"I've always heard good things about Chicago and Orlando. I'd like to see New York, though, and Broadway."
But, like many people today, he's counting every penny.
"The world is wide open when it comes to values right now. when you're quoted a price, that price may not be what you have to pay," says Nina Willdorf, editor at Budget Travel magazine.
Budget Travel magazine recently investigated ways to save when you hit the road, especially on hotels. There are several cost-cutting strategies, like negotiating.
"Find two hotels that are in the same neighborhood that are about the same price and what you do is you sort of get them to play with each other."
Budget Travel did well bargaining with several hotels in Vegas, and found, on average, 15-20 percent discounts. Willdorf says, if you can't get a cheaper rate, ask for free perks.
"Free parking is one thing, free breakfast, use of the facilities like spa, gym, etc. Places that really add on all those extra fees will be willing to knock them off and those discounts can really add up."
Another tip: call a hotel's local number. experts say you'll have better luck lowering your rate.
Sam Fisher tried some of these techniques; he called two hotels in each of the cities he's interested in.
"I have talked to a few of the hotels in the area and they've been able to lower those prices to about 20 dollars less than you guys are offering right now. Is there any way we can get to those, those rates?"
He had some success-getting one hotel to offer a steep discount if he booked immediately.
And he scored some perks, too.
Joe McInerney at the American Hotel and Lodging Association says he's not sure how much hotels are bargaining down their rates, but insists there are great deals to be had.
"They're providing all kinds of incentives for people, whether it's you stay two nights and you get a third night free. or even golf in some areas. We're in a buyer's market."
What about at smaller places... like at an inn or bed and breakfast? Wildorff says bartering is in.
"We found an accountant who did an innkeeper's taxes for the season and got a week's stay at a hotel on Cape Cod."
Willdorf's advice: get creative and don't be afraid to ask for things. Sam says he's not afraid.
"I will definitely start bargaining more for my next vacation."
Willdorf says some destinations are better than others for offering hotel discounts.
They're typically cities that went through a building boom recently and now have lots of hotel rooms, like New York City, Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami.
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