Whether you’re spontaneous and you’re searching for a last-minute travel deal, or you prefer planning your next trip well in advance, it’s a great time to travel again. With pandemic restrictions relaxed, vacations are once again a chance to recharge; so if you can take one, you should. We love the convenience and speed of using online one-stop-shops, like Booking.com, for vacation planning.
There are a lot of moving parts when planning a vacation. Booking.com offers everything you might need from a wide variety of stays (hotels and motels to apartment or villa vacation rentals around the world), flights, car rentals, attractions and even airport transfers/airport taxis. Its interface and clear disclosure of amenities makes it easy to book the perfect option for you around the world, especially at local or smaller/family-owned establishments that may not have their own websites.
Options, speed and convenience are important, but we also want to know all the ways to save money. Vacations are fabulous, but can be pretty expensive endeavors. So, give your best travel buddy a great gift for their next trip, and then plan that next adventure. Here are some tips to help you maximize your savings on your next vacation with Booking.com.
1. Join the Booking.com Rewards Program, Genius
When you sign up for an account with Booking.com, you’ll be prompted to join their free loyalty rewards program called Genius. Genius is a tiered rewards program where you move up tier levels depending on how frequently you use Booking.com. This program is genius (sorry, had to) as it gives customers real incentives to become loyal users of their service, since each tier level unlocks new perks.
- Genius Level 1: Booking.com rewards members automatically become Genius Level 1 members which offers free lifetime access to the Genius Level 1 discount of 10% off the price at participating properties before taxes and fees.
- Genius Level 2: If you complete five stays in two years at participating properties you will move up to Level 2. Genius Level 2 unlocks 15% discounts, free breakfasts at select stays and free room upgrades which are applied automatically to select stays.
- Genius Level 3: If you complete 15 stays in two years at participating properties you will move up to Level 3. Genius Level 3 unlocks 20% discounts, free breakfasts at select stays, free room upgrades which are applied automatically to select stays and priority support on all bookings.
Unlike many rewards programs that have expiration dates, with Genius once you have unlocked an additional Genius level, the reward is yours to enjoy for life, the reward does not expire and the program is free to join.
2. Sign up for Promotional Emails From Booking.com
When you agree to sign up for promotional and marketing emails directly from Booking.com you will be first to know about the latest sales, deals and promotions. In addition to Genius rewards discounts, Booking.com often has sales for holidays, as well as the slow season between the new year and spring break.
3. Download Booking.com App and Agree to Receive Notifications
Booking.com has a highly rated app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play and works on your iPhone, iPad, Android or tablet. Not only can you research and book your entire vacation with their app, you will also be notified of any promotions and deals if you agree to receive notifications.
4. Use a Booking.com Promo Code
Head to our Booking.com offers page to discover all the current promotional codes and sales. Sometimes, you’ll find a cashback offer, which will get you a percentage of what you spend back in cash (redeemable via Venmo or PayPal). Learn more about cash back.
To get cash back from Booking.com, follow these steps:
- Head here and hit the current cashback offer.
- You’ll be prompted to sign up for a RetailMeNot account if you haven’t already.
- Click through from the offer and shop on Booking.com as usual.
- You’ll receive an email from us confirming you’ve earned cash back.
- Forty-five days after your completed trip and your purchase approved, your cash back will be in your RetailMeNot account, and you can redeem it via Venmo or PayPal.
5. Save on Booking.com Hotels When You Time Your Hotel Stay Right
While there are many reasons that lodging prices vary, if you can book either well in advance or at the last minute, you can find savings from properties looking to attract early bookers or fill inventory.
When we searched properties for the same day, we found lower prices than one month out.
Or, consider booking far in advance. When we searched for another two-night stay several months out, we again found lower prices; in fact, the lowest prices were found more in advance. If you don’t have flexible dates and want a specific property, it’s therefore particularly smart to book, as a rule of thumb, at least three months before your trip or longer if possible.
6. Consider Staying a Month at a Booking.com Vacation Rental Property to Get a Long-Stay Discount
Alright, not everyone can afford a month-long vacation, but if you are one of the many remote workers of the world, you may want to consider a longer stay because many monthly rentals offer month-long-stay discounts. If you book a property with a kitchen, you can save money on meals as well by cooking.
7. Save Money on Booking.com Flights
Here are some strategies to save on your next Booking.com flight:
- Book in advance. You can book flights up to one year before your departure date. While prices fluctuate, generally you will get the best fares far in advance of flight. Searching in advance also gives you the chance to sign up for fare alerts. So if you have a set vacation date planned, do not wait for last-minute deals. Airfares usually go up at the last minute.
- Try to fly mid week. I can personally attest to how much you can save if you can be flexible with your travel dates. I recently saved over $1,000 on my recent trip to Maui by adjusting the flight days. Check flights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for lower fares (and less crowds) if your schedule allows. Most travelers try to maximize weekend days (to use fewer vacation days), so if you can buck that trend, you can save.
- Check the price difference between roundtrip and one-way fares. Booking.com allows you to book flights one way, roundtrip and multi-city. While it defies logic, my recent trip to Maui was far less expensive booking two one-way tickets on different airline carriers than it would have been using one airline.
8. Connect With the Booking.com Travel Community for Insider Tips and Advice
Booking.com has a Travel Discussions forum, where members can give to and take advice from other travelers. There is nothing like first-hand knowledge and insider experience from locals. Check out the travel discussions for ideas on ways to plan your itinerary, save money, find travel companions and more.
9. Search Attractions by Price to Stick to Your Budget
Booking.com offers the service of booking attractions at your final destination. If you are traveling on a budget it is useful to use the filter options to search by price. For example, for a short stay in Los Angeles, you can find activities to suit all budgets. Yes there are differences in what the experience will be, but it’s smart to stick to what you can afford. You probably will discover new adventures you never even thought of for your vacation experience.