Summer Staycation Guide: Ways to save money

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PHOENIX -- With temperatures soaring into triple digits and the school year coming to a close, it's summer vacation time for thousands of Arizona families. 

Because it is off-season in Arizona, summer is often the best time of the year to find deals on your favorite hotels and resorts.  But finding those deals can take a little work.  

Here are some ideas on how to find the deal that's right for your family and your wallet.

1) Sign-Up for the e-mail:  If you're willing to give-up your e-mail address, finding a great deal may be as easy as opening your inbox.

2) Social networking:  Find the resort or hotel you want to stay at, "like" them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.  If the property has open rooms or last minute cancellations, some turn to social networking to fill those rooms.

3) Third-party discounts: Service sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, TravelZoo and Yollar often have some great deals for those willing to give an e-mail address.  Beware that many of these deals are pre-pay only, and pay close attention to terms and conditions before you buy.

4) Special groups and discounts:  If you are a member of any special groups, you can sometimes take advantage of a great deal.  The most obvious ones include AAA of Arizona, AARP and airline mileage plans.  Always be on the look-out for special promotional offers for groups.  For example, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass offers a special rate of $89 per night for teachers who book with a discount code (TEACH12) and show an official ID.

5) Last minute isn't always the best deal:  It used to be you could wait until the very last minute to find a great deal on a great resort, but that's not always the case.  Resorts like to plan ahead with their staffing, and are beginning to offer great summer rates as early as March or April.  If you see a great price don't wait for it to drop, because it may not be available later.

6) Don't forget about resort fees:  Be sure to read the fine print.  It may seem like a great deal, but ask about resort fees.  If not, be prepared for some sticker-shock when the final bill comes. 

For more information on booking at Arizona hotels and resorts, visit
Some information in this report was provided by the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association:
3TV Summer Staycation Guide:
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Thursday: Best out-of-town getaways, best in-town experience that feels out-of-town