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.
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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.
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