How To Get A Low Motel Rate

Getting a low rate for a motel room need not become the impossible dream. Follow these tips to find the best price.

People of all ages travel for business and pleasure. When traveling to another city or to enjoy a weekend away from home, many folks stay at a motel. Prices can vary widely, from the widely promoted $39.95 to well over a hundred dollars.

If you're traveling on a budget, you need to pay the lowest cost for the best possible room. A variety of discounts may help. Here are a few tips:

1. Join the American Automobile Association (AAA). For a fee of about $60 per individual, you can get a year-long membership that offers numerous advantages, including towing for stranded vehicles and discount lodging rates. Weigh the pro's and cons of buying a membership, especially if you are not driving a new car. Staying in a motel for five nights over the course of a year could pay your membership, and you'll enjoy other advantages as well.

2. Find out about AARP discounts. The American Association of Retired Persons offers a 10% to 15% discount on many services, such as hotels and motels. You can check out their Web site to learn more about a variety of benefits that are available to those over fifty years of age.

3. Convention discounts. If you will be in town to participate in a conference or convention, there may be a block of rooms available at a reduced rate. Ask the desk clerk if the sponsoring organization has set aside some rooms. If not, inquire whether a general convention rate is available.

4. Presenter's rate. People who are invited as speakers or presenters at a conference sometimes get half their lodging paid by the host organization. If you are invited to speak to a group, ask whether a reduced or fully paid motel room is one of the benefits.

5. Military and government discounts. Those who are members of the armed forces or who work for the government get many discounts to a wide range of services, including hotels and motels. Ask in advance if a reduced rate is available for you, and what type of identification will be needed to get the lower rate.

6. Emergency travel rate. If you have to travel across the country unexpectedly due to a family member's illness or death, you may be able to get a room discount if you must stay at a motel or hotel. Call local inns to inquire about this option before booking a room, as some places offer this type of discount while others do not.

7. Unbooked rooms. In making your travel plans on the phone with a motel reservations clerk, it doesn't hurt to ask if there is an available "low-rate" room. These are motel rooms that remain unbooked close to the check-in time. Rather than not renting them, some managers offer a discount to last-minute arrivals, although some discounts of this type may be offered in advance.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So goes the old saying. The next time you must make travel plans that involve a motel stay, ask in advance about any or all of the above discounts. You might just save a few dollars that can be spent on entertainment!

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