4 Insider Travel Booking Tips

Don't let the economic downturn take a toll on your travel plans. These simple globetrotter tips will save you some serious overseas money.

3-Flight-md.jpg1. Although everyone knows about discount search engines like Kayak, Cheapoair, and Hotels.com, few contact the airline or hotel for a competitive quote. Try calling them, announcing the Web-provider rate, and challenging them to match it. You could not only end up with a better bargain, but you'll cut out those pesky middleman charges.

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2. When searching for flights check all area airports. Smaller airports often have discounted fares — an easy trade for a cab ride or asking a friend for a ride across town. Also research shuttle-bus services and free parking to save money on your trip to the airport.

3. Look in the last-minute-package section of travel search engines, whether you need a package or not, as they could cost less than the original airfare alone. These bargain trips could end up being the most cost-effective even if you don't plan on using the hotel.

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4. Flexibility can be your greatest asset when booking your trip. Save money on airfares by booking trips just before or just after your destination's high season. Even just a day or two can make a huge difference in the price. If traveling for a holiday, fly out on the actual holiday instead of battling the crowds and high prices; for peak-period flights, right before.

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