Some vacation-planning strategies, from websites to haggling

Some vacation-planning strategies, from websites to haggling
This undated courtesy photo shows Natasha Rachel Smith. Smith was good at math as a teen and was intrigued by personal finance. As an adult, she was determined to turn "marketing techniques on their head." Today, she works for TopCashback.com, which offers rebates to consumers who make purchases through the website _ including for travel. She also researches hotels vs. Airbnb when deciding on lodging, and compares car rentals to Uber, Lyft and taxi prices. And she's also game to haggle for bargains from vendors in a market. (Natasha Rachel Smith via AP)

Natasha Rachel Smith was good at math as a teen and was intrigued by personal finance.

As an adult, she was determined to turn “marketing techniques on their head.”

Today, she works for TopCashback.com, which offers rebates to consumers who make purchases through the website — including for travel.

She also researches hotels vs. Airbnb when deciding on lodging to be sure she’s getting the best price for accommodations, and she compares car rentals to Uber, Lyft and taxi prices when deciding how to get around locally.

Smith is also game to haggle for bargains from vendors in a market. She says Americans sometimes feel intimidated about negotiating for deals when they travel, but they shouldn’t be. In many cultures, bargaining is an acceptable way to do business.