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

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    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.

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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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