It has all the standard filters, such as price, star rating etc. Plus you can filter by meal plan and cancellation policy. Filters are basic, but the draw here is being able to filter and rank hotels by its well-regarded traveller ratings though see Use a review site to check if the hotel's a dud for what to watch out for.
Beware of hidden taxes and charges. Play detective and uncover 'secret' hotel bargains. Hotel rebook trick 1 — if you book with free cancellation, you can save if the price drops. Here's some inspiration to show it can work:. How to check if there's free cancellation If it's not clear, check the terms and conditions — they should clarify your cancellation rights — before you book. Bear in mind some sites make you pay in full when booking, even if you can cancel penalty-free. If so, you'll need to factor in if you can afford to rebook, given the refund from the original booking may take days or even weeks to come through.
Be aware that if you booked in a currency other than sterling, the value of your refund could be less — or more — due to currency fluctuations. Hotel rebook trick 2 — some sites have price promises and will refund the difference.