Trips Ahoy!

It's a Deal!

Road warriors are more cost-conscious than they've been in years. Here are a few tips for tightening your belt:

1. Play your cards right. Remember, not all discount cards are created equal. For example, government subcontractors are often entitled to negotiated rates at hotels. But look closely: Sometimes you can find even better deals through a Web site or travel agent.

2. Learn to negotiate. Haggling used to be an activity confined to leisure travelers. However, small-business owners are now getting into the act, too. "Ask if the price they're giving you is the best they can do," advises Mary Hunt, who publishes Cheapskate Monthly, a newsletter dedicated to helping people save money. Hunt has slashed hotel bills by as much as half--just by asking.

3. Click online-check offline. Airlines, once reluctant to cut fares for business travel, are now slashing prices and lifting restrictions on Saturday-night stayovers. The best strategy is to check online with a carrier's Web site and then go offline to a travel agent you trust to make sure you've got the best deal.

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This article was originally published in the April 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Trips Ahoy!.

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