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BellaOnline's Budget Travel Editor


For Budget Travelers - Summer is not Over

Guest Author - Jim Fortune

Like lots of people in July, we are in the middle of fixing our yard and making it better. Part of our plan includes putting in a walkway from the front to the back with 12" x 12" paving stones, two across. We need about 150 stones and have been buying ten or twelve a week from the local store. Last week, stopping by the garden section, we did not see any 12 x 12 pavers. I asked the gentleman in the yard, when they expected more. "The season is over and we will not have more until next year." Imagine my surprise with this pronouncement. The first day of summer was just three weeks ago and now summer was over.

Now that "the season is over", according to this guy, it got me to thinking about a Budget Travel idea. Lots of places are not doing well this year with the price of gas what it is and some are offering ways to entice the traveler to come to their business. I have seen ads from some inns and large chain hotels offering free gas cards for those customers who are going there by car. When you make your reservation for an out of town trip, ask if they are offering a gas card. If they are not, ask if they are offering a 10 or 20% room discount instead of the gas card.

Sometimes you can get a discount just by using this line, "I am thinking of coming to your town for vacation by car, is it possible I could get a discount on the room:

  1. if I reserve the room with a credit card to hold it but pay cash when I leave or
  2. if I stay more than one night or
  3. if I get more than one room

If you are checking around and calling several places, you could use the rate at one place as the starting point for negotiation at another place. Say you call one place and the rate is $89 a night but it does not have a pool. The next place you call charges $99 with a pool. So you mention that the last place you called sounded really nice and their rate was $89, could the second place match that price? You will be amazed at how some competition will get one business bidding for your business if you stay there. This is especially true if you are paying cash or staying more than one night etc.

All three of these options will give the innkeeper incentive to cut the rate by 5, 10 or even 20%. Besides gas, the cost of lodging takes the biggest bite out of the vacation budget.

If you are staying at a motel ask if the town where the motel is or the town nearby has a coupon book that is given to guests when they check in. Many of these books are given to residents and contain coupons that offer two-fers and other goodies to get people to come in. If the motel offers some sort of breakfast, ask if they are friendly with any people who own restaurants in town where they might be able to get you a discount by sending you over for dinner?

Let me know if you try some of these negotiating tips and they work for you.

Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?

Jim Fortune, the Bella Online Budget Travel Guy
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