Roomer Travel Experience Essay

Hotels are the traditional travel retreat - classic, cozy . . . and often expensive.

Luckily, there are many ways to score great deals on hotels for your next trip. Today we'll dive into some of my favorite hotel booking hacks + tips to save you time and whole lot of $$$.

With a nice cuppa tea and a good internet connection, these travel booking hacks should have you on your way:

1. Get price alerts from Kayak
Kayak allows you to sign up for price alerts for particular hotels or dates you're interested in, so when the price drops, you'll get an immediate email notification.

2. Snag other traveler's unwanted rooms
Multiple sites lists accommodations after late cancellations, allowing you to score the rooms for a reduced price. Check out Roomer and Cancelon for deals.

3. Check for hotel coupon deals
If Groupon's not already your friend, it should be. Check coupon sites like Groupon or Living Social for hotel deals - especially if your style is a bit more upscale.

4. Use airline miles to purchase hotel rooms
Nope, those miles don't just count towards flights. Use your airline rewards or miles when making your next booking.

5. Use credit card points to purchase hotel rooms
Many credit cards offer huge bonus points just for signing up or spending a certain amount of money within a set time period (like Chase Sapphire Preferred). Did you know these points can often be used to purchase hotel rooms? Before your next trip, call your bank to see what credit cards they recommend to score the highest bonus.

6. Subscribe for membership discounts
Joining travel organizations can get you major membership discounts. Join AAA for hotel (and car!) deals, and purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) (if you're under the age of 35) to save on accommodations worldwide.

7. Snatch last minute deals with Priceline
Search Priceline's Express Deals for super last minute hotel rooms. Though deals like this can save you major $$$ (up to 60% off) there's no guarantee you'll get the room you need if you wait until the last minute. If you're okay playing it on the risky side, give it a try.

8. Check for more last minute deals on Hotel Tonight
Hotel Tonight is an app that lets you book last minute, open hotel rooms at amazing prices.

9. Get paid to write hotel reviews on Yonderbound
No travel blogger status required. Travelers can sign up to write accommodation reviews for Yonderbound as you would for any other review site (think Trip Advisor). The difference is, with Yonderbound, when someone books a hotel after reading about it in one of your "travel stories" you earn 70% of the sales profit. So you're actually being paid to share your honest travel experiences with others - win win!

10. Ask for deals
Before booking online, call or email the hotel (or a direct person if you can find a name) and simply ask (in your sweetest voice) if they happen to have any deals they can offer you. At the very least, they'll repeat the same deals or specials you saw online. In the best scenario, they may very well offer you a free room upgrade or a price reduction. This is a must if you're planning a longer stay (a week+) as hotels are often most eager to offer deals for longer stays. It never hurts to ask.

How do you score on finding the best hotel deals? Let me know in the comments below.

This post was originally published here as part of the Where Will I Sleep Week travel accommodation series and giveaway.

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  This summer can be truly called an unforgettable summer. The trip was an amazing experience which taught me a lot about myself, my goals  and people from different backgrounds. This summer I had a Trip of a Lifetime.  It began on a boring October school day in History class,the morning annocements we're being read. I remember the teacher on the intercom saying "Come down to room 306 to get an application for trip of a lifetime " I really didn't pay much attention to the annocement because it hadn't been the first time I had heard about the organization. Every teacher was saying how much of a good experience it would be , and that we should all apply . So later that day I went down to room 306 to get an application form . I was a little bit hesitant once I got the forms because they asked to write two essays and I really wasn't liking the sound of that to be honest . Despite the essays , I still filled out the student and parent section of the application . In my head I postponed the essay writing till later , keep in mind this all happened in the beginning of the year.Around Feburary break I was really giving up on the idea of trip of a lifetime , but there was a little spark of hope still left in me. I was involved in many school activities volleyball, student government and dance which took up the majority of my time , but I kept saying to myself  If I was going to write these essays they had to be the best most meaningful  essays I would ever write . The deadline was quicky approching March 15,2014 and I still was waiting on a teacher recommendation and the essay . Finally the day before I was supposed to mail it I was stuck at home writing the essay , but at the end it was all worth it , I mailed the essay on time . I was in dance practice when my phone flashed meaning I had received a email . When I read the email it said " Congragulations you have been selected as a finalist for the trip of a lifetime scholarship ." At that point I can't even explain the amount of excitement that filled me . It hit me right there that I actually could be traveling around the country in the summer, I realized how much the experience would affect me . The email talked about scheduling a time for a phone interview so they could get to know the student better, so I immededitely scheduled the interview. Out of the whole process the interview was the most nerve racking part . That Monday Stan called me on my phone and I had my interview for like 5 minutes, which wasn't that bad considering I was scared about it the whole week. About two weeks later while decorating the gym for a school dance , I got the email that I was accepted into the Trip of a lifetime program . I was so greatful at that point that Stan actually saw something in me  and accepted me . I couldn't  wait for the summer to arrive so I could be on the trip .

    The day of departure had finally arrived I was both excited and nervous because it takes me a very long time to make friends or even to get comfortable around a group of people. Despite the fact that I was nervous I told myself to just be myself . I got to Laguardia airport at  around 6:00am and by that time many students had arrived with their parents . I knew that one girl who went to my school was coming so I wasn't really worried about being lonely that first day . Once I got out the car I meet the counselors Kevin Rob , Danna , Brianna and Kelsey they were very friendly and helpful when I meet them . To my surprise they were four people from Trip of a lifetime that we're going on this trip . Peaches the twins Bria and Brianna and me , the majority of the trip we stayed together . At the airport I noticed that most people already knew each other which kind of prevented us from mingling like the counselors would have wanted us to . We said our good byes to our parents then we headed to security check as a group . We were waiting to board the plane to Denver and the conselors took our boarding passes mixed them up then passed them back out , so we could sit with someone we didn't know . I meet these two girls called Nicole and Stelly and we started talking about how nervous we were for the trip, then I slept for most of the plane ride. Once we arrived to hotel we played an Ice breaker and then we had to wait for our counselors to get the the room keys from the hotel before we could go to dinner. Many of us became restless but at the end we were fine . That night was a  fun first night  we went to the Cheesecake Factory and then bowling right after. The first week of the trip mostly consisted of traveling from place to place on the bus . First Denver ,Wyoming , South Dakota then back to Wyoming . Traveling on the bus wasn't really fun because we spent most of the day on the bus , and had a few hours left  in the day to do things . The counselors really tried to make every moment of the trip fun and exciting . Danna always tried to entertain us with a game , Rob was just funny and Kelsey was the crazy girl but in a good way . Kevin was the photographer he always wanted to take group photos so it could go in the Atw website . The hotels that we stayed at we're beautiful hotels  , making the long day of activities all worth it. Every day on our ride back to the hotel Kevin told us what we were doing the next day , the recommended attire and what time they would be calling us to wake up but you decided what time you wanted to wake up after they called . The counselors really put a high level of trust into the students on the trip , I remember we went to Wall drug which isn't one place it's many different stores all in one . That day the counselors told us what time we had to be back , where we we're meeting back at and how far we could go . Everyone did what the counselors said , so at the end of the day we got rewarded with DQ's !

    My favorite place we visited was Park city Utah and Lake Tahoe . First and foremost,the bus ride to Utah was really beautiful we drove up the Mountain and them back down . When we got to the Resort the counselors gave us our roommates and they said four people to a room . The rooms were really nice it had two rooms which had two beds in each , a living room and a full set kitchen a balcony with three bathrooms ! Like come one now four teenage girls do not need three bathrooms, but I'm not complaining . After we got setted in the counselors came into our rooms and gave us detergent so we could wash our own clothes and dry them . If you didn't know how to wash your own Laundry they gave you a little demonstration on how to . Later that day we went to dinner and then came back to the hotels so we could chill in our rooms and finish  our laundry. The next day was very adventurous we went mountain biking , I was really proud of the group because we rode 15 miles even though they told us we were doing 13 miles . Mountain biking left us all sweaty and tired but the day was nearly over but next was Alpine sliding . This was my first time going alpine sliding , and for my first time it was actually fun and not scary at all. The next day we took a jet to Reno Nevada then a bus to Lake Tahoe . On the bus the counselors told us that later in the day we would be going shopping to buy something to feed us for two Mornings and one dinner , and that the dinner part would be a competition between condos . After lunch we drove straight to the place we were going to stay for two days . Once we got there the counselors gave us our roommates ,who I requested for , and told us what time we should be back at the meeting spot so we could walk to dinner. They gave us a good 3 hours to hang out go to the gym or pool before dinner time.  The girls and I decided that we we're gonna see what the kitchen had and then start making a shopping list of what we wanted to eat for breakfast and dinner . The condos were pretty much the same as the Utah hotel room except it had three rooms and it was two floors . Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant and right after we walked to the supermarket to get the food we needed. Our condo alone had 9 shopping bags which we had to carry by ourselves. The next day was full of activities , beach or pool then you got to go tubing , waterskiing or wakeboarding, which took up most of our day . After all that we had to start preparing the food for dinner we started at 4pm and the counselors were coming to taste the food at 6pm , so we had to hurry. We made fried talapia with shrimp baked biscuits , yellow rice , cupcakes and I can't really remember the rest beacause we made a lot of food ! Later that night we went Mini golfing and then the counselors told us that we had won the competition which was pretty exciting because I love to cook ! The rest of the trip consisted of whitewater rafting in San Francisco,  Alcatraz and a lot more which was fun for the last days of the trip .

  The Journey west trip by American trails west has taught me so many things that I would have never been able to learn by myself . The trip has really encouraged me to try new thing and to never give up on the things that you are passionate about . Throughout the trip I have fallen in love with the idea of being able to send a student like me on this kind of trip .  This trip has taught me to be confident and has restored my self esteem, made me realize that there's is more in the world than just South Bronx. But the most important thing that it has shown me is to be open minded and to always try new things experience new things. In addition to that it opened my eyes to a lot of new things, about life having to work hard to get the things that you want. I just want to thank Trip of a lifetime and Anerican trails west for giving me the opportunity to be able to go on this trip and experience the things that I experienced . Thank you so much ! 

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