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7 ways to save at bed and breakfasts

If you're in need of a mini-vacation to relax and recharge, a bed and breakfast might be the ticket. Here's how to make it more affordable.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2013 7:16PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News. 

MSN Money PartnerThe Professional Association of Innkeepers International says $150 is the average daily rate for a bed and breakfast. So if you've been dreaming of a four-day weekend away at a historic country inn, you might be looking at a $600 bill.

A pier at sunset on the Intracoastal Waterway on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. © Rachid Dahnoun, Aurora Open, Getty ImagesBut your vacation doesn't have to be so expensive. We have a list of ways you can slash the cost of B&B stays.

1. Stay in the off-season

While some bed and breakfasts close for the off-season, others stay open year-round and offer deals to keep their rooms occupied. For example, in the northeastern part of the United States, the main tourism season is typically the spring and summer, when the weather is warmer. If you're willing to battle the cold, Kathleen Warnock, a Frommer's Travel Guides editor, told Fox News:

In January everything just drops. People just don't think of January as a getaway time, and pretty much everywhere you look in Northeast, if they are open in January, you will find a great deal.

To get the best deals, avoid peak travel times like spring break and major holidays.

2. Book midweek

Consider booking during the week if you have some flexibility. Many B&Bs get the majority of their reservations for the weekend and end up with vacancies during the week. They may offer a discount if you're willing to check in on Tuesday and out on Thursday.

3. Build a customer relationship

A few bed and breakfasts in my area have customer loyalty programs that offer a discount for making return visits. While it's not offered everywhere, if you stayed at a B&B in the past, give them a call and see if you can get a discount before booking elsewhere.

4. Look for deals

While there aren’t as many deal sites for bed and breakfasts as there are for hotels, you can still do some comparison shopping. Look for specials offered on travel sites, such as:

Don't forget to check the websites of bed and breakfasts. Some may not advertise their promotions on travel sites, and you might find a cheaper deal by booking directly.

5. Haggle

Since most bed and breakfasts are independently owned, they may have more wiggle room than corporate-owned hotel chains. Instead of booking online, give the bed and breakfast a call and ask if they're running any specials right now. If not, haggle a bit. They may be willing to work with you if you say you'd love to stay in the place but the rooms are a bit out of your price range.

6. Get professional association discounts

If you're a member of a professional organization or club, you may be able to get a discount. For example, some bed and breakfasts offer discounts to AAA members. If you have a membership, check out the AAA Discounts and Rewards site to see what bed and breakfasts are available.

Bed and breakfasts may offer discounts for other organizations too. Call the B&B you're considering and ask if your association will score you a deal.

7. Make use of amenities

One of the best things about staying at a bed and breakfast is the included breakfast. While you're on vacation, make sure you take advantage of it every day to cut down on food costs.

Also, look for other amenities or specials offered by the B&B. Some stays come with gift certificates to local establishments. However, don't book just for amenities. Compare prices at several bed and breakfasts to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

More on Money Talks News:

Jul 11, 2013 7:15PM
As an author of more than 50 editions of Bed & Breakfast guides, one of the best ways to save on a stay at a bed and breakfast is the Buy One Night Get the Second Night Free program offered on the website. there are 1200 inns across the country participating. Inns offer at their the second night free during their non-peak times (ie - it might not be available on an August weekend).

There's actually a special coming up where Hallmark Channel 's new Cedar Cove series will offer this program to anyone visiting the channel's website. Starts third week in July.

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