I was recently in Zagreb, Croatia, and I stayed at this amazing hostel named Swanky Mint. The staff was amazing and the location was perfect. 

When I went to take a shower at the hostel, I saw signs all over the bathroom that said something along the lines of “Did you know that HostelWorld and Booking.com keep 10-12% of the booking payment? Be a smart traveler. We don’t get any of that money.”

I never stopped to think about the fees charged by booking websites, since not all of them name them “fees.” Instead, they take a percentage of the whole booking total, so you’re not even aware of how much you’re paying with fees. After seeing that sign at Swanky Mint Hostel, I’ve changed the way I book hotels and hostels.

Here’s how you can save even more money when you book your stay!

  1. Check HostelWorld and other similar sites for hostels — These sites are great to see which hostel has the best location, best price, and to read reviews. Definitely go there before booking and carefully compare all places.
  2. If it’s a hostel, contact them directly through WhatsApp — Most small hostels don’t have a landline number, but instead they have a cell phone that they use. If you contact them throughWhatsApp you can make your reservation directly trough them.
  3. If booking a hotel, go to the hotel website — The hotel website will give you their real price.
  4. If Whatsapp doesn’t work, try WiFi calling — Did you know you can call over WiFi to any number in any country for free with most networks? This comes in handy especially if you’re backpacking. Call the hostels/hotels and tell them to save a bed for you. 
  5. If none of those work, send an email.
  6. Ask if you can pay by cash or credit — This is huge! HostelWorld has told me many times that the place accepts cards and when I get there they don’t. Ask beforehand to avoid fees and to have the money ready. 

Do you use any other tips to save money? Let me know in the comments below. 

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