Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Travel? Book Hotels with Priceline

In the last year we have done some major traveling. Our family stayed in Florida for 6 years going no more than 50 miles away at a time, except twice to visit relatives in Virginia. Then last October we moved from Florida to Virginia. A week later, flew to California then drove cross-country from there to Virginia in the dead of winter.
First time seeing snow was in Arizona of all places.
We've had our fair share of hotel stays in just a short time period. What helped our long cross-country trip with children in tow was only driving during the day. Then staying at a nice hotel for a good night's rest. It took us 6 days to go coast-to-coast, including a visit with friends in Oklahoma.

The thing with Priceline is once the hotel is booked, it can't be cancelled. Instead of booking in advance, we booked a hotel at whatever city we decided to stop for the night. We would look for a Mc Donald's to use their free Wi-Fi and book a hotel on the spot. Most hotels with ratings 3 stars and above offer rooms that look like the room pictured and cost us only $50-$65 a night. So I always start the bid at $45 and often don't have to go much higher to win a bid. These are $150 a night or more regularly.

What a lovely room waited for us in Phoenix!
The hotel gets the information instantly and we can check in without having to show a printout of the Priceline transaction. The hotels were very clean and modern. Some even had heated indoor swimming pools. What a treat for winter!
Our first night in VA at 4 diamond hotel for $70/night 

It was well worth the extra $50 a night for us to stop and rest. Hotel stay was part of the vacation. We went swimming, watched cable and took long baths. For food, we packed fruits and snacks. Subway was our go-to cheap fast food. Sometimes we also used certificates to eat at the hotel bistro. I used the business center computer to buy and print the gift certificate. 
Almost there! On I-95 heading for Virginia.

Wherever the road leads you this holiday season, if stopping for the night is a must, I hope you can rest easy and find great accommodations.

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