london black telephone boothYou can often find much lower rates on rooms at hotels and hostels by doing a little dialing after an online search. It’s no secret that pretty much anything you find in an online aggregator like, Kayak, adds some cost to your total price. Much of that additional cost comes from fees that aggregtors charge establishments that are benefiting from being available to a wider audience.

Understandably, the hostel you might be staying at enjoys the exposure but would rather forgo skimming any percentage off their bottom line. So, while they may not tell you directly, most would prefer doing business with you minus the middlemen. That’s especially true for smaller hostels and hotels who’ve got more to gain; with one more important variable that can work in your favor.

Use The Search, Skip The Click, And Pick Up The Phone

Aggregators and online hostel booking engines provide you, the consumer, the wonderful benefit of being able to find a bunch of lodging options all in one place. Reviews, photos, and price comparisons are great though to save money on booking, stop there. Jot down the contact information for a few of the places you’re interested in and give them a call. Get in touch with the person in charge of reservations and let them know you’ve found them via a booking site and are interested in hearing their best rate.

Chances are very good that the rate will slightly lower often with deals you may not have heard about otherwise. (Don’t forget to ask for them.) Also, it’s never a bad idea to flex your bargaining skills to see what’s the best price a hostel can offer – especially since you’re considering their competition down the street. (Never hurts to mention that either.) This tactic doesn’t only work for hostels and hotels but other common travel bookings like airfare as well.

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And although it’s a bit counter-intuitive, a direct call to the hostel can give you a better idea of what rooms are like, including your options, by asking the clerk for details. Voice tone can tell you a lot about how honest a person is and if you want to learn how friendly the staff is – well, there you go. They’re right on the phone for you to find out.

When Airbnb Is Better Than A Hotel (And The Other Way Around)

Time Versus Cost With No Guarantees

The trade you make by trying to circumvent the aggregators is by adding a number of minutes to any booking. You’ve got to call and talk to people, both time consuming and potentially cumbersome when you’re traveling frequently. On top of the added time, there are no guarantees that you’ll actually get a lower price. Finally, you should consider that there are limits to how much you can save on the cheaper end of the hostel spectrum – it might not be worth 15 minutes of your time to try and save $10 on a $8 dorm room in Ecuador.