Hotel Hacks to Help You save on Your Next Trip ...

If you're tired of paying an arm and a leg for hotel rooms, there are several hotel hacks to help you save money. Nowadays, just about everyone's interested in saving a buck. If you enjoy traveling, you may look for ways to save money on vacations and getaways. Accommodations are a huge expense, but these seven hotel hacks will keep money in your pocket.

1. Book Flight and Hotel Together

When making reservations, some people book the hotel and flight separately. However, you might save by booking a vacation package. This is one of the best hotel hacks. Several travel websites let you purchase both together, and in many cases, you receive a slight discount. Also, if you check sites such as Groupon, you can find amazing air and hotel package deals for domestic and international travel.

2. Use Your AAA Membership

AAA isn't only beneficial when you have a flat tire or other car trouble. Flash your AAA membership and save 10% off your room at most hotels. Additionally, some restaurants and tourist attractions in your destination city might give discounts if you're an active AAA member.

3. Bring a Cooler and Hotplate

Food is another big expense when traveling on vacation. If you prefer preparing meals for your family, getting a hotel with a kitchen might be ideal, but unfortunately, you'll pay a premium. To keep your hotel cost reasonable, book a standard room, but bring a hot plate and a cooler if there isn't a refrigerator in the room. Confirm with the hotel in advance to see whether hot plates are permitted.

4. Book a Refundable Room

Sure, you can save money by booking a non-refundable room, but since hotel prices tend to fluctuate, you're better off booking a refundable room and then continuing to check rates up until the time you're scheduled to arrive. For most hotels, as long as you cancel a room before 3 PM or 4 PM on your check-in date, you won't be charged. Besides, refundable rooms provide the flexibility to cancel if your plans change at the last minute.

5. Book Directly through the Hotel

I recently tried this technique and it worked. It's smart to compare hotel rates across different travel websites, but if you call hotels directly, you might be able to snag a cheaper rate. Some hotels offer promotions and discounts that aren't advertised online.

6. Ask for a Discount or Upgrade

This doesn't happen all the time, but if you book during the off-season, or when the hotel isn't receiving a lot of business, you might be able to negotiate a discounted rate. You'll have to call the hotel directly when booking your reservation, or you can ask for an upgrade at check in.

7. Write a Review

If you’re a freelance travel writer, contact a hotel directly, speak with the manager and mention that you’re going to write a piece or review on the hotel. Since most hotels welcome the opportunity to drum up business or promote their amenities, you might receive a discounted or complimentary room. For this to work, however, the piece must be published on a high traffic website or a well-known print publication.

Getting a hotel discount isn’t rocket science. Most of the times, it’s a matter of booking at the right times and asking for better deals. What tricks have helped you save on hotels?