Smart travelers use money saving tips and tricks to fund their getaways and make travel more affordable. There are so many apps and web tools out there designed to save you money while making your life easier at the same time. It only makes sense to take advantage of as many of them as you can.
A great place to start is with a price saving tool that we created called Scout.
Scout Tracks Down a Lower Rate for You
When you’re planning a trip and going from site to site comparing prices, do you ever wonder if you’re missing out on the best deal? You want to feel like you’ve done the right research but you’re overwhelmed by all of the possible travel sites you could visit. By our count, there are at least 24 travel sites you can use to search and book hotels. That’s just too many, and that’s not even counting the hotel sites themselves! It’s easy to feel like you’ll never be able to compare all the possible rates.
That’s where Scout comes in.
As you use sites like Expedia and Booking.com, Scout works in the background and compares rates it sees on those sites with the rates you could get if you booked directly with the hotel. When it finds a better rate than the one you’re looking at, Scout lets you know – simple as that.
So How Does Scout Work?
Getting started with Scout is easy. With just one click, you can install Scout on your Chrome or Firefox browser for free. Once installed, Scout will kick into gear anytime you’re searching for hotels on these top travel booking sites: Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Priceline, Orbitz, or Travelocity. While you’re browsing around looking at pictures of pools and hotel suites, Scout is comparing the rates on your screen to the rates hotels offer on their websites. If Scout finds a lower rate, a notification in the top right corner of your browser will let you know and provide you with a link for where to find it.
When you click the link, Scout takes you directly to the hotel website to complete your booking. You won’t even need to re-enter your travel dates or other information; Scout takes care of the details and carries them over for you.
The lower rates that Scout finds are sometimes “loyalty rates,” which are rates that are only offered to members of a hotel’s loyalty program. (That’s why Scout takes you to the hotel website to book – you can only book these rates on the hotel’s website, not on any third party booking site like Hotels.com or Kayak.) Loyalty rates are the best way for travelers to save money on hotel rates. They are cheaper than regular rates and come with extra perks too. These programs are completely free to join, and you can join as many as you want.
Booking Direct Gets You Lower Rates
If you know us, you know we’re big on booking direct. While third-party online travel agencies (OTAs) may tell you that you’re getting a discount when you book hotel rooms with them, this isn’t exactly the case. Price parity agreements between hotel chains and OTAs make it so the listed price for a specific hotel room must be the same no matter who you book that room with. OTAs simply aren’t allowed to sell you a room at a discounted rate.
So how can Scout find rates that are lower than the standard prices? The rate parity rule only applies to publicly available rates. Loyalty rates are only given to members of loyalty programs, so those rates are private, not public. Anyone can access these rates, you just have to join the programs. Our advice is to sign up for as many as you can so you can save money wherever you stay.
Booking directly through the hotel has many advantages in addition to the discounts you’ll receive with loyalty rates. When booking directly through the hotel, you’re working with the hotel itself so you can explore their full range of available rooms—whereas OTAs may not show you all of your available options. Plus, booking direct allows the lines of communication to stay open. You’re making arrangements with the hotel and not with a middleman like an OTA. You’ll save time, money, and convenience every time by booking direct.
Other Apps that Save You Money on Travel
Scout isn’t the only tool that can save you money on travel expenses. Here are some favorites:
- Many budget travelers appreciate Trail Wallet, an app that tracks your travel expenses in more than 200 currencies. Set your daily budget, input your expenditures, and Trail Wallet lets you know how much of your budget is left for the day. There’s even an added feature that lets you know when you’ve exceeded your budget and the changes you’ll need to make to stay under budget for the rest of your trip.
- You can also try Service, an app that monitors your booked flight and hotel reservations. If your flight is delayed or canceled, Service will contact the airline to file a claim for compensation.
- On the road, rely on GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest fuel prices in the area—which are updated daily by users of the app.
- To pay 30% less than you would for a rental car, try Getaround. This app helps you rent a car at a discounted price and offers benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance and rental insurance.
- Restaurant.com is an app that provides a list of coupons and specials in your area. You’ll also find user-generated reviews of local eateries to help you find the best ones.
With tools like these, you can get the best prices while traveling and save on hotels, meals, gas, and more. And really, isn’t travel even sweeter when you don’t have to pay full price? Download Scout today and start saving when you book with Roomkey.
Like what you see? Sign up with Roomkey to receive honest offers, industry insights, and great travel advice.