Discover hotel deals: Save Money on Flights, Hotels, and Other Travel Expenses
Save Money on Flights, Hotels, and Other Travel Expenses
Key Points About: Saving Money on Travel
Travel websites often offer deals to save money on flights and hotels, and travel credit cards may allow you to redeem miles to use on these and other travel expenses.
With a Discover it® Miles credit card, you can earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar you spend on purchases, which you can then redeem in a variety of ways.
You can save money by traveling during off-peak times, flying midweek, or booking a travel package that includes airfare, hotel, and a rental car.
Those travel photos you see on social media that look like a million dollars have a secret—many hot locales may be more accessible than you think. To save on travel: establish a saving plan, do your research on transportation and lodgings, look for deals, and redeem credit card rewards when possible.
With so many travel sites that offer flight and hotel deals, you can almost always find a way to save on a trip. If you want a flexible travel card that lets you earn Miles on everyday purchases and redeem miles for cash to use on travel consider a Discover it® Miles credit card. Your morning coffee, online shopping, and even groceries automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase. And we’ll automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. There is no limit to how much we’ll match.1
Here are some tips for how to save money while traveling.
1. Save money by traveling off-peak
If you can travel during off-peak times, or the weeks just before or just after peak travel times (what’s known as the shoulder season), you might save serious cash on a dream destination. Many factors determine peak season. In the U.S., peak times are usually summer, when the days are long and warm, and schools are out. But in South America or Australia, January is summer and March is the shoulder season.
2. How to save money on flights
Saving on airfare is probably near the top of your list, but there’s been so much written on the subject that it makes more sense to reduce it to the basics.
Weigh the cost of the days you plan to travel. For example, Sunday prices can soar as travelers race home before the workweek, but flights on a Thursday could be ideal.
Plan your flights ahead
Many trip-planning websites allow you to set price alerts for chosen destinations. And some airlines offer discounted rates for taking connecting flights instead of nonstop. You might even be able to include hotel and car rental reservations with a package that costs less than it would if you had booked each element separately.
Pick your destination based on airfare
Instead of deciding where to go and then looking for the cheapest airfare, it can be easier to save money by choosing your destination by how much it costs to get there.
Watch for savings within 24 hours
Did you know
U.S. law requires that airlines allow you to cancel your booking within 24 hours. This means that you can save money by booking a lower airfare if the price drops within one day.
3. How to save money on hotels
Don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff about promotions or specials. If you’re traveling in a shoulder or off-season you may be able to score a three-star room for a one-star price. Travel websites can offer significant deals, offering opportunities to save money by bidding on properties or taking advantage of lower rates for places that want to fill rooms fast.
For hotels, consider booking your room at the last minute to take advantage of cancellations. If you do see a low price on a third-party site, consider asking the hotel directly if they’ll match the price.
Some hotels give their best rates to members of their loyalty program, so signing up can let you save money.
4. Ways to save money when you travel by car
Road trips often seem like the best option for cost-conscious travelers, but driving can be quite expensive.
Before you go, get a tune-up so you can avoid wasting money on emergency repairs during your trip. Portable devices that allow you to jump start your car or inflate your tires can be inexpensive and well worth the cost.
Before you leave, create at least a rough itinerary so you’ll know if you will need a bathing suit, hiking shoes, gym clothes, camping equipment, or other essentials. Pack plenty of snacks and a cooler full of drinks and plan to stop at grocery stores along the way to create less expensive meals.
Consider the cost of gas and tolls as well. Parking, too, could be a hassle depending on your destination, and a pricey one at that. Apps and online tools can help you find the cheapest gas in your area. You might also be able to save money by filling up well outside of major cities.
Ways to save money on other travel expenses
Account for dining in your travel budget
When it comes to dining on vacation, you can save money while still enjoying the local cuisine. If your lodging comes with a kitchen, shop for local groceries to prepare meals to take with you. Stocking up on little things like water and snacks can wind up saving you money. If food feels like a key part of your travel, one restaurant meal a day can be a budget-friendly option.
Don’t let shopping derail your travel budget
Shopping can feel like a travel treat that may allow you to experience a different aspect of your destination. But it’s also something that could break your travel budget.
One way you could save money for travel is to make sure you know the exchange rates and where to exchange. Exchanging cash at a convenient airport kiosk will typically charge you an unfavorable rate, so either obtain cash from your bank before leaving or use a regional ATM once you arrive.
Open-air and flea markets may be good places to find unique gifts that you can sometimes negotiate on price.
If you’re visiting multiple countries or regions, save your shopping for the most affordable destination.
Save money on popular attractions
Museums, amusement parks, and other attractions can tack big expenses onto an already expensive jaunt. You may be able to save money on admission by booking in advance or using discounted rates if you qualify, such as military, student, AAA, or senior.
Many amusement parks also offer a variety of entertainment choices and great discount packages that could save you money.
How to Save Money on Cruises
If you want to hit the high seas on a cruise, research when the best deals are offered before your departure date. And if you live close to the coast, you may be able to save money on a flight if you board closer to home.
Also, make sure enough is included in the pricing option you select and read the fine print. The least inclusive option might save on the base price of a cruise, but you may be on the hook for lots of additional onboard expenses.
If you think you can’t afford a vacation, think again. These tips can save you money on flights, on hotels, and other travel expenses that might get you closer to your travel budget than you think.
Before you travel, be sure to inform your banks and credit card companies that you will be accessing accounts from unusual locations. Otherwise, a charge from a foreign bazaar may set off fraud alerts. Discover makes it easy to do online or through our mobile app.
Which Travel Rewards Credit Card is Best for You?
Key Points About: How to Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for You
Travel rewards credit cards may offer cash back, miles, or other benefits
Some travel credit cards charge fees that may cost more than the rewards you’ll earn
If you travel internationally, check whether your travel credit card charges foreign transaction fees
If you like to travel, you know that travel expenses can add up quickly. However, there are simple ways you can maximize your travel budget. One option is to have a travel rewards credit card that lets you earn rewards on both travel and non-travel purchases.
Finding the best rewards credit card for travel depends on many factors, like your purchase habits and how much you spend. This guide will help you determine the best travel rewards credit card to maximize your travel rewards potential.
1. How do travel credit cards work?
Some credit cards offer cash back, miles, or other rewards that can be used toward travel expenses. For example, if you have the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card, you earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase–from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping.
Earning rewards, no matter where you shop may be ideal for some, but what about claiming the rewards you’ve earned? Some travel credit cards give you airline miles that you can redeem for a flight, but these usually have restrictions on the dates and destinations you can use them for. With the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card, you can redeem Miles for a statement credit against travel purchases or cash.2
Paying for a travel expense with a credit card can help protect you. If a company fails to deliver the goods or services you paid for, you can dispute the charge through your credit card. The Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card offers $0 Fraud Liability, where you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your credit card.3
2. Types of travel credit cards
Typically, you’ll find two different kinds of travel credit cards. Whether one is better for you will depend on how you travel and what you’re looking for.
Co-branded travel rewards cards
Co-branded travel credit cards are cards that are affiliated with a particular hotel chain, airline, or other travel brand. The way you earn rewards and can redeem them is usually focused on you spending with the brand. For example, you might earn more points for paying for your hotel stay when you use the hotel’s co-branded credit card to pay for your reservation than you do when you use the co-branded card for everyday purchases. When you redeem your credit card points, you might be limited to hotel-specific options, like room upgrades or other perks. If you stay at a particular hotel chain or use a specific airline whenever you travel, and are a loyal customer with these vendors, it might make the most sense to use a credit card offered by them.
Flexible travel rewards cards
The other type of travel credit card is one that lets you earn miles or points that you can redeem for travel or cash. These cards are more flexible because they allow you to redeem your rewards for cash to spend with the airline or hotel of your choosing, or on any other expense
3. Choosing the travel rewards credit card that’s best for you
Many people look for four things from their travel rewards cards:
- Value: The overall value of a travel rewards credit card may depend largely on the rewards earned for each dollar spent, plus any fees you might have to pay, such as annual fees. Discover has no annual fee on any of our cards.
- Flexibility: When shopping for travel credit cards, customers may benefit most from cards that offer flexible opportunities for redemptions. Some cards have blackout dates for redeeming miles, which means you might not be able to redeem your rewards for the travel times you prefer. The most flexible cards don’t limit you to redeeming rewards with only one travel provider.
- Cost and fees: Travel cards may vary in their interest rates and fees. If you’re carrying a balance each month, it’s important to check your travel card’s APR (annual percentage rate) and to calculate whether the rewards you might earn would be worth more to you than any fees you might pay.
- Sign-up bonuses: Many travel cards have large sign-up bonuses to entice applicants. The Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card is unique in its sign-up bonus, in which you get an unlimited Mile-for-Mile match of all the Miles you earn at the end of your first year, automatically. There is no limit to how much we’ll match.1 For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. This means that a new Discover it® Miles Cardmember has control over the size of their own signup bonus, because it will be as large as your Miles earned for the first year.
If you’re unsatisfied with the travel benefits on your current credit card, consider looking for a travel rewards credit card that’s better for your needs.
Each travel rewards credit card may have pros and cons so shape your decision to match your personal travel and spending habits.
How to open a mini-hotel and is it worth starting? 10 steps to launch
If only yesterday most travelers opted for big star hotels. And today the trend is short-term and affordable accommodation in mini-hotels: prices are much lower, good service, location in the very center — this is what you need!
Demand is steadily growing, and it is important for businessmen to occupy this niche as soon as possible, because there are already many competitors, and they are ahead. But behind the decision to open a small hotel with a fund of 5-15 rooms there are many pitfalls and difficulties, which are best learned on the shore. naChas.ru will tell you what you have to go through to open a mini-hotel from scratch in Moscow.
Step 1: Create a business model
Unique Selling Proposition
Simply put, this is how you are going to attract customers. For example, accessibility to the main attractions of the city, a wide range of hotel services (there is a spa, a restaurant, etc. on site), a style decision / design, or the ability to pay by the hour and check in at any time, without restrictions.
Think carefully about your USP and be sure to study your competitors in order to reach the next level and get as many customers as possible.
Methods of income
Before opening a hotel, you need to clearly understand how and where to make money so that the business remains profitable. Sometimes such an analysis leads to the conclusion that your own investments are not enough and you need external investments, loans and / or new products for sale.
Think in your head or write on paper the complete structure of a mini-hotel: staff, necessary equipment, rooms, necessary infrastructure near the hotel — everything according to your USP.
Every successful enterprise must have its own rules and principles that will guide all employees. Often, employees make decisions and make mistakes based on values, and customers make or do not make a choice in favor of you.
For example, the value of a mini-hotel can be innovation (create trends), sociality (improve people’s quality of life), competitiveness (regularly analyze the market and introduce successful solutions from other companies), etc.
It is very difficult to sell hotel services to an abstract guest who does not have unique desires and needs. Therefore, in any business, it is important to create a portrait of your audience, which will want and be able to use your services.
Specify who he is, your consumer: male or female, approximate age, place of residence, type of activity and his purpose of booking a hotel. For a mini-hotel, it is better to create a list of features in as much detail as possible, because in such a market, niche is the most important point of success.
Step 2: Finding a room
Now the hotel must be located either in a separate building or on the 1st floor of a residential building.
On October 1, 2019, the so-called “hostel law” came into force, which at the legislative level prohibits the placement of hotels in residential buildings. The innovation had a significant impact on the market for mini-hotels, since that was where their usual habitat was. Now the hotel should be located either in a separate building or on the 1st floor of a residential building, where the apartment for the hotel has the status of non-residential premises.
Situations are acceptable when the hotel is located on the second and third floor. But only on condition that non-residential premises are also located under it.
Step 3: Registration
Usually these documents are enough to register the hotel.
There are no special requirements for mini-format hotels that differ from ordinary hotels. However, you still have to suffer: a long process of paperwork awaits you.
Documents required in private
Documents confirming the right of property section
A package of contracts for the provision of services by third parties (garbage removal, security of premises, maintenance, etc. )
Documents confirming the ownership (lease) for non -residential premises
Documents for the resolution of the premises
Documents of internal use (Charter, Journal of Inspections, etc.)
Certificate of registration of the hotel and its registration with the Federal Tax Service
Licenses for services requiring mandatory certification (sale of alcoholic products, dry cleaning services, catering, etc.)
Documents confirming compliance with the requirements of sanitary, technical, environmental safety
Permission to advertising and registration of a sign in local authorities
at the tax office
Category Compliance Certificate (mandatory for hotels with up to 50 rooms from January 1, 2021)
Usually these documents are enough to register a hotel. But often, in order to get one document, you need to collect a couple more papers. Get ready for the red tape!
- Tax subtleties: a cheat sheet for those who rent apartments by the day
Step 4: Search for investors
If your ambitions do not match the real capital, investors will come to the rescue.
At the stage of thinking over the concept of a mini-hotel, you already understand the approximate costs of creating and running a hotel business. And if your ambitions do not match real capital, investors will come to the rescue. In Moscow, there are a huge number of investment funds and exchanges where you can apply.
Perhaps the most famous project is investbaza.ru, where you can find additional investments. Of course, for a percentage, but sometimes this is the most reasonable way to make your business exactly the way the consumer wants it to be.
Step 5: Repair
Now you are embarking on one of the most expensive processes in the hotel business.
The capital has been allocated, the necessary documents have been collected (or are in the process) and the premises have been rented. Congratulations! Now you are embarking on one of the most costly processes in the hotel business — the renovation of a future mini-hotel.
Here we are talking not only about painting the walls, redevelopment and establishment of all housing communications, but also about the appearance of your establishment from the outside of the building. Even if the level of comfort of the rooms is high enough, and the facade of the hotel does not attract attention, this can affect the reviews and the number of repeat customers.
At the first stages of repair, it is necessary to resolve all issues related to the safety of future guests: the fire inspection and various utilities will definitely check whether all engineering solutions comply with the standards.
Decorative finishing — the final stage of repair. Think about how to make the design attractive and practical at the same time. The zest and stylization of rooms is also important in the solution for clients. But in this matter, the main thing is not to overdo it, because the functionality in the hotel is above all!
Step 6: Procurement of equipment and furniture
If you have little time to buy, use special services to equip hotels.
This step goes hand in hand with the refurbishment of the premises, but it’s not much trouble if you don’t know what’s on the mandatory minimum list for a new hotel. If you have little time to buy textiles, furniture, cosmetics in various stores, use special services to equip hotels.
Of course, it will be somewhat more expensive, but it is much more convenient to implement when relations with suppliers in the hotel business have not yet been established.
Step 7: Recruitment
If you are opening a mini-hotel for the first time, don’t neglect the staff structure.
It seems that the most understandable and easily solved issue in this business is to hire staff. However, if you are opening a mini-hotel for the first time, do not neglect the structure of the staff, its qualifications and management. The minimum staff of a mini-hotel usually consists of:
- Two administrators
- Two maids
- Two guards
- Manager (director/owner)
However, you can reduce this number of employees to a minimum if you introduce an automated booking system, where the user himself looks at available dates and orders a room, and you get a full sales report.
One of the newfangled trends in the hotel business is the self-check-in of guests. In this case, the administrator does not give you a room key — you just receive a code from the hotel’s electronic lock by mail/messengers, which will not be available after check-out.
Therefore, the administrator is not required to work at the hotel for the whole day, or he takes over the functions of cleaning the rooms in addition.
Step 8: Opening
It is likely that the media will publish information from you and mention the brand, since the topic is interesting to their readers.
How to attract the first customers and make yourself known? One of the most common and effective options is the creation of interesting event-driven press releases and news that are embedded in the all-Russian (world) agenda. At the heart of such texts, of course, is your brand and its advertising.
For example, your hotel is planning a completely new service system using artificial intelligence technologies, or you want to organize a free promotion for citizens near your hotel — tell the media about it!
Even if nothing of the kind is planned, you can always come up with a reason and then realize it.
It is likely that the media will publish information from you and mention the brand, since the topic is interesting to their readers.
A similar way of self-promotion and advertising is newsjacking. In fact, these are business speculations on hype informational occasions. A social media post with a photograph of a sign on the door of the Rosinka cafe can be considered an excellent example of newsdecking. It read: “Sanctions! Barack Obama and members of the US Congress are denied entry! The publication instantly became viral and attracted the attention of online publications and TV channels.
Step 9: Advertising
If you have a budget for advertising, you can quickly increase the flow of customers.
The official website and social networks of the hotel, where information about your offer is regularly updated, is not enough to cover the entire target audience. If you have a budget for advertising, the flow of customers can quickly increase.
The main types of advertising for the hotel business include: context in search engines, targeting in social networks and posting information about the hotel on thematic resources (aggregators).
You will need a specialist to work on the first two channels. Accordingly, the advertising budget will contain not only the cost of impressions and clicks of your ads, but also the salary of the employee.
It is much cheaper to turn to the services of specialized portals where all your competitors are published. For advertising mini-hotels, the naChas.ru service is perfect. Compared to other online resources, they do not charge a commission for booking, and the guest calls the hotel directly.
See which of your competitors is already listed on naChas.ru:
Mayakovsky Art Hotel
Bolshaya Sadovaya st., 2/46, building 1, floor 3
Hotel «Orange» on Komsomolskaya
Krasnoprudnaya st., 22, lit. Ah, pom. I, floor 5
2000 ₽2 hours
day 4000 ₽
Zakharyinsky yards, 3
Dmitry Donskoy Boulevard
1000 ₽2 hours
days 3000 ₽
Dmitrovskoe highway, 46, building 1
1500 ₽2 hours
day 3200 ₽
st. Sretenka, 1
2500 ₽3 hours
day 3500 ₽
Simple Rooms Hotel
Kovrov per., 4, bldg. 2
1500 ₽2 hours
day 4000 ₽
Hotel complex «Fonda»
st. Ugreshskaya, 2, bldg.
Hotel «Randevu» on Yugo-Zapadnaya
Vernadsky Ave., 127
1600 ₽2 hours
day 4200 ₽
Step 10: Business Process Improvement
Business will show the first stable positive results not earlier than one year after opening.
As a rule, a business will show the first stable positive results not earlier than one year after opening. But this is not a reason to relax and let everything take its course. You and/or the hotel manager will have to constantly monitor the quality of service, trends, customer reviews on the Internet, etc.
We recommend reading an article about a new business model — hourly hotels. Perhaps this is exactly the type of hotel organization that you need.
So that your desire to open a mini-hotel from scratch does not hit your doubts and fear of the large-scale upcoming work on building your own business, remind yourself: the success of a business does not depend on feats, but on everyday minimal efforts.
What you need to know before starting a hotel business
November 26, 2019
This occupation is one of those that require, first of all, psychological stability.
At first glance, opening a hotel is a relatively simple business idea. I bought a room, made repairs in it, hired employees to keep order — and that’s it, collect money, pay taxes on it and put the rest in your pocket.
However, as in any other business, there are many pitfalls in the hotel business. And it is important to think about them in advance — before you find yourself with an unsustainable loan and a clear understanding: “It seems that this is not mine.”
Here’s what you need to know before you set out to register your own B&B.
You will need a consultant
In principle, you can act as one yourself — if you have an economic education or you studied at the faculty of hotel business. Or have experience as a manager in a hotel. This background ensures that you have at least a general idea of how this mechanism works.
And there are a lot of nuances here: from choosing the legal form of activity and the taxation system in which you will build a business, to purely household details — where to buy consumables, how to schedule cleaning and work of employees, who to contact if you need an emergency repair and so on.
Again, if you are a neophyte, you will need a professional consultant. It will save you a lot of money. Jokes aside. Without it, you can only try to rent out your own apartment or two in order to personally fill all the bumps and acquire, albeit sometimes through financial losses, the necessary experience.
It is worth deciding in advance on the type of hotel
This is a key point on which the next steps depend. There are many hotel formats, for example:
- mini-hotel in a resort or tourist place;
- economy class hotel;
- business hotel for solvent and demanding clients;
- apartment hotel, where not rooms are rented, but separate apartments (apartments) with all amenities, including a kitchen.
Depending on which format is closer to you, you will choose the location of the object, its layout and design, the quality of the materials used, the amount of furniture and much more.
To decide, take a time-out for at least a month or two. Get a notepad, a special folder on your desktop and save the answers to all questions about exactly «your» version of the hotel business:
- Write down the idea. Develop it — describe in detail what chips you would like to implement that could attract customers to you.
- Look for similar projects already implemented. Save photos, videos, customer reviews. This will help you decide more precisely what advantages you could borrow and what disadvantages you should avoid.
- Make a detailed plan for implementing your idea. Understand and write down what needs customers in your target audience have. Sketch the preliminary layout of the hotel. Make an indicative budget. This information will form the basis of your business plan.
You need money. Decent
Let’s say right away: if you have difficulties with finances, it is better to postpone the hotel business. This is a business that requires large-scale costs. And not always predictable.
The most significant line of expenditure is the purchase of suitable premises if you do not own one. Renting someone else’s facilities as a hotel is usually irrational: after all, in addition to the fact that you have to make monthly payments, you will spend a considerable amount on major repairs and design in a building that you will have to part with after a while. More or less acceptable is perhaps a long-term lease for a period of 10 years with the possibility of subsequent redemption.
When choosing a room for a hotel, be sure to pay attention to the following factors:
- Location. It is optimal if the hotel is in a passable place: near the sea (if we are talking about a resort region), attractions, in the business part of the city.
- Transport accessibility. The more convenient it is to get to you, the more customers will be.
- Infrastructure development. Supermarket, pharmacy, parking nearby will make your hotel more attractive.
- Separate entrance.
Housing that meets these criteria is rarely cheap. To get a bank loan, you will need a ready-made business plan that will prove to the bank that your business is highly likely to be profitable.
You will need patience to complete all the documents
Even if you already have a room (for example, an apartment or a house) in which you can open a mini-hotel, you will have to go through the process of official registration of the hotel. It includes, among other things:
- transfer of premises from residential to non-residential;
- obtaining a certificate of company registration and registration with the Federal Tax Service;
- registration of permits for the construction or redevelopment of premises;
- receipt of documents that confirm that your future hotel meets the requirements of fire, sanitary, technical, environmental safety;
- obtaining all sorts of licenses — for example, for catering (if you plan to provide guests with a «breakfast included» option) or for the sale of alcoholic products.
This is not a complete list of documents and permits. It can be much wider — it depends on the specific object. In any case, be prepared for the fact that you need to spend a sufficient amount of time and effort on decorating the hotel.
You will have to learn to understand people
This skill is useful in any field, but in general it is vital in the hospitality business. You can create an exemplary hotel, fill it with expensive furniture and high-quality sanitary ware, impress customers with your personal charisma. But if you have an unfriendly “pimply girl” from a business joke sitting at the reception, all your efforts will go down the drain.
The same applies to clients.
hostess of the Chaika mini-hotel (Cliff, Alushta)
Knowledge of human psychology is a must. Someone needs to make a discount, at least a minimal one. And with someone you need to talk tough and in the format of “no discounts”. You need to be able to make decisions for the guests — not everyone is ready for a wealth of choice.
Become tough and uncompromising
The ability to say «no» or to achieve the fulfillment of your conditions is one of the most important traits of a hotelier. If you have no teeth, you will be eaten. Perhaps even at the stage of coordinating the project of the hotel. And almost certainly when the hotel is open.
Clients are different. Builders, repairers, suppliers, employees — too. Each of them will pull the blanket over themselves, squeezing and gnawing personal gain out of you. If you give in and let the game go according to other people’s rules, not yours, you’ve lost.
And at the same time cultivate a subtle psychologist in yourself
Psychological moments are one of the most unexpected discoveries that hoteliers make for themselves.
I did not expect that sleepless nights and guests who urgently need some small things would become a tradition for me, and this is at four or five in the morning. I did not expect that I would have to be an expert in all areas: to know, for example, whether there would be a moonlit path on the sea on the night when clients arrived, or whether gasoline was good at a gas station 10 kilometers from the hotel.
Another discovery: if you are a host or an administrator, you need to be an excellent crisis manager.