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5 tips for cheaper hotel stays

(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

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