Five tips for finding the best hotel rates

Getting the most “bang” for your travel buck is more important than ever, but while 2009 may be the year of the bargain-basement journey, hotel rates for 2010 will probably not be that cheap. Because, according to a recent Traveler’s Confidence Report from Travellocity, travelers’ attitudes toward planning and travel are on the rise – and many hotels simply don’t cut rates just to record. That said, great hotel rates are still there – where you are and how – you just have to know how to look for them. To keep your travel plans going, follow these general tips:

Go straight to the source. Many hotel companies offer their best hotel rates – with a guarantee – to those who book on the company’s website. For example, Marriott offers “Look no further – guarantee the best rates” – which basically means that if you get a lower rate for the same date, hotel and room type within 24 hours of booking your room, the company will match that rate – and you Gives an additional 25 percent discount. (Rules and restrictions apply))

Flex be flexible. Every traveler knows about high-season vs. low-season and weekend vs. weekend hotel rates, so keep them in mind when planning your trip. If you are open to changing your travel dates, you will only be able to make large savings at a few of the city’s warmer hotels.

• Financial District. If you are on a weekly vacation, check out the hotel rates in the financial district of your destination. Not only do hotel rates in these neighborhoods often drop on weekends, but the financial districts of many large cities are relatively close to the warmest places in the city.

Stay in Om Boom town. Lots of cities have added lots of hotel rooms in the last few years – which means if you’re traveling to Las Vegas, Phoenix or New York you can get a better deal there than traveling to a small town with fewer hotel rooms.

If you’re planning a romantic trip or hanging out with someone special, many hotels offer web-cable travel packages with unique amenities such as vouchers that can only be used for spa treatments, fine dining or golf. And if you plan to use those special opportunities in any way – these kind of packages can really help you save.