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Three Secrets to Travel Savings

Air travel is neither enjoyable nor cheap. And with the holidays coming up, a family trip has to fit the schedule as well as the budget. So why not pay as little as possible? One bright side about the faltering economy is that it makes traveling a buyer’s market as the industry is one of the first to bear the brunt of the pain. Michelle Higgins, travel columnist for the New York Times, has three ways to save on your next trip.

1. Procrastination pays. Before the economy tanked, the consensus on flying was to book early, book ahead. But now prices are dropping fast and the procrastinators are benefiting from a flurry of hotel and flight deals. Farecompare.comjust spotted a roundtrip flight from Chicago to Orlando for $157. That same flight was over $200 higher a month ago, Higgins said.

2. Don’t prepay for a packaged trip. Try to avoid locking in rates now by looking for places where you can book that won’t penalize you if you must cancel. Quickbook.comallows you to search for bargains, book now and pay later.

3. Look for flexibility. Hotels in particular are slashing deposits and rolling back their cancellation policies as they struggle to attract tourists in a tightening economy. Now is a better time than ever to be willing to negotiate fees, Higgins said. Hotels.com does not charge you a cancellation policy when you book using its site.