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Achieving the best travel deal


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Travelers are more likely to be upgraded if they are well dressed.
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Full Transcript:  Getting real deals for travel
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(CNN) -- With a bit of inside knowledge and a sharpened set of negotiating skills, you can get more out of your time and money when traveling.

Experts say it is worth dismissing the idea that cheaper is better. By spending a little more, travelers can gain extras like breakfast or a flight that leaves from a convenient airport.

"One should aim for state of the art travel, which is about getting the best value for travel, not the best price," Roger Collis, author of "The survivor's guide to business travel" told CNN.

Paying a little more may also allow you to purchase a ticket with greater flexibility, just in case meetings get shifted and travel plans change.

"Do not assume that a no-frills carrier is going to be the cheapest, particularly for late booking. One thing to look at is the airline alliance Web sites," says Collis.

"In Europe you have Opodo, which is a good site for airline and hotel bookings, in the U.S. you have Orbitz, and in Asia now you have a Web site called Zuji."

According to Collis, focusing your spending is essential. By regularly using a handful of hotels and airlines you become a loyal and prized client. This gives you greater bargaining power.

"At some hotels, the general manager or the front-of-house manager would have the autonomy to negotiate with you," says Richard Eades of corporate travel firm, Booking Services International.

"See what added value you can bring into it. (Find out whether they) are going to give you a discount off food and beverage if you are a frequent user of their hotel."

Joining a frequent flyer program can also give you a better chance of upgrades. You could also try taking advantage of what is called "cabin roll."

"Target a flight that is likely to be full or overbooked. Airlines overbook because people do not turn up. Sometimes their projections are wrong and they will upgrade one or two people, (this is called cabin roll)," explains Collis.

Travelers are more likely to be upgraded if they are well dressed, well spoken and approach the check-in desk with the right manner, believes Collis.

The right sort of credit cards, a frequent flyer card and a reasonably priced economy ticket can also work in your favor.

Most gains are also made through adding value, where extra services or meals are thrown into the deal. If you have demanded a rate that is too low you could find yourself excluded from any other services. Timing is also important.

"The airline model -- where seats get more expensive closer to the departure date -- is in reverse for hotels, because they do not want to be left with empty rooms," says Eades.

"Hotels tend to look for lengthier stays as well. So it is cheaper to book and negotiate against a four-night stay than it is for a one-night stay."

-- CNN's Rosalind Chin contributed to this report.


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