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As travel becomes the new cool, 74% of Americans now spend money on holidays that they can’t afford but the Business Insider notes that you can avoid this debt trap just by negotiating all travel costs. While frequent travelers know that there is a way to bargain with the travel industry, most just accept the prices that they have to pay. With Americans now accruing an average debt of $1,100 for their getaways, bargaining with hotels, airlines, and tour operators has never been so important. According to Stuart Diamond, a former adviser to the United Nations, people in general instinctively want to get more and they can have more if they learn how to negotiate. For frequent travelers who have never tried to haggle for better deals before, it is important to remember that negotiations are the lifeblood of the industry. Flights today can’t be resold the next day and one empty room at a hotel for one night is already considered a loss which means that there is room for price changes if you play your cards right.

Negotiating hotel prices

Knowing the baseline price by taking a look at hotel search aggregators gives you an insight as to how much you can slash off the current price. Calling the hotel and asking for the walk-away price is also a good idea because this can lead to affordable rates. While you are negotiating with a reservation agent, make sure that you get your travel rewards card ready because using it pretty much multiplies your savings at this point especially if you are calling one of your card’s partner hotels. Rewards cards have perks that can be used for future trips, too. An article on CNN that focuses on better spending notes that your credit card can give you added value to travel expenses such as free food and beverages. If you do not have a rewards card just yet, you can call an independent hotel and ask for their walkout price. Independent hotels are more likely to give you discounts as compared to major chains.

How to haggle for airline tickets

If you are a frequent traveler and usually fly on the same airline, you have the leverage to negotiate. However, flight aggregator Fare Compare notes that you can have travel agents do the haggling for you especially if you do not have the time for over-the-phone negotiations. To do this, you would need to bundle your hotel, flight, and car rental with a travel agency. If you plan on doing the haggling yourself, allot one whole day for it because you will be spending a lot of time on the phone. Fare Compare says that you need to be polite when asking for a lower fare but if the agent you are talking is not keen on giving you a discount, you can always say that you are hanging up. Walking away usually results in a price drop, according to the flight comparison site. If that doesn’t work, you can call again and negotiate with another agent.

Learning how to negotiate your travel expenses will not only save you a lot of money but will teach you a thing or two about the travel industry. In fact, you may even pick up a few tips on how to save more for your next trip.

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