5 ways to save on last-minute holiday travel

By Amanda WalkerLifestyle and BudgetConsumer Reports

Find the best choices in holiday travel credit cards, and check our Ratings of airlines. Also see our tips on landing a seat using your frequent flyer miles.

The winter months are also the off-season in European travel hot spots such as London, Paris, Berlin, Venice and Rome. It may be tough to find cheap flights, but deeply discounted hotel rooms may make paying a bit more for flights worthwhile.

Continue Reading Below

Expedia recently offered a rate of $98 a night for a Dec. 22 through 26 stay at the Tune Hotel in London. Travelzoo featured a 4-star hotel in Rome for $123.

Only 28 percent of respondents to one of our surveys tried bargaining for better hotel room rates, yet 78 percent of those who did won an upgrade or a lower rate. (Success rates were higher for people who haggled over the phone than for those who did in person.)

Ask about nonadvertised specials, and use free parking, a different bed size, or room location (for example, if it's next to the laundry station) as bargaining chips.

Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.