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How to Stay in Cheap Hotels

Updated on November 11, 2010

Staying in cheap hotels can help your family vacation while on a budget. With all of the travel information available through magazines, guidebooks, advertisements, and the Internet, it can be difficult to wade through it all and decide on a place that suits your family’s needs. Here are some tips to finding that ideal home away from home that won’t stress your budget.

1. Choose the type of accommodation you want.
There are lots of different kinds of accommodations out there to choose from, and knowing which one you want will help you narrow down your choices. If this is a hard decision, think about your overall view of hotels to help you decide. For instance, do you view your hotel as simply a place to crash at the end of a busy day of vacationing and nothing more? If so, then a Super 8 or Motel 6 will serve your purposes just fine. If you are adventurous, camping offers the cheapest and often the most memorable accommodations there are and can give you more privacy and seclusion than most hotels.

However, if you and your family spend a significant amount of time in your hotel room and the quality of your accommodations is more important to you, then you will want to look for discounted rooms at more upscale hotels. If you’re looking for a fun place to stay with a strong social scene, consider a hostel. Additionally, there are many hotels that are vacation destinations in themselves.

2. Choose when to vacation

The time of year that you choose for your vacation will largely determine your accommodations. Many travel destinations are far less busy in the fall or winter months and offer more discounted rates. If your travel plans are flexible, try to vacation in the “off season” of your destination to give yourself this advantage. In addition, crowds will be smaller and you will have better access to attractions. The “busy season” varies by destination, so be sure to find out when your destination is least busy and vacation then.

3.  Choose when to book your lodging.

When you book your lodging also determines what kind of deal you will get on your hotel or other accommodations. The best time to buy will depend upon your particular destination. Again, the timing of your trip is key. If you are traveling in a busy season, book far in advance to make sure you get a room. On the other hand, if you are going in an off season, your best bet may be to not book at all and bargain with the innkeepers who will be looking to fill their empty rooms. You can also take advantage of websites that specialize in low-cost, last-minue deals, such as Last Minute Travel (www.lastminutetravel.com), Rates to Go (www.ratestogo.com), and search engines like Orbitz and Expedia.

Image Credit: chuck.miser, Flickr

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