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Cheap Hotels

How do you get the cheapest hotels when you travel? You can start with the internet, but unlike with plane tickets, you will never find the cheapest hotels using the search sites. They are designed to help market those hotels that have marketing budgets. Not all hotels are online yet, and the ones that aren't are often the cheapest in town.

Now, of course, you want a decent hotel too. It is true that the cheapest are often not so nice. Often, but not always. So just to get an idea what rooms are going for in the town you're traveling to, you can start with websites, such as Theses will rarely list places that are really bad.

Remember, however, that they only give you the cheapest rates for the hotels that are in their system. I just did a search for Tucson, Arizona on their site, and two others. Cheap was the easiest to use, and found the best rates, but I could show you several motels here in Tucson that are clean and $15 cheaper than the cheapest rate they found.

A good way to get decent rates when traveling by car, is to pick up coupon books at gas stations along the highways. We have repeatedly found good deals using these. It is rare that a manager or owner won't honor the coupon. Only if they are absolutely full will you have a problem. Read the fine print, however, as they may charge more for certain dates, or for two people.

The other way to get a cheap room is to negotiate. This doesn't work as well in the United States. For some reason, most (but not all) owners here would rather watch you drive away than knock five bucks off the room rate. This is not true in other countries. When my wife and I were in Banos, Ecuador recently, we were told the room would be $12 per night. We paid $6 per night (Clean, cable T.V., lots of hot water), because the owner understood we would walk away if we thought we could do better.

A Cheap Hotels Secret

Use the "magic words." There are promotions done where if you "mention this ad" or just use the right words, you get up to 70% discount. Talk, talk, talk. Tell them if you're a member of the AARP, AAA or whatever. Tell the person on the phone that you saw an ad in the "Times," or whatever big paper they might have advertised in. Or just ask what the magic words are, and some receptionists will tell you. Or ask "What do I have to say to get the cheapest rate?" They'll sometimes tell you.

Some other things to try:

1. Ask for AAA and other discounts. They may give you a discount just for asking.

2. Call ahead to several places. If you know you can save $30, it may be worth stopping for the night a few miles sooner than you planned.

3. Pay cash for several days for a discount. We have done this in Montana, California and overseas. Let them know you may otherwise be talking to their competition.

4. Consider hostels. Rent a bed instead of a room, if you are alone and want to go real cheap.

5. Sleep in a conversion van. Parked at a hot spring for $3 per night, this was one of our favorite accommodations.

Pages related to cheap hotels: Cheap Travel Tips.

Other Pages:

United States Travel
Cheap Family Vacations
Cheap Solo Vacations
10 Cheap Vacations

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