When it comes to planning my vacation, browsing through hotels is my favorite part: imagining all the possibilities and future moments of myself staying at each of the hotels. But of course, we couldn't leave out the economic factor and it is always the factor that corners and frustrates us. What if I tell you there are ways to book luxurious hotels even when you are low on budget? I call that the art in planning: there are always secret tricks to land you a better deal when it comes to traveling and booking hotels. 

A few months ago, I went to Nha Trang, Vietnam after learning that they have sand dunes over there, it was rather rushed as I booked my ticket only 1 month before the traveling date, and the hotel around a week before it. I managed to book 6 nights of hotels with only USD230 each(splitting the fee amongst two people), all ranked 4-star or above. I have a particular interest in booking boutique hotels,  hence I do not book any grouped luxurious hotel like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton etc. Note that a lot of small boutique hotels have luxurious rooms, sometimes with exquisite designs and better experience than group-hotels. I have stayed in 3 different hotels during my stay as I traveled to a different city in Vietnam, they all look incredibly luxurious and relaxing.

Not bad at all for such money huh? So how exactly did I use such a low budget to book 3 different luxurious hotels? Just bear these few tricks in mind (especially if you are traveling to Southeast Asian countries):

1. Use Excel to keep track of the dates and prices of different hotels.

What I usually do is I list a few of the hotels I want to stay at on the excel (as below) and start recording the prices. If I am going from 20 Sep to 27 Sep, I would search up all the hotel prices between those days, also record the prices of different rooms on different dates. This way we could compare their prices and decide which hotel should we stay at in which period of time. 

2. Booking earlier always means cheaper?

Nope, not exactly. Sometimes when it is closer to the check-in dates, the hotel will lower its price when the rooms aren't fully booked. I had tracked down all the prices of the hotels I wanted to book in Nha Trang, and seal my deal in only one week before the check-in date as the price started to lower.

3. Search your hotels through different portals.

Think or Trivago give you the best price comparison? Think again. These comparing websites only show you a limited amount of rooms and rank the hotels inorganically. For hotels, I find has the lowest price in all hotels (compared to Expedia), it works every single time. Besides comparing websites, I would also track the price of the hotels on their official websites, sometimes the hotel itself would have different offers or deals, the price might end up cheaper than those comparing websites! 

4. Use incognito window when you browse for hotels or anything travel-related. 

I think a lot of people have heard about this, but it is true. Whenever your browse hotels or anything travel-related, our cookies will record it, which leads to a rise in prices of the hotels you are looking for. Cookies give them the access to learning your online habits, which they know you are desperate in looking for a hotel. So go incognito, go incognito, and go incognito.

So these are the 4 tricks I usually use to book my hotels at the best price, always want to save more for our vacation right? But the most important part is probably trick #1, which gives you the big picture of which hotel you should book for your trip.