smart spending

5 ways to score cheap hotel deals

Surf the Web for deals
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The Internet can help you save money on virtually everything, including hotel rooms.

"It takes a bit more confidence to book your vacation online, but there can be big payoffs," says Braden.

"I recently stayed in a four-star hotel in downtown Seattle on a weekend night for $69 through," she says. "Had I booked directly through the hotel, a similar room would have cost me about $150."

TravelSmart's Dunnan agrees that the Web offers many deals, but she and Braden advise consumers to check the fine print before booking a room. In the case of Braden's recent hotel stay, her reservation was nontransferable and nonrefundable.

"Another tactic is to check the hotel Web sites directly for seasonal deals and promotions before you book a room through Priceline or Hotwire; if you can get a similar deal by booking direct, you might enjoy more flexibility should you need to cancel the reservation," Braden says.

For increased savings, Dunnan advises travelers to always check for package deals on hotels and rental cars when making an airline reservation at sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity.

Many Web sites also provide promotional codes that can be used for discounts at hotels and motels.




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