smart spending

5 ways to score cheap hotel deals

Time your trip for savings
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When it comes to getting a good deal on a hotel room, timing can be everything.

"One of the easiest ways to trim your travel budget is to go off-season," says Lauren Braden, founder of Northwest Cheapsleeps, a Web site and blog about affordable travel in the Pacific Northwest.

"You'll save on airfare and accommodations, and might appreciate some additional perks, like shorter lines," she says.

"Off-season" varies according to your destination. In the Caribbean, for example, the summer is considered "off-season" whereas the Pacific Northwest and Europe receive fewer tourists during the winter, Braden says.

"You'll also save some, but not as much, by pushing your trip time just before or after the heavy tourist season into what are called the 'shoulder seasons,'" she says. "For example, visit London in October or Cancun in April."

You may be able to reduce your hotel bill by staying midweek rather than during the weekend. However, this is not always the case.

"In some cities, weekend rates are actually lower -- if it's a 'business' city and therefore empties out on the weekends," she says.

Hotels also often drop rates after 6 p.m. if people with reservations have not arrived, Dunnan says.




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