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Step 7: Hotel tips

Read SmarterTravel.com's best tips before you book a room. Here are our top tips:

  1. The lowest rates are usually for weekend stays that include a Friday or Saturday night.
  2. A 21-day advance purchase is sometimes required to get the best deals.
  3. Plan your travel to avoid your destination's peak season, and avoid coinciding with conventions or other special events, as rates tend to be the highest during these periods.
  4. Consider staying in a suburban or airport hotel, as properties in these areas tend to offer rates that are significantly lower than downtown locations.
  5. Don't forget to earn points for as many stays as you can. See Step 5 of this guide for more information about hotel loyalty programs.
  6. Taxes and fees vary from state to state and even from city to city. Most hotels will not include these extra charges in their listed rates, but you can see them by reading the fine print before you pay.
  7. Canceling your stay can cost you a bundle, depending on which website you book with and how much advance notice you give. When making reservations, be sure to ask if there will be a fee if you need to cancel for any reason.
  8. When you find a deal you're happy with, book the room right away. If you wait too long, the deal may disappear.
  9. If you are driving to your hotel, be sure to check the property's parking policy. Some hotels offer free parking, others have a daily surcharge, and some may not have parking available at all. As lot, meter, or hotel parking surcharges usually add up, be sure to take this extra fee into consideration when planning the cost of your trip.
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