There’s no denying New York is an expensive city. Even modest hotel rooms can routinely run $200/night or more. If your budget is really tight you could stay in a hostel or maybe couch surf. My friend and I weren’t travelling on a shoestring but we also hated the idea of spending so much just for a place to sleep and shower. By being diligent I managed to snag us a room in a 3 star midtown hotel for $90/night that normally listed for $170 or more.
On our first visit to New York we stayed at the Pod Hotel based on a recommendation from a friend. We paid $170/night for a shoebox of a room with bunk beds and a shared bath. We were blown away by the cost of hotel rooms in NYC so anything under $200 seemed like a bargain. The room was small but stylish and the shared bathroom was all marble and granite with spa shower heads and piped in hip ambient music. A super handy feature in each room was the lights over the door telling you which of the 4 bathrooms were free at any given moment.
On our next trip we decided to stay at the Pod again so we went ahead and booked the room, again for $170/night. For some reason I checked back a few days later to see prices and noticed that the room had dropped in price. The best thing about booking through a hotel directly instead of an aggregator is that you don’t have to pay in advance. I contacted the hotel and asked if we could have our room at the new advertised price. They dropped it down to $109 for us. Sweet.
Knowing that the price had already dropped once, I decided to keep an eye on the room. A few days later I noticed that a couple of the nights had dropped again. Score! This time the hotel staff weren’t so quick to change my reservation. When I asked them if I cancelled the nights in question and made a new reservation through the web, could they combine the two together or would we need to change rooms, they yielded and I got the room for under $90/night.
Saving $80/night meant that we could see an extra Broadway show (also bought at a discount) or get a few extra cupcakes from Magnolia without blowing away our credit cards. Aggregators like Expedia or Travelocity may offer better deals than directly from the website but it’s worth checking out the hotel’s cancellation policy and comparing their direct price. If it drops between booking and your stay you can get your room for the lower price. It can pay to be vigilant and it never hurts to ask. The worst they’ll say is no.
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Melissa Hogan is a web designer by trade, a hobbyist concert photographer, a one-time amateur bellydancer, a shoe lover and a travel junkie. The travel bug has only really hit hard in recent years but she’s attempting to make the most of it while still working 9-5. Follow along at Suitcase and Heels or on Twitter @avalonmel.