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Changing Hotel Locations Can Help You Save

Aug 17, 2007
When you're planning to spend some time in or near a place like Boston, Zurich, London, or San Francisco, you can save by not staying in the same hotel every night.

And, even if you're just spending a couple of nights, you can sometimes save as much as 50--70% by choosing the right hotel location, as explained below.

Let's say you're a couple planning a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area for a special occasion.

You would like to spend the week:
-visiting wineries,
-hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore and Muir Woods,
-exploring Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey, and
-experiencing the highlights of San Francisco.

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.

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.

In the Carmel and Monterey area, you would have a choice: 1) 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 2) continue to save by booking a quality place inland.

For the latter, 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.
About the Author
Don Nadeau, an extensive world traveler and president of BidonTravel.com, loves helping people travel "on the cheap." Links pertaining to this article include Marin & Napa Scenic Drive, Priceline Hotel Tips, and Hotwire Hotel Deals.
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