Sometimes, paying more in the short term can save money in the long run. I lost sight of my big-picture travel plans when comparing hotel rates.
While covering the E3 tradeshow, I saved about $40 a night by staying two miles away from the Los Angeles Convention Center. The closest hotels charged a premium on which I passed.
While most of my trips back and forth were on a free shuttle bus, I wasted time en route. Plus, the few times that I've had to take a taxi through traffic have cost about $10 each.
Worst of all, including rush-hour traffic, I spent about an hour on the bus each day; I could have used that time to offset the more expensive hotel. My lesson learned: take all of these costs into account when you pick a hotel.
Taxis versus mass transit
Also consider alternatives to taxis. New York might have ample taxis, but you could save by using the subway for routine travel to the Javits Convention Center, for example. If you're visiting a city without a train system, look into city bus routes. Just search for the city name and "bus route" to come up with transit details.
To see how much you could save, visit TaxiWiz for an estimate of taxi costs. And especially make comparisons from airports; those fares can add up.
Zack Stern is preparing to launch a new business from San Francisco, where he frequently contributes to PC World.