Thrifty Tuesday: Savings without Sacrifice

For a girl who never experienced flying or stepped foot into an airport before she was 17 I've been lucky enough to do my fair share of traveling in the last 10 years. A dozen countries and countless flights and states later- I wouldn't say I'm a "seasoned traveler" but because much of my traveling was done while still in college I learned how to get around- cheaply. The Priceline Advantage...

Just days before our wedding my husband booked our hotel for the wedding night- we'd only be spending a couple of hours there before we took the first flight out to Jamaica (I actually didn't know where we were going until we got to the gate!) He'd called the hotel and made a reservation. I asked if I could try to get a room that would be of equal quality (since we had paid for the wedding ourselves). I found no reason in paying full price for the hotel room when I knew I could get the same or equal room for much less.

How you ask!?

Priceline- name your price. Let's face it- I'm a last minute type of girl so this suits me perfectly well and I always seem to get great deals at some pretty rockin' hotels. Sure- they aren't the Ritz or Four Seasons but when you're traveling and just need a place to sleep but Double Tree and Hilton fit the bill very well.

The secret? Booking late- you always get a better deal if you book just a day or two (maybe 3) in advance. If you're a planner try and wait till at least a week before- the hotels are more desperate to sell the room and are willing to let you sleep there for a lower price.

I'm going to share some top secret information.. you ready?

If you start a week before you have time to play the numbers- if you don't get it in the first try you can always come back tomorrow with a slightly higher bid.

95% of the time I'll request a 4 star hotel (or whatever the highest number of stars are available for that city) and set my bid at $55. Sure- the suggested price is much higher but if you're doing things last minute chances are you'll get a hotel to take your bid.

For example- we stayed in the same hotel my husband had made a reservation for- he was going to have to pay $150+ for the night and the day after he made his reservation I hit priceline and we paid less than $55+tax/fees for the room. It was a very nice room- King bed, non smoking big tv… and we saved over $100!

If my $55 bid isn't accepted I'll go to $65 but rarely if ever do I have to bid higher than this and I've never had to stay in a sub-rate hotel when using this system.

In fact when I landed in Denver while on my way to see my family I booked my hotel from the Denver Airport. Forgive the quality of these pics as they were taken with my iPhone- but you'll see Maggie and I had a nice hotel room all to ourselves!

So the next time you're planning a trip out of town try it! Better yet- you can book just hours before you need the room… so for those of you that are super spontaneous you're bound to get the best deals by booking at the absolute last hour!

I'd love to hear your success stories. Have you ever tried Priceline? Do you have other websites you use to save money while you travel? If so- I'd love to hear them!