When the pandemic hit, I was living in a tiny bedroom in a three-room apartment in downtown Manhattan. Despite being in a tres fancy neighborhood, the apartment was nothing special—my room barely fit my bed, a small dresser and a miniscule nightstand—but I loved it. In May 2020, I made the tough decision to move out, as it was becoming increasingly clear that the world wouldn’t be returning to normal anytime soon. I knew that working from my itty-bitty bedroom with two roommates and shockingly thin walls wouldn’t be great, and I was lucky enough to move back in with my parents an hour outside the city.
Cut to around six months ago. I was fully vaccinated and eager to start seeing people again, but after a couple nights out in the city followed by either long, harshly lit Metro-North rides or disgustingly expensive Ubers home, I decided it wasn’t sustainable to commute into the city just for dinner and drinks.
But Sarah, you might be thinking, couldn’t you just crash on friends’ couches? Why yes I could, dear reader, but I have always hated sleepovers. (I was the kid whose mom came to pick them up from slumber parties at midnight.) I wanted hotels, baby, but as a person who still sorts everything from least to most expensive when online shopping, frequently dropping hundreds of dollars on tiny Manhattan hotel rooms was off the table.
Enter Tripadvisor Plus, a new-ish annual subscription that helps consumers save big on hotels, flights, experiences and more for just $99 a year. I was gifted a yearlong membership but will happily put down my own credit card when the year is up.
Here are some of the perks:
- Member-only prices and perks on hundreds of thousands of hotels around the world. (Most members recover the annual fee on their very first trip, just like I did.)
- Savings on flights booked through the service.
- Deals on more than 400,000 experiences like private boats and sunset cruises, private tours, museums, theme parks and more.
- 25 percent off Hertz rental cars and a complimentary year of Five Star Elite Status, plus a waived Young Renter fee for people under 25.
- Access to a personal travel concierge via Tripadvisor Text
I don’t see myself booking a flight through Tripadvisor Plus, since I do that through my credit card for points’ sake (and my inability to drive renders the Hertz deal obsolete), but boy have I taken advantage of the hotel savings. For my first booking, I paid $144 for a room that normally goes for $285 (almost 50 percent off, folks). If I had paid the $99 for the membership, that one night would’ve made the yearly fee worth it. I’ve since saved an average of $150 per night on hotels all over the city. That’s another added bonus—I’ve been able to try out different hotels in a place where, prior to this year, I had never once stayed in a hotel. If you’re skeptical, you can even sign up for a membership and cancel—money back guaranteed—after 90 days.
Am I looking forward to moving back into the city and therefore not needing to stay in hotels to hang out with my friends? You bet I am, but I’m also eager to continue using Tripadvisor Plus for travel outside of this little NYC bubble. A night at Faena in Miami Beach for $360 (versus the usual $765), perhaps?