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Just thought I'd share some tips and experiences with you.
If you're on a budget and looking for a cheap hotel, searching on the internet doesn't usually get very good results. The reason, obviously, is that usually only the expensive high end hotels advertise on the internet, whereas the cheap ones don't.
Thus, even if you google the terms "cheap hotels" you are still going to get hits on expensive hotels, even from hotel search engines. Also, when these online sites say "cheap" they mean cheap by the standards of the wealthy, not the person on a budget. So for example, $50 a night is considered cheap for a business traveler who is used to spending $100 a night, but not for the person traveling long term on a small budget.
So, I find that the best way to find cheap hotels is to ask the locals there, hopefully someone you trust. Before you get there, email people and ask on a bunch of online forums related to the place you're going. One good place is the Couchsurfing.com group forums or the Lonely Planet forums, since they are filled with backpackers who are budget conscious and looking for low price accommodations.
Also, if you're picky about cleanliness, ask the reception if you can see the room first before you pay. They usually will have no problem with that.
Anyone else have any other tips to add?
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