8 tips to slash the cost of hotel stays

Looking for a great deal on a hotel? A little planning can help you slash the cost of your next overnight stay away from home.

Any one of these tips can help flexible travelers save a bundle.

Go in the off-season

Off-season dates vary, so you may want to call and ask — but they’re usually determined by weather and local attractions, and will be similar for an area.

Check promotions

Check a site like RetailMeNot.com for coupons, and also keep an eye on discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which often feature substantial savings — sometimes 50 percent — at hotels and restaurants.

Subscribe to e-mails on the cities you’re interested in, and you’ll never miss a deal. Subscribe to the hotel’s mailing list too.

Book early

If your travel dates aren’t flexible, the best thing you can do is book as soon as you know. If it’s an annual trip, for example, there’s no reason you can’t reserve months in advance while occupancy — and prices — are lower.

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Compare weekdays with weekends

Tourist-oriented hotels tend to charge more on the weekends because that’s when they get more customers. Hotels that target local businesses and events tend to charge more midweek for the same reason.

Comparison shop

Knowing what a hotel’s competitors charge can help when you better understand your options. It also can give you a leg up if you haggle with a hotel for a better price.

And before you agree to any deal, make sure you know which amenities are included so fees for internet, breakfast and other services don’t surprise you.

Join the club

If you’re a frequent traveler or typically stay in the same chain of hotels, sign up for rewards programs.

Look farther away

While it’s nice to stay at a hotel that’s hosting the event you’re attending or is just a block away, that convenience comes at a cost. Everybody’s going to book the closest spots first, so widen the radius of your search to find hotels a little more desperate for your business.

Go all-inclusive

Combined hotel and airfare rates are sometimes cheaper than booking each separately. So, unless you’ve got a great price on one or the other already, check out travel sites like Orbitz and Travelocity for package deals.

Do you have more great tips for cutting hotel costs? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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