5 tips for cheaper hotel stays

Flickr user John Stavely

(MoneyWatch) Some people genuinely like to travel. For everyone else, the joy often comes from little victories en route, like upgrades to first-class or getting cheaper hotel rooms than the advertised price.

Reader's Digest, courtesy of consumer technology site Lifehacker, has a slew of insider tips from hotel receptionists. I've culled through the list and extracted five aimed at helping save you money on your next trip:

Call the hotel directly. Don't call the 800 number for reservations; that'll send you to a central reservations call center for the entire hotel chain. If you call the hotel directly, you might be able to negotiate a better rate.

Don't reserve online. Hotels pay an overhead of about 30 percent to online booking sites. So if you call to make a reservation, you have about that much negotiating room for lower rates.

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Go with an independent. Independent hotels are better able to negotiate prices than chain establishments.

Be discreet about upgrades. You'll have a better shot at getting a break or an upgrade if you do it when you're not within earshot of other customers.

You can get credited for Wi-Fi when you check out. The staff has more flexibility to remove Wi-Fi changes from your bill at the end of your stay than when you first arrive. So if you aren't successful getting Wi-Fi for free when you check in, ask again when you check out.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user John Stavely