10 ways to save up to 60 percent on a hotel stay

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Cutting Your Vacation Costs in Half

Chances are good that a hotel room will cost you more this year. The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index reports that global hotel prices rose 3 percent in 2014, the fifth straight annual increase.

Fortunately, we know a few tricks to help you slash rates. Here are 10 ways to make your next vacation a bit more affordable.

1. Go in the off-season

The top way to save on your hotel room is to travel during off-peak times. Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson says traveling in the off-season can cut your hotel costs by up to two-thirds.

Traveling at off-peak times helped me save more than a $100 a night at Cedar Point. With fewer people traveling, hotels drop their rates in the off-season to pull in as much business as they can.

2. Stay midweek

If off-season travel doesn't work for you, try to hit your destination during the week rather than on the weekend. Unless the hotel you're staying at caters to business travelers, you'll probably find cheaper rates on weekdays.

3. Search online for promo codes

Before booking a hotel, try searching online for coupon codes or promo offers. If you're booking through a third-party website, don't forget to search for codes associated with the booking site as well as the hotel.

In addition, follow your favorite brands on Facebook and Twitter. Companies occasionally distribute codes or announce flash sales on social media. You might even send a message to the company and ask if they have a coupon for loyal customers like you.

Check out Trip Advisor's 10 best hotels in the US:

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Trip Advisor's 10 best hotels in the US
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Trip Advisor's 10 best hotels in the US

1. The Sherry-Netherland Hotel (New York, NY)

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2. Bardessono (Yountsville, CA)
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3. The Nantucket Hotel and Resort (Nantucket, MA)

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4. French Quarter Inn (Charleston, SC)
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5. The Oxford Hotel (Bend, OR)

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6. Ponte Vineyard Inn (Temecula, CA)
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7. Icona Diamond Beach (Wildwood Crest, NJ)

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8. The Talbott Hotel (Chicago, IL)

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9. Belamere Suites (Perryburg, OH)

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10. Casablanca Hotel Time Square (New York, NY)

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4. Shop around

Hotels are a bit like cars: Each one offers roughly the same thing for a different price. Find the best rate by searching for hotel prices on a couple of different sites or use an aggregator site like Trivago.com. Be sure to clear the cookies from your computer between searches to ensure your search history isn't influencing your results.

Also, don't neglect calling the hotel directly. In my experience, some of the best rates are offered by the hotel itself.

5. Think outside the hotel

Sometimes the best deal isn't a hotel at all. If you have a large family or are traveling with a group, you may find it's cheaper to rent a vacation home.

For a different experience, you could try a bed and breakfast, Airbnb or a hostel. Really adventurous souls can try couch surfing.

6. Bundle your vacation

If you're using a third-party site, try bundling your vacation. Some sites will provide discounts if you buy airfare or rent a car at the same time you book a hotel room. However, you should also price out your airfare and room separately to ensure you're getting a bargain.

7. Rethink the entertainment package

Many hotels offer entertainment packages that add meals and attraction tickets to your room. On the face of it, many of these packages seem a good deal. But do some research before making your reservation.

Learn what is in the package so you don't spend on perks you don't want. Also, it may be just as cheap to buy the included items separately. And by waiting to make those ticket and meal purchases after you arrive, you'll likely have greater flexibility in your schedule.

8. Sign up for a loyalty program

From Choice Hotels to Hyatt, hotel chains fitting every budget offer loyalty programs. They often work like frequent-flier miles, earning you free nights after a certain number of stays.

They may also entitle you to discounts and other perks, like evening receptions or room upgrades. Best of all, most are free to join.

9. Join a club

Membership has its privileges, and some organizations have negotiated discounts with hotel chains. AARP and AAA are two groups known for helping members get rate cuts. If you're a member, be sure to ask about special rates before booking your stay.

10. Ask for a deal

Finally, the best way to cut your hotel rate may be to simply ask. Don't bother using a third-party booking site or even the hotel chain's 800-number for this strategy. Just call the front desk of the hotel and ask for the lowest nonrefundable rate they offer.

Another option is to make a refundable reservation and then continue to shop around. If you find a lower price, go back to your preferred hotel and ask if it can match the competition's price. At the very least, the hotel may offer you an upgrade.

What's your secret way to save on lodging? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

More from MoneyTalksNews:
Want to Attend the Rio Olympics? Some Tickets Are Getting Downright Cheap
13 Ways to Have Your Dream Vacation for Half the Price
How to Avoid the Dreaded Middle Seat on the Plane

RELATED: Now check out the best tips to save money on a road trip:

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How to save money on a road trip
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How to save money on a road trip

1. Calculate your expected fuel cost before your trip. It’s always wise to get an accurate estimation of how much to budget for gas beforehand. GasBuddy's fuel calculator is an excellent tool to get an expected price point. Just enter your vehicle information, startpoint and endpoint, and the app will calculate how much you’ll spend.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Don’t fuel up near popular areas. You’ll find inflated gas prices near popular tourist destinations and metropolitan areas, so it’s worth venturing to the town over for more affordable prices. For example, gas costs on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway in California are considerably higher than the stations a few miles off the main highway.

Photo credit: Getty

3. Fill up your tank at truck stops. You'll often find the cheapest gas prices here. 

Photo credit: Getty

4. Download gas apps. Apps like GasBuddy and GasGuru come in handy by computing the cheapest station in relation to your current location.

Photo credit: Getty

5. Drive efficiently to save gas costs. These 5 fuel-efficient tips are proven to maintain a full tank longer:

           1. Turn off your AC

2. Engage cruise control in low-traffic areas

3. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking

4. Inflate tires close to maximum

5. Avoid speeding

Photo credit: Getty

6. Travel with friends. Traveling with a few buddies is an efficient (and fun) way to save cash by splitting the cost of a tank.

Photo credit: Getty

7. Grocery shop in advance. Pack water and snacks beforehand in a cooler -- inflated convenience store prices will eat away at your budget.

Photo credit: Getty

8. Bring reusable water bottles. Filling up a water bottle is cheaper than buying a Poland Spring at every stop.

Photo credit: Getty

9. Buy fountain drinks over bottled drinks. If you’re craving a Mountain Dew, fountain drinks give you a better bang for your buck over bottled soda.

Photo credit: Getty

Use Yelp: Download Yelp on your phone to see the best restaurant offers in your area.

Photo credit: AOL

11. Take advantage of restaurant deals. Chances are there will be tons of chain restaurants along the way, so use sites like Groupon and GiftCardGranny to get a deal on the road.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

12. Load up on free coffee and breakfast from hotels for the road. Take advantage of a free meal and avoid Starbucks and other expensive coffee shops.

Photo credit: Getty

13. Avoid staying in popular areas. Tourist-driven and metropolitan areas are often paired with inflated prices, so find a place to sleep in surrounding towns.

Photo credit: Getty

14. Check out sites like Airbnb, Tripadvisor, and Kayak to score the best low-cost lodging deals.

Photo credit: Getty

15. Rent a car. If you don’t own your own vehicle, renting a car beforehand for as cheap as $22 a day on sites like ExpediaHotwire, and Travelocity can be a great deal.

Photo credit: Getty

16. Alert your bank. Sometimes banks will deem charges in new cities as fraudulent and cancel your cards.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

17. Stick to budget-friendly activities. Some ideas include hiking national parks, visiting beaches and checking out a town’s culture by walking the streets and venturing into a street fair.

Photo credit: Getty

18. Take advantage of student discounts. If you’re currently a student, bring your student ID for maximum discounts.

Photo credit: Getty

19. Download road trip planning apps. Apps like Roadtrippers are a great way to help plan and finance your new excursion.

Photo credit: Getty

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