The only thing you can always expect with travel? The unexpected.

Stuff happens, plans change, and you’ve gotta go with it.

That’s why I always try to make sure my travels are flexible. When I’m on a trip, I rarely make hotel reservations. Hostels are almost always available, and I’d rather have the flexibility that comes with “Oh, I like this town. I’m going to stay a few extra days” (Dahab, Egypt) or “This place SUCKS. Get me out of here!” (Panama City, Panama). With reservations, you don’t have that ability.

Group tour at HT HQ
Group tour of HT HQ (that’s my mom in the middle!).

Now that I’m a little bit, um, more advanced in age, hostels aren’t always the right fit for me. BUT I’m still a budget traveler at heart, and am always looking for the best deals.

Take last December, for example. I’d arrived in NYC planning to stay with a friend. When our plans got complicated, I decided maybe it’d be better to just get a hotel for the night.

I’d heard of a free app called HotelTonight, so I decided to give it a shot. My experience was fabulous, and I’ve been singing their praises ever since. (Get stoked: at the end of this post, I share a code so you can save $25 on your first booking!)

I can’t get it to show upright, but this is the original sketch from when the app was first conceived! It’s hanging in HT HQ.

How HotelTonight works

HT has relationships with hotels around the world (and is growing rapidly). When these hotels need to fill rooms for the night, they offer up availability to HT. And because it’s so last minute, HT can list these rooms at super discounted rates — up to 70% off the rack rate.

When you log on to the app, HT uses a special algorithm to show you the absolute best deals/hotels for that night.

With an office like this, you know the app is baller!
With an office like this, you know the app is baller!

Why I love HotelTonight

It lets you be flexible

You can’t make a reservation for anything earlier than tonight (obvs) — though you can make a reservation for more than one night.

With HT in my back pocket, I don’t need to freak about making a reservation ahead of time. I know they’ll have a good deal for me when I need it.

HT t-shirt at Mystic Hotel
Rockin’ my HT t-shirt in front of the Mystic Hotel.

It reduces the overwhelm

They use a unique algorithm to choose the best hotels available that day, and then categorize them by neighborhood and hotel type (basic, solid, hip, charming, luxe, and ballin’).

Since there aren’t usually more than a dozen hotels listed, I don’t get overwhelmed like on other booking apps. They also offer a few bullet points about why they like the hotel, which helps me to decide.

It saves you time

If you’re anything like me, you can spend HOURS reading hotel reviews. HT prevents that with their simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down review system. No more getting sucked in to reading reviews; instead, you can quickly see what percentage of people would recommend the hotel.

The rest of the necessary info is right in the app, ie: wifi, parking, food & drink, TV, and map location. And if there are only a few rooms left at a particular property, it lets you know. I like this sense of urgency, since it gets me to quit dilly-dallying and just book it already!

The Mystic Hotel in SF
LOVE the rooms at the Mystic.

It’s easy and fun

The app is sleek, sexy, and fun to use. My absolute favorite part comes at the end, where you get to trace the bed to confirm your booking. So exciting!

It provides high quality accommodations at low prices

Last but not least, the rates are awesome. (You can see just how awesome below.) As if that weren’t enough, HT vets all of their hotels. The three I’ve stayed at have been great. It’s also simple to choose the right hotel for you (so key) with their categories, thumbs-up/thumbs-down system, and “why we like it” bullet points.

Don’t just take my word for it, though:

HotelTonight tweetstimonial

Where I’ve stayed with HotelTonight

The Lexington – New York, NY

HT rate: $199 / Regular rate: $429 / Savings: 53%

When you’re on the same street as the W, Waldorf-Astoria, and Four Seasons, you know you’re in a good location. This hotel managed to be trendy and artsy without being obnoxious. I love hotels with history, and this one definitely fit the bill: Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio lived in one of their suites while they were married! I’d highly recommend this (at the HT rate) to anyone looking for a unique option in NYC.

Cool, speakeasy style of the Burritt Room at the Mystic Hotel
Cool, speakeasy style of the Burritt Room at the Mystic Hotel.

Best Western Airport Executel – SeaTac, WA

HT rate: $69 / Regular rate: $99 / Savings: 30%

This was a basic hotel, but it was clean and close to the airport. Perfect for our needs. The complimentary breakfast had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, so there’s that.

Mystic Hotel – San Francisco, CA

HT rate: $119 / Regular rate: $219 / Savings: 45%

After getting a tour of HT HQ, I booked this hotel on the recommendation of their marketing manager, Todd. I adored the sexy vintage feel of the rooms and bar. Since the hotel is owned by a chef, the free breakfast (which, clearly, is very important to me) was one of the best I’d ever had! I’d go back here a million times.

Mystic Hotel breakfast
That is a JAR of Nutella for the eating at the Mystic breakfast.

A special bonus for you!

I’m now an HTInsider, which means I get to promote a brand I love. Just so you know, they asked me to be an insider after I raved about their service on social media. You guys probably know this, but I only promote things I know and love.

Want to join in on the fun? I’ve got two special bonuses for you:

Stairway decorations at the Mystic
Stairway decorations at the Mystic.

You can save $25 off your first booking by using the code “Junkette25.” Just download the app onto your smart device, enter the code, and voila! (I’ll also get a special bonus when you book, so it’s win-win!)

If you want to take it a step further, you, too, can become an HTInsider. You’ll have the chance to win special rewards and opportunities. You don’t have to be a blogger; just click here to sign up. How’s that for exciting?!

Have you tried HotelTonight before? What’s YOUR favorite hotel booking app?

This post was created in partnership with HotelTonight. All thoughts and opinions are my own.