Staying in great, comfortable lodgings while on summer vacation doesn't necessarily mean that you have to spend a lot of money.

There are plenty of options for saving, but you may have to compromise on travel dates and on how far from the action you want to be.

For example, you probably want to avoid such holidays as the Fourth of July and Labor Day, when rates can go up at hotels in popular destinations.

Above all, be aggressive and creative, said Nancy Dunnan, editor and publisher of TravelSmart, considered the nation's oldest consumer travel newsletter.

"Discounts do not just apply to low-end hotels. They are available throughout the industry," she said. "It is important to be an active traveler, not a passive traveler."

She added, "You should not accept the original room price. Ask for a special discount."

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