Travel

Is it Cheaper to Book Hotels from a Foreign Country?

There has been an interesting travel hack percolating the internet for the past couple of years: foreign versions of familiar travel sites sometimes have different pricing than their American counterparts, so you can find even better deals by ordering as if you were in another country.

It’s an interesting idea, but is it true? We decided to dig a little deeper to find out.

Are the Prices Really Different?

For this comparison, we used Hotels.com vs Hotels.com for India. We used current, in-the-moment conversion rates and sales to compare Indian Rupees versus US Dollars on the same exact hotel.

Prices truly were different. You could save some money in many instances by booking through the Indian site.

Melia Kuala Lumpur

Hotels-2

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cost in Rupees: 4,477 Rs

Converted to USD: $63.17

Price on US Site: $68

Savings when booking through Indian site: $4.83/night

The Emperor Happy Valley Hotel

Hotels-1

Location: Hong Kong

Cost in Rupees: 2,920 Rs

Converted to USD: $42.78

Price on  US Site: $46

Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.22/night

Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11

Hotels-3

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Cost in Rupees: 4,574 Rs

Converted to USD: $68.58

Price on US Site: $72

Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.42/night

Gold Hotel Wine & Dine

Hotels-4

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Cost in Rupees: 4,282 Rs

Converted to USD: $64.21

Price on US Site: $68

Savings when booking through Indian site: $3.79/night

The Colonnade Hotel Back Bay

Hotels-5

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Price in Rupees: 16,447 Rs

Converted to USD: $246.61

Price on US Site: $263
Savings when booking through Indian site: $16.39/night

 

As we were searching, we noticed a couple of themes emerging. The first was that the more expensive a hotel was, the more likely it was to have a noticeable price difference.

The second was that there was an apparent trend depending on the country where the hotel was located. In Malaysia we typically, though not always, found savings of at least a few dollars per night. Hong Kong was more of a mixed bag, while Thailand’s savings tended to match Malaysia’s on average. Across Europe, there appeared to be more opportunities for savings in Eastern Europe than Western Europe.

It Doesn’t Always Work in Your Favor

It’s not always advantageous to use this method. We found a few examples where it was noticeably more expensive to book on the Indian site rather than the US site.

The Santai

Hotels-6

Location: Bali, Indonesia

Price in Rupees: 20,534

Converted to USD: $307.89

Price on US Site: $274

Savings when booking through US Site: $33.89/night

Atlantis The Palm

Hotels-7

Location: Dubai, UAE

Price in Rupees: 39,413

Converted to USD: $590.97

Price on US Site: $429

Saving when booking through US Site: $161.97/night

 

These examples are more marked, making us wonder if there are bigger deals to be had the other way if you search for just the right hotel.

Overall, the hack is true. You just have to keep in mind that it works both ways, being sure to check current sales and conversion rates.