Why The Wrong Hotel Can Ruin Your Frugal Trip


Last  October, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Newport Beach. It was beautiful, and I was excited to have gotten an amazing deal on a top rated hotel through Hotwire. In fact, we stayed at a very nice Hilton, paying about $60 a night. I had wanted to have a frugal mini-vacation, while still enjoying spending time with my husband.

While the hotel was gorgeous, it ended up ruining my frugal attempt for an anniversary trip.I know what you may be thinking, “It is your anniversary. Splurge a little”. I definitely agree that some splurges are worth it – such as the $50 we spent on the best dinner we have ever had or the money spent for a fun boat tour. However when it comes to the hotel costs and non-significant travel costs (such as breakfast and lunch). we would have been better off at a chain like the Best Western. Here’s why:

Parking Costs: The parking cost was $15 a night. So we payed an extra $30 just just to park at the hotel. While I think this is an outrageous price, I have seen other fancier hotels charge $20 and up a night for parking.

No Free Breakfast: Say what you want about a hotel’s continental breakfast. I think it is a nice little perk since you would pay about $7-9 per person for the same type of breakfast at Dennny’s or Carrow’s. Therefore, two days of breakfast cost us about $20-30 all together.

No Free Wi-Fi to Guests: When we found out our fancy hotel charged $12.95 a day for internet, we were again disappointed. The TV had limited shows and movie rentals, like at most hotels, are unbelievable. We had planned to be frugal and watch a movie through our Netflix or Hulu account. Also, it was a pain to look up restaurant reviews and coupons.

No Refrigerator  in the Room: A refrigerator is a minor thing when looking for a hotel room. However, the use of one allows you to save restaurant leftovers (such as a sandwich or piece of dessert) for the next day, if you wanted. A fridge also gives you the option to bring some food items, such as deli meats and bread to make a quick snack or lunch without having to resort to fast food.

My point in all of this is to say a hotel room is not a great deal if you have to pay for all of these amenities or if they are not included. For a truly frugal trip, find a nice hotel for less that includes many extra bonuses. Wouldn’t you rather rent a new movie through Amazon on your laptop for less than $4 then to pay the price for a movie at a hotel? Wouldn’t you rather have a so-so filling breakfast that is free and spend extra on a delicious dinner? The right hotel room can help you save money on your whole trip, while the wrong hotel can put a bigger dent in your wallet than you expected.

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