You may be a whiz at comparing travel rates online, but it turns out that good old conversation could save you a lot more. In a Consumer Reports poll of 1,000 people, 83 percent said they'd nabbed a better hotel rate simply by-shocker-asking. It's even more of a possibility now, given lower occupancy rates in hotels, reduced demand for rental cars, and the scramble to fill every last room for the holidays. So start talking and get what you want for less.
Related: 30 Days to a Better Husband
1. Keep Asking for Breaks: Before you leave for your trip, search online for current hotel and car rates. If they're lower than what you got, says Peter Frank, creator of the travel blog Let's Be Frank, "call and ask for that rate." At the hotel or car place, tell the clerk if you're on a trip for a special occasion, like a birthday or anniversary. Then ask, "Any chance of an upgrade?" For hotels, it helps to arrive later in the day. "Last year, our family got to a Vermont ski resort
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By REDBOOKRead More »from 4 Easy Ways to Snag Great Travel Upgrades
- Redbook | Working It – Wed, Jun 22, 2011 4:02 PM EDT
By Lindsey Palmer and Nicole Yorio, REDBOOKRead More »from 4 Steps to Convincing Your Boss to Let You Work from Home
Twenty percent of Americans say they'd take a 5-percent pay cut if they could work a few days at home. But you may not have to sacrifice a penny. Follow these tips from Leslie Truex, author of The Work-at-Home Success Bible, on how to ask your boss for this prized perk.
1. Prepare your case: Make a list of tasks you can do at home and another of those that require in-office time, plus an outline of how you'll stay connected.
Related: Money-Saving Tips That Will Change Your Life
2. Broadcast the benefits: Set a meeting with your boss, and point out how working at home could benefit the company-perhaps you'll save resources or free up space. Note that studies show at-home workers are happier in their jobs, take fewer sick days, and are more productive.
Related: 5 Tricks for All-Day Energy
3. Focus on your job, not your life: Your commute and child-care dilemmas are not your company's concern. Ditch the complaints and focus on how much you
By REDBOOKRead More »from Our 11 Favorite On-Screen Friendships
These ladies may be fictional, but their on-screen friendships form the most iconic female bonds of all time.
1. Sex and the City: They single-handedly doubled sales of Manolos, cosmos, and dildos!
2. Thelma and Louise: Not even a young, naked Brad Pitt could come between these two-who kept their vow to stay friends till the very, very end.
Related: 100+ Easy Celebrity Hairstyles
3. Waiting to Exhale: "You set his what on fire?" The ladies of Waiting to Exhale took each other's drama in stride.
4. Beaches: They love each other, they hate each other-the first half is melodramatic gold. But the real jackpot? The cathartic weep-till-you're-tired finish.
Related: Your Guy's Friendships Explained (Even the Weird Ones)
5. Friends: Most women would go Bridezilla if their maid of honor revealed a surprise pregnancy on their big day, but let's face it: These were the ultimate Friends.
6. The Women: Who needs men? Not one appeared in this film classic-and the ladies were better off
- Redbook | Parenting – Wed, Jun 22, 2011 3:58 PM EDT
By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Think peer pressure is just something teenagers at parties have to worry about? Then you haven't been to preschool lately. And I'm not talking about little Johnny pressuring my kid into wearing his shirt backwards every day (although that happened too)-I'm talking about the parents. As adults we're supposed to be above all that caring-what-other-people-think crap and yet as anyone who's ended up with the snack bucket knows, we parents can be just as pushy as any horny teenager at prom. To be perfectly clear: I am not saying any of these things are bad, and if you enjoy doing them, then I'm happy that you're happy-just don't try to make me feel bad about not doing them too.
Related: 43 Sneaky Tricks to Look Younger1. The snack bucket: Yesterday Xavien's mom filled it with mock sushi rolls hand-crafted out of fruit and nestled in origami paper cups (true story), and today I'm doing the the walk of shame past the entire line of parents Read More »from Top 10 Things I've Been Peer-Pressured Into Doing...By Other Parents
By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
What do you get when a Mormon, a Lutheran, a Catholic and a Muslim walk into a gym? As incongruous as it sounds, best friends! (And here you thought you were going to get the punchline to a wildly insensitive joke!) My three best girlfriends and I all met at our local YMCA. Ostensibly we were there to workout-all of us having new babies, had to drop the baby weight, right?-but in reality we were just there to escape our other kids for an hour thanks to the free childcare. Despite our obvious differences, we have discovered we are far more alike than we are similar. From diaper explosions to arguments with our husbands, this familiarity has lead to some serious hilarity. And because of this, as any woman knows, there are some things that only your best girlfriend can tell you:
1. You look fat in those pants. Your husband wouldn't dare say it and even if heRead More »from 6 Things Only Your Girlfriends Can Tell You
By Barbara Corcoran, REDBOOKRead More »from How to Ask for a Raise
Q: Our company recently downsized, and now I'm doing twice the work-for the same salary. I'm not being additionally compensated. Is there a way to address this with my manager?
Related: 5 Ways to Find Your Power at Work
A: Times are tough-layoffs and salary freezes are more common than ever. Nevertheless, your job responsibilities have changed and grown, so you should address this situation with your manager as soon as you can. If you don't, you'll only build resentment and also miss a valuable opportunity for professional growth.
Related: 26 Organizing Tips That Actually Work
First, find your original job description. If you don't have one, write one yourself, outlining as clearly as you can the job you were hired to do. Then on a second page, write a detailed outline of what you're actually doing. Now you're ready to ask for a five-minute meeting with your boss. Ask either in person or, even better, by e-mail-which keeps your boss from feeling ambushed
By Nicole Yorio, REDBOOKRead More »from 5 Fun Day Trips to Take With Your Girls
Get some major girlfriend bonding time with one of these creative day trip ideas.
1. Swirl, smell, sip, repeat: The combination of your friends and a few bottles of wine guarantees your day will be filled with giggles. There are wineries in every state; go to allamericanwineries.com to find one in your area, and then tour, taste, and explore. Just be sure to designate a driver or hire a car-a few sips can go to your head fast!
Related: 5 Tiny Travel Beauty Tools
2. Go on a nature adventure: If your gal pals are an adventurous crew, plan a day full of activities to get your adrenaline rushing. At whitewater.com you can search for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing day trips in your state, or go to trails.com (you'll have to create a free registration) to search for local hiking trails for every fitness level.
Related: How to Throw Your Own Happy Hour Party
3. Say "spaaaah": A trip to the spa is the ultimate way to indulge. Meet up in the relaxation room between
Dear Whys Guy: "Why Does My Expect Me To Hang Out With His Friends When He Won't Hang Out with Mine?"By Redbook | Work + Money – Tue, Jun 21, 2011 4:24 PM EDT
By Aaron Traister, REDBOOKRead More »from Dear Whys Guy: "Why Does My Expect Me To Hang Out With His Friends When He Won't Hang Out with Mine?"
DEAR WHYS GUY:
Why does my husband expect me to hang out with his friends, but when I ask him to hang out with mine, he makes an excuse to get out of it?
Related: The Best Marriage Tricks from Couples Who Have Been Together Forever
DEAR REDBOOK READER:
I get variations on this question all the time, and I never know how to give one single answer. Maybe he doesn't like your friends. Maybe he feels awkward and insecure in large groups of women. Maybe he really wants to, but his excuses are real and he just can't get his schedule to work. Maybe he doesn't even expect you to hang out with his friends and would be cool with you bailing to go do your own thing.
Related: 25 Sexy Warm-Weather Date Ideas
This is one of those questions you have to go straight to the source with: Ask your husband.
There is one other thing I would add. Why do we feel it's important to be friends with our significant others' friends? I married Karel, not her friends. I kind of like
By Jessica DeCostole, REDBOOKRead More »from 4 Breakfasts That Fill You Up
A healthy breakfast should contain at least 5 grams of fiber, one serving of calcium (equal to a cup of milk or yogurt), and some protein and fat. Also, limit added sugars to about 6 grams (1 teaspoon equals 4 grams). The following meal suggestions fit the bill.
1. If you're on the run: Order a latte with skim milk and grab a Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Bar (available at gnufoods.com).
Related: Jeans That Slim You Instantly
2. If you have a few minutes: Pour a bowl of cereal such as Kashi GoLean, Post Original Shredded Wheat 'n Bran, or Barbara's Bakery Original Puffins with skim milk. Toss in some thawed frozen berries.
3. If you're at your desk: Bring a Polly-O cheese stick and eat with a serving of whole-grain crackers and a glass of tomato juice.
Related: Fast Five-Ingredient Meals Your Family Will Love
4. If you like to prepare the night before: Put your favorite fruits and low-fat yogurt in a blender and stash in the fridge. In the morning, simply
- Redbook | Parenting – Mon, Jun 20, 2011 7:51 PM EDT
By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
For the record, I voted for year-round school. I was a teacher for seven years, and it is my firm opinion that because the only farming kids do these days is on Farmville, there is no need for a three-month break in the middle of summer. (While I'm making myself unpopular, I'm also pro-uniforms and gender-segregated math and science classes.) But because I didn't get my wish, my kids are now home with me 24/7. I'll admit that my first reaction was to (dearly) miss the precious two hours of peace I had when all the kidlets were at school or napping, but now that the first week is almost finished I've begun to see the bright side!
This Mom's Favorite Things About Summer Vacation:
1. No socks! Socks are a pain to wash, match, and retrieve from all the cracks in the couch, but since socks and shoes are required for gym class we roll with it. But theseRead More »from Top 10 Hidden Benefits of Summer Vacation for Moms