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Smarter, Cheaper Choices for Vacation Hotels

Smaller, more comfy hotels near
big cities can save lots of money
which can be better spent
on meals and attractions ...

Vacation planning means lots of decisions and every one you make affects the cost and the fun you'll have on your trip.

One of the toughest destination decisions is which hotel to choose. For most travelers the first place to look for a hotel is right in the heart of high priced tourist areas. While location is important, experts advise that if you widen your choices you'll a more affordable trip. Don't be surprised if you find that smart choices can mean a more pleasant vacation.

When you're vacation destination is in or near a popular location like Boston, Zurich, London, or San Francisco, you can save by savvy hotel booking. You don't have to give up a four star rating to cut costs. By not staying in the same hotel every night you can sample top quality hospitality and stay within your budget.

Don Nadeau, the president of, suggests flexible locations as a powerful way to save on hotel rooms. Even if you're just spending a couple of nights, you can sometimes save as much as 50% to 70% by choosing the right hotel locations.

Let's say you're planning a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. You would like to spend the week:

It would be simple for you to book seven nights in a San Francisco hotel. After all, you would be within an easy day's drive of everything you want to see. However, seven nights in a San Francisco hotel would be expensive and even more so as you probably want an especially nice place for this trip. And, on top of that, you would have to pay about $30 - $45 a day for parking in a safe area.

Staying Nearby
Instead, why not spend the first three nights closer to the Wine Country and the national seashore?

You could book a very nice resort-style hotel in or near Santa Rosa for a fraction of the cost of a similar hotel in San Francisco.

You would end up really close to many of the finest Napa Valley wineries, the Calistoga hot springs spas, and even the exceptional restaurant of the Culinary Institute of America. Moreover, you'd be just a few minutes from beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore.

Then, after your last night in Santa Rosa, you could enjoy a scenic drive along the Marin County coastline toward San Francisco, with stops in charming Sausalito and the redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument before heading over the Golden Gate Bridge.

That night, you could even end up dining at one of the many fabulous San Francisco restaurants using money you'd saved on hotels! You'd be staying in San Francisco two nights. After your last night in San Francisco, you wouldn't need to head out right away. You could still spend most of the day exploring the city.

Then, timing your drive before or after any rush hour traffic, you could take scenic southbound Interstate 280, which runs in a greenbelt along a ridge, giving you views of San Francisco Bay. Near San Jose, you'd switch to State Highway 85 and then U.S. 101, and continue toward Carmel and Monterey.

Save Money on Small Hotels & Inns
In the Carmel and Monterey area, you would have a choice. You could either use some of your hotel savings to stay in a fantastically romantic place, such as the Tickle Pink Inn along the shore, or continue to save by booking a quality place inland. If you choose the more affordable option, the ultimate hotel money saver in the Carmel and Monterey area is the nearby town of Salinas.

The Grapes of Wrath no longer haunt John Steinbeck's Salinas. It's become a pleasant working-class town with a center city that people enjoy in the evening. Salinas puts you a mere 25 minutes from Carmel, but in a different price range altogether.

So, what have you done here? You've had three nights in Santa Rosa, two in San Francisco, and two in the Monterey area. Not only have you saved a lot on hotels—even if you splurged in Carmel—you've also saved a lot of time commuting from a San Francisco hotel. This is time you've been able to use visiting fun and memorable places, rather than on the road.

When saving money helps you have a better vacation, you have travel savings at its finest.

More about saving money on hotel tips around the Web:

Money-Saving Walt Disney Hotel Tips and Tricks

Money Saving Travel Tips for Summer Family Vacations

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