If you're looking for one of the best ways to book a hotel room dirt cheap, use a tool such as Priceline.com or call the hotel in the evening to get a room that would otherwise be empty. The Priceline.com app for the iPhone and iPad (which covers cars and hotels) makes this even easier, since you can name your own price in a few taps. But do note that it doesn't always offer the best deal.
While traveling across the country on what we're calling the Great American Road Trip 2.0, we made a hotel reservation for our first night using the Priceline iPhone app and landed a 3-star hotel for just $45. This was great news as it meant our travel budget would gain a bit more flexibility, but we didn't know how much it would help until we tried to get a hotel room at our final destination near Mount Rushmore.
Planning to play the Priceline game and save big again we waited until the evening and tried to book. but no Priceline hotels turned up at any price. Next I tried the other travel websites but came up empty again. Determined not to sleep in the car I began calling hotels along the next 60 miles of Interstate 90 until I found the last room in Rapid City -- a king size Jacuzzi room for $250!
While a king-size Jacuzzi room may be worth the extra cost under certain circumstances, it's not the best way to spend money when all you want is a bed and a shower. We were lucky, though; it cost $150 less than a room a few miles back I-90. Additionally, a family rolled in right after we arrived and had to drive another 20 miles to find a room. Another gentleman ended up in Wyoming.
I'll still use Priceline.com and other last minute hotel methods to save in the future, but not for the first night we spend in a popular tourist location; especially one that has seen an up-tick in visitors as vacationers take to the road instead of the sky, according to local news reports.
If you do use the Priceline.com app for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, you will get a $25 bonus bucks voucher that will add $5 to the bid price of your next bid for up to five nights for the next time you book from the website.
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