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Need a free place to stay? Try a luxury hotel.

Howard Lipin / AP / San Diego Union Tribune

(Read caption) This could be your digs in San Diego's Rancho Bernardo Inn if you don't want to pay its usual $200-plus rates.

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Stay-cation? Dull. Camping? Soooo 20th century. These days, savvy recessionistas are booking rooms in tip-top high-rises – for free, or a pittance.

Even as housing prices fall, no one wants to pay a penny too much for an apartment. That’s why you’ll have to hop on the waiting list to get a free year in the high-rise former Ramada Inn Plaza Hotel in Dallas, CBS 11 TV reports.

The catch? None, really, except for the heebie-jeebies that living in a hotel with no wait staff, no maids, and no vacationers may give you. The owner plans to renovate the inn late next year and would rather fill it with background-checked freeloaders than leave it vacant and risk vandalism.

Rooms are also up for grabs gratis every day this month at the Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles, courtesy of social media. You’ll only get one free night — which is about $120 off the listed price — but all you need is to be one of the first five fast-fingered tweeters at 10 a.m. PDT, or among the first 25 to sign up on its Web site after 9 a.m.

This next room deal comes with a handful of catches. San Diego's luxury Rancho Bernardo Inn, with a spa, golf course, and three pools, is lopping its usual $200-plus nightly rates. For $19 a night, you can get a room, but no air conditioning, pillows, sheets, or lights, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The spartan rooms – with headboards unscrewed – are being touted as a “survivor package” by the inn owners.

What does come compliments of the resort? A tent.

– Guest blogger Taylor Barnes is a Monitor contributor. Follow us on Twitter.


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