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Learn2 Shop for a Hotel Room
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Get a room!

Need a place to lay your travel-weary head? Don't wait until you arrive at your destination, completely exhausted, to start looking for lodging. Better to begin your search from the comforts of home.

In the past, travelers had two ways to find decent hotels. They could rely on a travel agent, or consult guidebooks or listings from tourist bureaus, then reserve rooms themselves. Both options are still available, but the Internet has dramatically enhanced the process, offering everything from online reservations to virtual tours.

Here's a guide to finding a hotel room the smart way. We'll explain how to shop for bargains, broaden your choices, and avoid surprises.

Before you begin

Traveling on a shoestring budget? It's a great way to go, but finding good, cheap hotels can be a challenge. Why? Because low-end establishments often don't have the time or money to invest in web marketing. And travel agencies rarely list them, since commissions are too small to be worth their while.

So how do you go about finding ultra-cheap accommodations?

  1. Invest in a good budget guidebook that's specific to the area you're visiting, then choose several lodging options. Cheap places tend to fill up fast, especially if they've been recommended by a guidebook, so make sure you have a list of backups.

  2. Try to book your room over the phone well in advance of your arrival. However, be aware that many low-end places don't accept phone reservations, or can't confirm them because they aren't wired for credit cards. However, you may be able to send a deposit by mail.

  3. If you've made reservations well in advance, call closer to your arrival to confirm.

  4. Upon arrival, check out your room before you agree to stay the night. You'll want to be sure the place meets your minimum requirements for comfort and cleanliness.
   Go to Step 1 of 6

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Step 1: Define your needs
Step 2: Consider package deals
Step 3: Explore other discount options
Step 4: Read guidebooks
Step 5: Go online
Step 6: Call a travel agent

  • A guidebook tailored to your lifestyle
  • The travel section of your local newspaper
  • Internet access, plus addresses for major travel websites
  • A travel agent


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