Negotiate the rates at a hotel
Find out what prices are at the hotel. Look up the current prices on Expedia.com. If the prices are cheaper on Expedia (almost always are), then call the hotel and tell them that you want the rate offered on Expedia. Why do this? Well, if you purchase using Expedia, it is a no-cash-back-if-you-cancel deal. If you set up the deal with the hotel, you can usually cancel up to 4PM on the day of expected arrival and be out zero cash. You get the cheaper rate PLUS the option to cancel if necessary.
Pay cash at a hotel
Tell them that you are paying cash and want a better deal. Don't give in. You MUST have walk-away power. If all of the hotels are full, this won't work. However, if hotels are not full, they are willing to give GREAT deals for cash. I have went into a hotel and gotten 33% off the initial asking rate because I was paying in cash.
Rent cars from Dollar, Budget, Thrifty, Alamo, etc.
Now, I know that Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis are very customer-friendly, but their rates are WAY higher than those of the discount car rental joints. Besides, Hertz and Avis don't accept debit-cards. I don't have a credit card, so I use my debit card. I rented a mini-van (with less than 1,000 miles on it) for $120 INCLUDING TAXES for a WEEK in SAN DIEGO. Plan on standing around for an hour at the airport, but it is worth standing around for an extra half-hour to save $150 – $200.
Stay at clean, nice hotels that are not ritzy.
I am not sure of the exact definition of "ritzy", but I am pretty sure it means you have to pay to breathe air more than twice during your stay. How come is it that when I stay at a "ritzy" hotel, I have to pay for internet, only get 7 TV channels, have to pay for local calls and give up my firstborn to make a long distance call, and have to pay for breakfast AND pay an enormous cost per night? I can stay at Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, or Hampton Inn and get FREE wireless internet, 77 TV channels, free local calls, and a free breakfast AND a much cheaper rate!!!
Buy your airline tickets on-line and fly on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.
Southwest Airlines rules! If they fly to your city, you are a lucky person!!! If you don't have that luxury, use Expedia or Orbitz to get a decent fare. Purchase tickets early. See if one of your family members has a free ticket that is getting ready to expire.
Surf the internet for discount coupons to the local attractions
Sea World, Disney, Theme Parks in general – all have discount coupons. NEVER pay full-price for one of these places. NEVER EVER! Look in the local newspapers, newstands, or ask around. You will find discounts! If you can't find a discount, ask for one!