One thing I’d like to add to the airline-saving tips. If I’m on a flight that’s looking crowded and have the time (I realize most don’t), I let the folks at the gate know I’m willing to give up my seat if the flight ends up being overbooked.
I do this first thing, long before they realize they need volunteers and make an announcement. I usually get the next flight and arrive not much later than originally scheduled. Plus I get a nice airline coupon for a couple hundred dollars that’s good for an entire year. Really came in handy during my round-the-world trip.
And it’s really true about hotel rates being negotiable. I never deal with central reservations for hotel chains. I always call or e-mail directly. When I’m dealing with sites like Expedia, I always ask for coupons, letting them know I’m a frequent customer, which I am.
But memo to William Shatner: I don’t get Priceline. Finally tried it out recently for a rental car. The acceptable amount I could bid was much higher than what I ended up paying with Budget. How can that be? Simple. I called the guy at the Budget desk in L.A., in this case, and negotiated with him directly.
Not saying this works every time; but, as always, doesn’t hurt to ask.