smart spending

5 ways to score cheap hotel deals

Think outside the box
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"Travelers can save a lot of money on accommodations, and enjoy truly unique travel experiences, by thinking outside of the box when it comes to lodging," Braden says.

For example, your wallet may benefit from choosing an independent inn or a small bed and breakfast over a more "traditional" hotel.

Such facilities "are often friendly, inexpensive and a good value when a home-cooked breakfast is included," she says.

You can find these independent lodgings in guidebooks, the destination's chamber of commerce Web site or the visitor's bureau's list of local lodgings, Braden says.

Vacation rentals can also provide significant savings over more traditional accommodations. Braden says such rentals often offer more space and range "from a cabin on the Oregon coast to a farmhouse in upstate New York."

Such rentals can be found at Web sites such as HomeAway, she says.

You can also trim your travel budget by casting a wider net when it comes to location.

"A hotel in Jersey City, for example, is almost half the price of a midtown Manhattan hotel, and yet it's a short train ride into Manhattan," Braden says.




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