Friday, August 28, 2009

A Tip For All You Travelers!!

At the beginning of August my husband, Dalen and I went on our first family vacation to San Antonio, Texas. We had so much fun, but I have to tell you that the best part of the vacation actually happened BEFORE we left! My husband and I love to travel, but as many of you know, traveling is not cheap - especially with the price of hotel rooms nowadays.

After deciding that we wanted to go to San Antonio, Texas, we had to decide on where to book our rooms...which leads to the dreaded task of figuring out how much we need to budget just for our lodging. I absolutely HATE that part of traveling. It is so depressing to see how much we have to spend just for a room. Well, I decided this year to check into trying something different. So, just for fun I went to - I'm not sure about you guys, but that little annoying song "PRICELINE NEGOTIATER!!" gets stuck in my head after watching one of their commercials. There is a reason they have these catchy little tunes...and it's for people like me.

Well, we decided to try our luck with priceline. After submitting the usual information such as where we were going, how many nights we were staying, how many rooms and people, etc., it then asked us what area of San Antonio we wanted to stay in. We were going to see the Alamo and visit the riverwalk so we selected the downtown/market square area. Then we were able to select the star rating of the hotel we wanted to negotiate for. We decided to go for the 3-star "upscale" rating.

After that came the exciting part. Laugh if you will, but I actually got a little thrill when I got to name my own price! We decided to aim high and try to get our room for $50 a night - it showed us that the average room in that area went for $130 a night - and would you believe that our offer was accepted? That's right, we got our $130 a night room for $50!! We stayed there for 4 nights - so we spent $200 and if we would have booked through the hotel's website it would have cost us $520! That's right, we saved $320!

Our story doesn't end there. The catch to is that when you enter the price you're willing to pay, you then have to enter your credit card information and if they find a hotel that accepts your offer then they book it for you. You are not able to change your reservation in any way after this point and that includes getting a refund if something happens and you can't go. So, make sure that there will not be any change in your plans before deciding to use priceline. Also, you do not see the hotel that is selected until after your offer has been accepted.

Our 3-star hotel was a Holiday Inn and it did not disappoint us at all. It was VERY nice - we had two beds, a bigger-than-average bathroom and free internet. The fact that we saved $320 on our room made us enjoy it even more - even the desk clerk told us when we checked in that we got a really good deal.

Well, on the last night of our stay before heading back to Oklahoma, we decided that we wanted to go to Arlington and tour the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium - which is nothing short of amazing! So, being the new priceline fans that we were - we went back to priceline. This time we decided to go for the highest star rated hotel in the Arlington area - which was 3.5-star. Well, we were getting a little bold so we decided to see if we could get it for $40 a night (the normal rate is $150 a night). And would you believe that our offer was accepted again?! So we saved $110 on that room right there!

When we got to our hotel we discovered that it was located right in the middle of the sports-plex area. The Texas Rangers' stadium was right there along with Six Flags, and yep - the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium! The total amount of money we spent on lodging for our vacation was $240 and if we would not have used we would have spent $670! We saved $430 on our lodging for this vacation! Because of priceline we were able to do a lot more on our vacation then we would have otherwise.

And the rooms exceeded our expectations! If you are going to be traveling soon and are interested in saving a lot of money, but don't want to give up the quality of room, then give and try. I have a feeling you will not be disappointed!

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