Picking up a hotel phone can be an expensive proposition. Hampton Inn Hotels has several suggestions for keeping the cost down.

Although many travelers use calling cards, some hotels even charge for a toll-free call to a long-distance carrier.To minimize those charges, try to group your calls. Many long-distance carriers will let you make a series of calls without having to disconnect. You usually can do this by pressing the pound key after your first call ends. allowing you to place another call.

Other tips include going to a pay phone to use a long-distance calling card or a prepaid calling car, or using a cellular phone. Although cellular-phone rates can be high, they're cometimes cheaper than a hotel's usrcharge.

Finally, Hampton Inn Hotels suggest checking into one of its 700 properties, where local call are free and there's no surcharge for using a calling car.