The recession can work in your favor when it comes to travel. Heres how to get a real bargain, from Peter Greenberg, author of Tough Times, Great Travels.
Research online first, then go human. Call the hotel directly and ask to speak to a manager or director of sales to negotiate the lowest rate. “Do not ask for reservations—they will route you back to the call center,” Greenberg says.
Pick “dead week.” Hardly anyone is traveling the seven days following Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Also, specific destinations have a magic-rate month: ski resorts in April and September, Las Vegas in summer, Orlando whenever school is in session.
Ask outright for discounts. Seniors, AARP members, and AAA can get 10%; military and union members are often eligible for deals, too. “Even Sams Club members have their own discounted travel portal,” Greenberg says. Call the hotel, ask for the lowest rate, and then tell them to apply your discount to that rate.
Remember: everything is negotiable. Ask for freebies and perks: breakfast, ski lift tickets, room upgrades, resort credits, free parking, and more.