Saturday, August 15, 2009

Affordable Travel

A friend of mine was asking if I had any tips for cheaper hotel stays. I knew of a few things but have learned a bit more since then. Here are some tips!
  1. If you just call the hotel, get a price quote then ask, "Is that your best rate or are there other discounts?" Often, hotel staff quotes the basic room rate first even if there are cheaper rates available.
  2. Call more than one hotel and use the quotes to negotiate a better price.
  3. Use online resources such as Expedia, Orbitz, Hotwire, Sidestep, Hotels, Travelocity, and Priceline (they have a bidding option and a flat rate option). Use them to gather information before calling or use them to simply book your hotel. Check more than one site as the rates for the same hotel can vary significantly from site to site.
  4. If you want an even better deal, try bidding for your hotel rate. With Priceline, the cheapest rate comes when you don't know the hotel name until after you accept your rate and room. To learn what price range would be in a certain star rating (to increase the likelihood of your bid being accepted), check out the message boards at
  5. Other sites are available to get information on using these travel search engines. Try: and
What have my experiences been? We don't travel too terribly much, but have used many of these sites. Sidestep will compare various search engines (expedia, orbitz, etc) and save you a little work. We used Priceline for our last vacation and plan to use it again in the future. Next time we will use the mesasge boards to try to get an even better deal.

Happy bargain hunting!


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