You can get travel deals through the usual routes - waiting for your favourite resort to offer discounts, or trying through special travel agencies. Or you could take matters into your own hands, and negotiate yourself.
How? For some of the best deals in your spring or summer travel destination, contact the PR representative listed on the location's tourism website a week to 10 days before your trip. This person is usually listed under the About Us or Media tab.
You're probably saying to yourself, well, I'm not part of the media. Think again. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, or even a blog, then you're part of the social media. If you have an influential job or belong to a large network of moms, entrepreneurs or travellers, you're connected to powerful groups. The chance you'll post a positive review to your network is incentive for the PR people to try to make you happy on your vacation.
On a recent trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., my honeymooning friends took advantage of this strategy. They had a reply the next day with pages of discounted VIP experiences: a moonlit picnic on a golf course at a five-star resort, deals at local outlets, and free passes to local events.
Send an e-mail explaining when and why you're coming to the city and if it's a personal trip, such as a honeymoon or a child's birthday. The more detail the better. Mention that you'd love to experience their great city fully and are looking for ideas. Then ask if there are any special promotions you could take advantage of and spread the word about.
For additional savings, consider ordering an Entertainment Book for the city you'll be visiting from entertainment.com. The books are currently listed at $15 (U.S. and Canadian). Shipping is free so you can have it sent to your hotel ready for your arrival. You can download a companion app to your phone right away, so you can start planning your trip.
Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group.